Subject/Title: Wire and Pantyhose Sculptures
Grade Level: 5-12
Goal: To introduce students to a free-form sculpture technique.
Objectives: Students will produce a sculpture made from wire and panythose.
Wire coat hanger and/or thick, pliable wire from electrical cable
Block of wood, approx. 4x4x1
Knee high hose or 1 leg of pantyhose
Wirecutter or heavy pliers
Nail and hammer (or drill)
Latex or acyrlic paint
Gesso and tempera paint (optional)
Hot glue gun
1. Use hammer and nail to create one or two holes in the block of wood. One hole may be centered, or two holes may be placed in the wood. (The distance apart doesn't seem to be critical.) Note: A drill may also be used, and this is far easier than making holes with the hammer and nail!
2. Use wire cutters or heavy pliers to cut off the hook end of a wire coat hanger. Bend the wire to straighten it out a little before starting.
3. Insert the ends of the wire into the holes in the wood. Reinforce with hot glue. (Avoid having the wires poke through the bottom of the wood--this will make the sculpture a little unstable.)
4. Bend and twist the coat hanger to achieve an interesting shape.
5. Carefully pull the hose over the top of the wire, keeping the toe seam aligned with the wire. Continue to work the hose down over the wire and over the wooden block. Carefully adjust the wire inside, as desired.
6. When satisfied with the shape and "tauntness" of the hose, clip off the excess hose from the bottom of the wooden block with scissors, and use a hot glue gun to tack into place.
7. The surface may be covered using gesso and tempera, OR two coats of latex house paint or acrylic may be used.
8. Encourage students to explore a variety of finishes--"stone" finishes can be interesting, as can paints that will make the surface appear to be metal or wood. Other objects and materials may be added to the forms, too--consider collage, beads, feathers, etc.!
I had read about this project for over a year on ArtsEdNet and just couldn't visualize how to make it until I actually tried one. This is a remarkably simple project, and the results are stunning. My 8th-12th graders LOVED this! Many students made more than one because they wanted to see what other looks they could achieve using the same basic materials and idea.
Special Tip: Go to a paint store and see if they have mis-mixed latex paint. I was able to get the most incredible colors for only $3 per gallon at a local Sherwin-Williams!