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Shadow Tracing with Grape Sculptures

by Jean Van't Hul
September 7, 2014

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

*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!

Shadow Tracing with Grape Sculptures


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


Building a Grape Sculpture

Start by connecting your grapes with toothpicks.

Building a Grape Sculpture

Continue to connect and build the structure higher up.

Building a Grape Sculpture

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.

With a good angled light source, such as morning or evening light, there will be interesting shadows cast by the sculpture.

If you don’t have a good light source, you can create one with a 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. Then start tracing the shadow perimeters.

By the time you finish, you may notice that the shadows have shifted. That’s okay! It’s interesting 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.

Have you tried shadow tracing yet with your kids? It’s such a simple yet engaging art activity and well worth setting up. And if you do it with grape sculptures you can snack and draw at the same time!

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