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Shadow Tracing with Grape Sculptures

by Jean Van't Hul
September 7, 2014

Shadow Tracing Art for Kids

We combined two of our favorite simple art activities this summer :: kids’ shadow art and grape sculptures.

This is one of the many activities from this summer that I shared on Instagram briefly but didn’t get around to writing a blog post about. Perhaps now that school has started back up, I’ll have more time to write up some of the others as well.

Or maybe we should just all go camp out on Instagram and share our creative ideas there via photos and a sentence or two and skip the whole blog writing thing…

Just kidding.

Sort of.

Okay then! Here goes…

Shadow tracing with grape sculptures

A simple idea for kids art with lots of photos and a little commentary…

Grapes for Grape Sculptures


  • Grapes*
  • Toothpicks
  • Paper
  • Pen or pencil
  • Light source (window or lamp)

*We did our shadow tracing with grape sculptures, but there are so many different ways to build toothpick sculptures. You could also trace a bouquet of flowers (as we did in my book), a still life, the patterns from a sheer curtain, a doll… The possibilities are endless!


Building a Grape Sculpture

Start by connecting your grapes with toothpicks.

Or your toothpicks with grapes.

Whichever way you want to think about it.

Building a Grape Sculpture

Keep connecting them and begin building up…

Building a Grape Sculpture

…and up.

Shadow Tracing with Grape Sculptures

When you have a nice 3-dimensional grape structure finished, you can either A.) eat it, or B.) draw it.

If you have a good angled light source, such as morning or evening light through a window, you can see interesting shadows created by the sculpture.

If you don’t have a good light source, you can create one with lamp.

Shadow Tracing with Grape Sculptures

Once you see the shadows you want to trace, position a piece of paper so that the shadows fall across it, and start tracing the shadow perimeters.

By the time you finish, you may notice that the shadows have shifted. That’s okay! It’s interested to notice how the shadows move as the light changes.

Shadow Tracing with Grape Sculptures

Daphne traced some grape sculptures, some grapes, and also just a little egg cup filled with toothpicks.

When you’re finished with your shadow tracing, you can leave it as is or you can color it in.

Daphne's Shadow Tracing Art

You can also do what Daphne and Maia did and use the traced shadows as a drawing prompt for some creative drawing.

Here’s Daphne’s little creatures (above) hanging upside down.

Maia's Shadow Tracing Art

And Maia’s baby hedgehog navigating the grape forest.

Shadow Tracing Art for Kids with Grape Sculptures and Imagination

Have you tried shadow tracing yet with your kids? It’s such a simple yet engaging art activity and well worth setting up.

Plus if you do it with grape sculptures you can snack and draw at the same time!

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10 Best Kids Art Ideas
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