Today we explored the world of tape sculpture. I paired kids up and gave each group a roll of super heavy duty scotch packing tape to work with. I told them to walk around the outside of my house and find an object (or objects if they were small) to make a tape copy from. Tape sculpture is a great way to work large and to explore simple forms. I encouraged looking for simple things and gave them the example of a garden shovel -- mostly because I thought it would be funny to see a shovel made out of tape. Anyway, the various groups chose to copy from a bouncy ball, a unicycle, a bat and ball, a child's chair, and a wooden barrel.
Tape sculpture can also be used in a more decorative way. The tape layers can encapsulate small decorative items like glitter, sequins, ribbons, pebbles or grass. You can make tape shoes, hats, and dresses using your own body as a form. I decided to focus on the large form sculptural aspects of the tape medium, so I didn't give the kids any decorative options.
Tape sculpture is based on a very simple method: use a form; tape around the form with sticky side out; place decorative items on the sticky tape if you are using them; create a second skin of tape with sticky side down; cut the tape form off the original and apply more tape to the cut seams.
Some tips. The more expensive the tape, the stiffer the finished form. Try and pop for the expensive tape if you can when creating larger forms. When you are finished with the second layer of tape do a hand check for stickiness along the outside of the form. If any parts are left sticky in the finished piece they will attract dirt. If you have trouble cutting the form off the original, you might need a straight edge. This medium is very forgiving. Even if the cuts are messy and crude, the final project looks just fine.
Warning. Don't let kids put tape on their lips. We had one student take off a layer of lip skin by being goofy. Kids should tie back their hair. You wouldn't guess this was a dangerous project, but somehow we had a few mishaps.