Kids Arts and Crafts Activities Parent Resources

Scrap wood sculptures with the art group


We made wood sculptures with the art group yesterday using frame pieces, popsicle sticks, and some other small scrap wood pieces. The kids glued all these together and to heavy mat board (remnants from the same frame shop). Justin's is above and below — he was really into the project



We used regular all-purpose school glue, both in squeeze bottles and in open dishes with paintbrushes.


Gil working on his sculpture.


His older sister Josie carefully made about 7 or 8 stand-alone mini sculptures and set them along the terrace wall to dry.
Have any of you done this? I think it would be fun to paint them afterwards, although I don't know that we will. It would also be nice to do these on a wooden base (rather than the mat board).


  • Reply
    Teaching My Little Bookworm
    July 16, 2009 at 3:42 am

    that is super cool we have lots of scrap wood! did you need wood glue to keep it together!?

  • Reply
    July 16, 2009 at 6:16 am

    love this idea! I try to think of 3-D projects to do with my 3 year old rather than just paper all the time. Another “sculpture” project we enjoyed was simply glueing beans, all different shapes and sizes, to a scrap of 2×4 wood. I am picturing combining these ideas and painting them when they’re dry does sound good too. Thanks again for inspiration!

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s Explore
    July 16, 2009 at 6:31 am

    This was one of my daughter’s favorite activities at preschool! Sometime the teachers added a little tempera paint to the glue, so the kids got just a hint of color as they worked on their sculptures.

  • Reply
    July 16, 2009 at 7:22 am

    This is a great idea! We don’t have scrap wood but we have a lot of small tree branches and sticks for the large old trees in our yard. I’ve never thought of trying to do sculpture with them. Thanks for the idea. The kids will love this.

  • Reply
    Julie Liddle (ART IN HAND)
    July 16, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    Oh, yes, always a hit…and for some kids, really taps into their creative energy even more than working 2-d…I especially find this with preschool aged boys who find fine motor skills a drag (I hate to generalize by gender, but, alas, this, in general, plagues little boys more often than little girls based on my observations). Anyway, they all love building with wood and glue. I find even white school glue does the trick. For fun, you can find all sorts of embellishments from Discount School Supply…little wood tiles and sticks in multicolors, and I incorporate found objects and things I collect, like lids from containers, molded cardboard inserts from boxes, and/or natural materials.

  • Reply
    July 16, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    we have done this too, a few days after we painted them and they are now rather odd ornaments in the garden.

  • Reply
    July 16, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    and the project continues to inspire! jean delivered justin his sculpture today, and he wanted to work on it some more. he glued on more sticks, googly eyes, and other embellishments like julie (above) had suggested. this time he wanted to use glitter glue instead of just the white glue. so now it looks a little less like the small mtn town he said he was originally making and a little more like las vegas!

  • Reply
    July 16, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    I love the expression on the childrens faces around the table, as they are busily preparing and concentrating while making their sculptures.
    Anything to do with gluing would certainly capture my little girls attention at the moment. Using different materials, apart from paper and cardboard, is exciting.

  • Reply
    The Artful Parent
    July 17, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    We just used regular all-purpose school glue and it held together fine. I tested it ahead of time to make sure because I had the same question. I’m glad the school glue worked because I have a lot of it vs only one bottle of wood glue!

  • Reply
    July 18, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    My children’s nursery school teacher did a project similar to this. they made the base sculpture out of wood, cardboard tubes, neat peices of packing cardboard (gluing them just like you did) then the next class they painted them, the next class the added chenile stems, wooden beads, plastic bits, etc, and the final class they dictated what their sculpture was all about. They were on display, along with their narration, at a parent meeting for the school. So sweet. A really neat art exhibit!

  • Reply
    July 21, 2009 at 4:34 am

    We used to do this in my nursery school with real hammers and nails! It is actually one of my very first memories and I have been thinking that I should let my kids do it as well. Using glue would be a lot safer too. :)

  • Reply
    The Artful Parent
    July 21, 2009 at 6:31 am

    I’d like to try this with Maia with real hammer and nails! I don’t think I’d do it with a large group of kids this age but one on one sounds manageable. I need to find Maia a small hammer though…

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    July 26, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    You can have the children “nail” golf tees into big chunks of styrofoam with plastic hammers. You can get golf tees at the dollar stores and styrofoam from packaging. Just a fun hammering activity.

    • Reply
      Sydney Snyder
      March 28, 2018 at 4:50 pm

      You can also hammer studs (like the kind you would add to clothing) into wood. They don’t have to hold them down so their little fingers are out of the way and it looks super cool. I learned this one from Meri Cherry at her studio :).

      • Reply
        Jean Van't Hul
        March 29, 2018 at 5:25 am

        Ooh! Great idea! I can’t wait to give that one a try!

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