Not long ago, I was babysitting a spunky little girl who loves art projects as long as they don’t have complicated instructions. She’s capable of following instructions, but she just likes to figure things out on her own and exercise her creative license.
We decided to make something outside. I noticed lots of fairly thick, long sycamore sticks that had fallen all over the backyard, and I suggested that we start bundling them up. This was a fun scavenging activity in itself. Then the time came to figure out what we should do with them.
Together, we came up with this super easy stick sculpture made out of the sticks and some old string. It’s was such a simple idea, but she had so much fun with it. I think part of the fun came from creating something from seemingly nothing.
How to make this easy stick sculpture:
Long, sturdy sticks
Colorful string or ribbon
Flower pots filled with dirt
The super simple process, explained in somewhat unnecessary detail:
Step 1: Set up four flower pots filled with dirt (the fourth one is out of the picture here).
– Set them up in a square or roughly trapezoidal shape
– Pack the dirt in well so that it is compact enough to hold the sticks
– If the dirt or grass in your backyard is soft enough to poke the sticks into (but compact enough to support their weight) then you may not need these. Of course, these pots do not necessarily need to be empty (apart from the dirt), as long as you don’t mind have sticks poked into your potted plants.
Step 2: Start with one stick in each pot, and place them in a tent or tipi-like structure. Add more if desired.
– Tie the tips of the sticks together to set them in place.
– The main four sticks should be the thickest and the straightest ones.
Step 3: Wind and drape string or ribbon, alternating colors.
– My little artist was very particular about which colors she wanted to use. The result is a bit funky looking, but she loved it!
– I didn’t do much directing after we got the sticks to stay. I knew this would be taken down after a few days, and the important thing was that she had fun and felt freedom to do this her way.
– If you want to have a finished product that’s a little more garden-worthy, I would suggest picking out string colors that are a bit more complimentary (and maybe not neon) and encouraging your kiddo to drape or wrap the whole sculpture. This may require you to use smaller sticks or work on a longer timeline. If we had more time that day, she might have completely covered the sticks in string, and I think it would have looked quite pretty.
Making it eco-friendly and zero waste:
Use string or ribbon from your house that you don’t mind getting a bit frayed or dirty and that can be reused afterward. We used old kite string that I later collected and stored away for future art projects.
If you don’t have any such string lying around the house, here are some alternative ideas:
– You could cut thin strips of old fabric (and tie them together if they’re not long enough).
– If you have plain, un-dyed string, you could make an extra project out of dying it naturally.
– You could wait to do this project until you’ve collected lots of ribbon from presents people have gifted!
– You could buy naturally dyed string made from natural materials that you will reuse for other projects or leave on the sculpture.
The main takeaway: use natural or reusable materials.
Let me know if you try this easy stick sculpture!
What did you do to make this a.e.a.p (as eco as possible)?