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METAL MANIA - Foil Sculptures

MODULE:  Sculpture  |  GRADE LEVELS:  1 - 6  |  DURATION:  1 Hour

SEASON 3  |  PROJECT 1/18  |  10.28.21

PROJECT GUIDE PDF - Click to Download


Video Editing by Jorge Davies, Graphics by Melissa Sabol




Foil sculptures are miniature three-dimensional works of art that can be made with just a few sheets of aluminum tinfoil. You can roll, fold, pinch, twirl, wrap, and scrunch foil into forms that can be connected and combined to create unique metal masterpieces.


Inspires experimentation with a single material. Limitations often result in the greatest creativity.

Demonstrates how applying numerous techniques to the same material can create a variety of effects.

Teaches problem solving skills by asking students to execute their vision with limited resources.

Allows students to let go of fixed ideas of how things “should” be, and opens up the possibilities of creative thinking as the sculpture takes shape.

Requires patience and care in working with a fragile material.

Encourages students to be thoughtful about how they use their resources.



  • 4 sheets of Aluminum foil



1.  Prepare Your Foil:

Start with 4 sheets of foil (about 9"x12" each).

Rectangle: fold one sheet in half, hamburger-style, crease, and open up flat. Then find the center and place one hand down while tearing gently with the other. Do this 4 times to end up with a total of 8 rectangles.

Square: Use a rectangular sheet and repeat the above steps. Do this 4 times to create a
total of 8 squares.

Start with 4 rectangles and 8 squares for the sculpture.

2.  Make the Pieces:

Roll the Rods: Take one long rectangle of foil and roll gently lengthwise. Be sure to leave the ends unpinched and squeeze your roll until it is about the diameter of a straw. Repeat this process. Create a total of 4 long and 2 short rods.

Rods into Rings: Take a rod, bend it, and twist twice. Use your fingers to shape into a ring. Create a total of 3 large rings, 2 small rings and 1 long rod.

3.  Put it Together:

Assemble your sculpture using the connecting techniques of pinching, twisting and scrunching!

Place all the rings together like a bundle of flowers.

Twist them slowly so the pieces stay together.

Use squares of foil to scrunch around the bottom and add extra strength. Repeat this step until the sculpture feels secure.

Attach the rod with a square of foil and scrunch.

Make a shape at the end of the rod by adding a scrunched piece.

To create a base, place a square on the table and scrunch around the base until it is able to stand on it's own!

4. Take it Further:

You can add any of these to your sculpture using the scrunch method to make it even more interesting! Use your imagination!

Flat Fold: Take a piece of your foil and lay it out flat. Fold your foil lengthwise, press down in center and smooth out to the ends. Flip over and over again until you have a thin strip.

Spiral Fold: Take a Flat Fold strip of foil, and wrap it around your finger to create a spiral. Remove from your finger and pull apart.

Accordion Fold: Take a Flat Fold piece, measure a thumbnail's width from the end and fold. Flip the strip over and fold the same way again in the opposite direction. Repeat until you have folded up the entire strip of foil into a zigzag shape, then carefully unfold.

Wrap: To connect the ends of a Flat Fold, Accordion or Spiral piece, find the ends of the strip, overlap ends, and swap a strip of foil around the area where they cross over.



Make a 3D Abstract Flower with 3 long pipes, 4 short pipes, and 2 scrunches for the base.



Make an abstract sculpture using at least 3 techniques.

Use your imagination. What else can you make with all the techniques you have learned?

Artists to Know



Alberto Giacometti
Alberto Giacometti was a Swiss sculptor, painter, draftsman and printmaker. He was born in Switzerland in 1901. His artistic style was influenced by cubism and surrealism and philosophical questions of the human condition. Giacometti's most well known sculptures are his bronze sculptures of tall thin human figures. His thin figures are interpreted as an expression of the insignificance and loneliness of mankind. They reflected the world events of World War II. Giacometti was one of the most important sculptors of the 20th century.
Three Men Walking II, bronze, 1949


Toshihiko Mitsuya
Toshihiko Mitsuya lived and studied art in Otsu, Japan, before moving his studio to Berlin in 2009. Mitsuya dedicates the focus of his work to aluminium sculptures. This began at the age of five as handicraft work. He perfected it over 30 years to an impressive craft. He uses the cool, industrial material of aluminum foil to create mainly natural objects and organic forms.
Anonymous Relatives-Standing With, Aluminum Foil, 2016


Ruth Asawa
Ruth Asawa was a Japanese-American sculptor. From 1946 to 1949, she studied at Black Mountain College in North Carolina. Asawa learned to use common materials and began experimenting with wire, using a variety of techniques. This interdisciplinary approach helped to shape her artistic practice. In the 1950s, while a student at Black Mountain College, Asawa made a series of crocheted wire sculptures in various abstract forms, starting with baskets, and then exploring biomorphic forms that hang from the ceiling. She learned the wire-crocheting technique while on a field trip to Mexico where villagers used a similar technique to make baskets from galvanized wire.
Woven Wire Sculptors (



Sculpture:  the art of making two or three dimensional representative or abstract forms.

Assemblage:  is art that is made by assembling everyday objects to create something.

Form:  the overall form or shape an art piece takes

Figurative:  art that is derived from real objects sources and so is, by definition representational.

Abstract:  art that does not attempt to represent external reality

Scale:  refers to the physical size of an artwork. How small or big it is compared to us.

Texture:  is the surface quality in a work of art. Sometimes texture is used to make something look like something it is not. It can be used to create visual interest or a focal point.


If you’re interested in learning more:

The Art of Sculpture Welding: From Concept to Creation (Volume 1):  by Kristi Richardson McCoy.  

Artist Blacksmith Sculpture: The Art of Natural Metalwork by David Freedman.

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