Relief Sculpture
Subtractive Process

During a unit on sculpture, students created a bas-relief sculpture using wallboard (drywall) and carving tools.

Drywall is cut into 12" (or smaller) squares, and then students glue it (back side down) to a piece of cardboard the same size.
This helps the piece stayed together, even if it cracks while they were working on it.
Next, they use damp sponges to soften and remove the paper on the front of the board.
This takes time and patience!

I encourage them to come up with relatively simple designs, and try to avoid having really thin raised lines.
The board is rather fragile--and often imperfect inside--so they have to be flexible once they began carving.

They use a small carving tool to outline their design...

...and switch to a larger tool to more quickly remove areas that they intended to cut away.
Keeping the surface just slightly damp helps to minimize dust.


Over the years, students have used metallic or stone spray paints to finish their carvings,
and others have used acrylic paint to add color to their designs.
While it's not a project I do every year, it's fun to see what kids come up with each time it's offered!












This student created a glossy finish with Modge Podge

This student used a combination of mock stone spray paint and gold spray paint

From Previous Years





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