Students roll cylinder shaped paper rods and use them to create a sculpture of a figure. Then they use a net to construct a hexahedron and pose the figure with the cube so it looks animated in some way.

Required Time

120 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 7 to Grade 9


Language Arts
Visual Arts


armature balance form hexahedron proportion sculpture


Crayola Construction Paper - variety of colours Crayola Scissors Crayola Washable No-Run School Glue Crayola Markers Pencils Bamboo Skewers Pipe Cleaners - 4 or 5 per student

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GEOMETRIC SOLIDS PAPER SCULPTURE – Form, Balance, Proportion - Step One

Step One


  1. Place a piece of construction paper flat on your desk and at a 45-degree angle to the edge of your desk.
  2. Place the skewer, pencil or marker on one corner of the paper so that it is parallel to the edge of your desk.
  3. Slowly begin to roll the paper around the skewer keeping it fairly tight.
GEOMETRIC SOLIDS PAPER SCULPTURE – Form, Balance, Proportion - Step Two

Step Two

  1. When you are almost at the end put a small amount of glue on the tip of the paper, then finish rolling the paper.
  2. Press the glued tip against the rolled paper to hold it in place.
  3. Remove the skewer.
GEOMETRIC SOLIDS PAPER SCULPTURE – Form, Balance, Proportion - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Use different sized rolling tools such as a bamboo skewer, a pencil and a marker to create a variety of cylinder shaped rods.
GEOMETRIC SOLIDS PAPER SCULPTURE – Form, Balance, Proportion - Step Four

Step Four


  1. Twist 2 pipe cleaners together to make the legs, body and arms.
  2. Bend the arms at right angles to the body.
  3. Bend a pipe cleaner in half and male a loop at the fold for the head.
  4. Place the head between the arms and twist the rest of it around the body.
  5. Your armature should look like a stick figure.
GEOMETRIC SOLIDS PAPER SCULPTURE – Form, Balance, Proportion - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Thread the paper rods onto the armature to create clothing and other details.
  2. Glue some rods on top of the ones you thread to add bulk to the body.
  3. Add details to give your figure a unique personality.
GEOMETRIC SOLIDS PAPER SCULPTURE – Form, Balance, Proportion - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Use a hexahedron net to construct a cube. (Downloads - HexahedronNet.pdf)
  2. Pose the figure with the cube so it appears animated in some way.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • create a free standing paper sculpture;
  • construct a variety of cylinder shaped paper rods;
  • use a net to construct a hexahedron;
  • pose their figure with a cube so it looks animated in some way;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity;
  • explain their process. 


Have students:

  • work in teams to write a story that uses the sculptures as main characters;
  • create a stop-motion video of their story;
  • share their videos with another class.


  1. Prior to this lesson you may want to have students explore stability and structures using the Paper Rod Sculpture lesson plan available on this website.
  2. Download and display the Balance and Proportion posters available on this website.
  3. Review or teach the principles of balance and proportion
    - Balance -  the arrangement of elements so that they seem equal in weight or importance
    - Proportion - the spatial relationship of one object to another
  4. Download pictures of free-standing sculptures from the Internet, for example,
    Seated Man
    Moore Family
    Standing Man
  5. Print the Hexahedron Net worksheet - enough for several students to share. (Downloads - HexahedronNet.pdf)
  6. Prepare demonstration materials,
    - paper and pencil to roll paper rods
    - pipe cleaners to make an armature
  7. Create a sample.


  1. Discuss the purpose and nature of sculpture - an excellent overview is available at the Tate.
  2. Compare and contrast a representational and abstract sculpture such as Seated Man and Moore Family focusing on details, balance and interpretation.
  3. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Construct a free standing sculpture made of cylinder shaped paper rods.
  2. Use a net to construct a hexahedron.
  3. Pose the figure with the cube so it looks animated in some way.
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.
  5. Explain your process. 

The Process

  1. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students. For example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - created a free-standing sculpture
    - rolled sturdy paper rods
    - used a net to create a hexahedron
    - posed the figure with a cube so it appears animated
    - kept the sculpture in good condition
  3. Encourage students to build thoughtfully, periodically looking at their design from a distance.
  4. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  5. Observe students as they work. 
  6. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Have students work in small groups to display their sculptures as if they are at a meeting.
  2. Ask students to view the displays and look at the works thoughtfully.
  3. Ask them to share an interesting thing about one of the 'meetings'.
  4. During the discussion include references to:
    Personality – how the artist has communicated ideas about the figure's personality
    - Technical accomplishment – carefully constructed work
    - Creativity – unique qualities about each piece
    - Conversations – what might the figures be saying
  5. Ask students to share how they felt about doing this project and why.


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their artworks – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, points to areas in the artwork, provides accurate information, answers questions from the audience effectively.
  3. Observe students as they listen – looks at presenter, asks effective questions, supports ideas with evidence found in the artwork.
  4. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads - PaperSculpture_tracking.sheet.pdf)
  5. Have students draw their sculpture and then write a reflection that includes things such as:
    - What they like best about their artwork and why.
    - What part of the process they feel they need more practice with.
    - What surprised them about the project.
    - How they feel about doing this project and why.