Packing Tape Casting

Art-Rageous Art Ed Resources

Using the work of artists George Segal and Mark Jenkins as references, students began making life-size sculptures of themselves using clear packing tape as a casting material.

This is a project I've wanted to try with students ever since I first heard about it! There are many wonderful sites online (searchable in "google") that show how to do this project and the pictures below show my students' progress.

One of the most important bits of information to remember is that the first layer is put on sticky side UP and then 3-4 more layers of tape are applied sticky side DOWN. Students cast themselves (with help from other students) in sections and used rounded-tip scissors to carefully remove each cast. Seams were taped up and the body section casts were taped together.

Wrapping students' heads was the most challenging part of this project.


Finished Sculptures

And then we got kind of a wild idea.... Would it be possible to fill one of these with helium and have it float?!

It seemed like a very cool possibility and so Science met Art as we tested this. Our physics teacher said that we'd have to first get the air out of the sculpture, so a small hole was put in the foot to let air out and a small hole was put in the head to let helium in.

Unfortunately, it didn't work. Helium molecules are so small that apparently they passed through tiny openings in the layers of tape. We had fun with this experiment, though, and I'm sure that I'll soon see floating sculptures from others who try it!


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