Wednesday, April 10, 2013

25 Days of Art: Building Squares

I am obsessed with this project. My roommate came home a few months ago after studying at the National Art Gallery with these little pentagons of pressed board with notches cut into them. And by studying, I mean building really cool sculptures that sometimes resemble female reproductive organs.

I immediately decided that we would have to do this at the library and then almost as immediately forgot all about it.

Until I saw a Pinterest post in which a mom cut narrow triangles in chipboard squares and let her kids spend hours just experimenting with the types of structures they could build.

-corrugated cardboard
-paper cutter (prep)
-scissors (prep)
-paint (optional)

Using the paper cutter, cut the cardboard into approximate 3x3 squares. I got 160 squares from an average size shipping box. Then, with the scissors, cut narrow triangles about a third of the way through on the sides on the squares. Go crazy with triangle placement, put two on one side, or snip out the corners. They don't have to all be the same, but the notches shouldn't ever go more than half-way through the square.

Lay the squares out and let the kids build!

I presented my kids with a list of challenges to get them started...

1) Build the tallest structure possible using 15 squares. 
2) Build the longest structure possible using 15 squares
3) Work together to build a structure with all the pieces
4) Build a structure that looks like a tree
5) Build one that looks like an animal
6) Build a structure where every square connects to at least two other squares.

Once someone has built a structure that they're really happy with, let them paint it and take it home. Paint can transform the structure into a sculpture!

Miss Lucy's Example:

Kid Art:


  1. This is a really neat idea! Thanks for sharing :)

  2. Thank you so much for your generosity! We can learn so much from one another! I can't wait to try it out...with the kids!!

  3. I'm so glad I saw this. My friend works for a start-up company making folding water bottles. The shipping boxes they ordered were cut 1/4 inch too small. She was going to throw them out, but I claimed them all for our makerspace! Thanks for the great idea!

  4. Thanks so much I am going to do this

  5. This looks like so much fun! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Great idea- I'm doing some community Arts workshops and thye have to have a teambuilding element, this could work really well, thanks Ali