Found Object Art or How well you can think when children aren't present


I took a walk around the block.  Why? Well, I really should try and do something at least slightly active in my life.  Really, there aren't a lot of things in my life calling out for me to move so I have to invent them.  Today I invented walking around the block - how about that? I bet no one has ever done that before!

Ok, so that isn't the point.  The point is while walking I notice all sorts of little tidbits along the road.  A soda tab, pieces of glass, widgets, whatnots, etc.  I was thinking, I should collect all those and have the kids come up with an art project to do with them.  I kept thinking (see how I can do that?! Much easier to start and continue thinking without the children along on the walk.  What with their, "she's walking in my part of the road", "I want to be on the LEFT side of mommy," and the ever popular, "she's stepping on my shadow" it becomes difficult to follow any train of thought.)  What was my point? Oh right, I kept thinking and came up an idea!

First, collect all the bits.

Next get a piece of paper and draw a simple but recognizable shape.  If you cannot draw a shape and have it be recognizable, go for abstract art or download some sort of coloring page.  Find some thin wire or string to trace the shape onto a piece of cardboard, wood, picture canvas, whatever is handy and relatively sturdy. We used string and regular old white glue

Using more glue, attach all your found objects inside the outline, filling it in as completely as possible.

When that is done and the glue is dry (pretty instantly for hot glue, a day or so for other glues) spray paint the entire thing.  Pick whatever color you like. Ours took four coats, rather heavy coats because, ahem, I'm not that patient.  Anyway, here they are, only 10 days after we started:

Pig, by Stella

Triceratops, by Sandis

You're done! Or not.  You could paint over the monochrome masterpiece to add more details.  Or leave it as is to focus on the bits and baubles. 

Some alternatives:

  • do this on a picture frame
  • use broken toys
  • use natural objects like acorn caps and rocks
  • use different kinds of dry beans

The possibilities are virtually endless.  I decided on the found objects because I discovered them on my walk..  It's a good recycling/community service/earth day thing that way.  If it's fall and you need acorns picked up in your yard, well, there's a different priority! Looking at different kinds of seeds, do that instead.  Looking for a rainy day activity and only have popcorn kernels? That works!


  • Kirsten | May 16, 2012 at 8:09 AM

    Shawn - this is an absolutely awesome idea! I loved what the girls created. I especially liked the triceratops - the shield above the head definitely stands out. Well done!!! (now I need to go for a walk). And the whole dialogue during a walk thing? Hilarious. And all too true.

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