Cardboard Sculpture


I have always longed for creating something aesthetically appealing from minimalistic resources, as it speaks to the attitude of artist and one’s passion to create art rather than focus being on the materials one is using to create art.

Although, I did decided to build “Sculptures out of Cardboard” out of constraints rather than choice, I had this earlier as my second option. Due to some unforeseen circumstances (I hurt my ankle bone during a practice Sparring session for Muay Thai), I was not able to work on & get required resources for “Articulated Wings” (First choice for Upcycling Artifact). Now, given current circumstances with few days left, I had to recollect myself & pivot to new Artifact choice. I had always admired the sculptures made by Renaissance artist back when art was blooming in Florence, Italy. Although, I want to try those at some point as I move forward in my artistic endeavor, I know I was not there yet. So, what could be those simplistic sculptures I can try to make with resources I have already at my apartment? That’s when I started looking and zeroed in on the idea of Sculptures made of out Cardboard. That too with cardboards which are readily there in my apartment for e.g. I had multiple Amazon deliveries here in boxes as I moved recently to Boulder.

Artistic Vision

Now that the form was decided that I am gonna build “Cardboard Sculptures”, the question remained what to build? and what size? I would have loved to build human size sculptures as I personally find them more appealing but given time available & how new I am to this art form – I decided to build something small say – “A Dog Puppy”, this while remaining small & yet viable also give me enough foray in to the shaping sculptures to build a foundation for much more ambitious projects down the line.

The style, aesthetics or even the format of the art is not included in the definition, so artists find versatile possibilities when expressing themselves through cardboard art. Important element, however, that somewhat defines cardboard art but not necessarily in traditional art historical terms is its contemporary hipness. As societies around the world strive to develop different modes of existence that cohere more with nature and are protective of nature’s cycles, cardboard ascends the art scene slowly as the both economic and environmentally friendly material.*

Going back to history, cardboard entered the art scene most notably in Cubist and Dadaist works. Pablo Picasso’s Still Life with Guitar came to be one of the most influential sculptures of the 20th century, and it belongs to the period of Picasso’s work when he turned his attention from figures to still life around 1912.#

Fabrication Process

Supplies Used –

  1. Cardboard (From Amazon delivery Boxes)

2. A pair of Scissors

3. Hot Glue Gun

4. Clips

Given all the required supplies items are there, I started the design process with some of the 2-dimensional sketches to lay foundation to the sculpture about how it may look, what will be the dimensions of it – this gives the idea of how to proceed ahead in the project while giving proper foundation shapes to the cardboard to build structures and contours around it.

First it starts with plain side sketch and front view face of the dog to give identity to the sculpture.

So getting down to the nitty gritty of the sculpting process. So we start with kind of a flat kind of design or a shape. And then that shape is then turned into a mass by adding extra pieces of card. One of the beauties of kind of working with card in small pieces, is I can actually take something that will become part of a larger sculpture, and I can actually hold it in my hands. So you can actually see the different angles that you need to kind of work on. Once I’ve got these kind of angles that gives me a sense of the overall shape and proportion, I then start using pieces of card that could become cladding as it were, like you’d get on the outside of a house. In the human body, you don’t get right angles. So essentially what I’m doing is working out ways to kind of curve and kind of bend the card, or press the corrugations together, to actually mold round the form. And then once I’ve got an overall kind of shape, then I actually return to the surface details. Now say, for instance, all the features like the eyes, nose, and mouth, all kind of have this kind of curved aspect to them. So you are kind of thinking about what is the right shape from the front, it might be a drawn nose or a mouth.**

Final Artifact

This is still raw but entire basic shape is completed, from here on, given how much time I spend on it decided the contours I will be giving and perfect curves as real a puppy would have anatomically, which will includes lot of small pieces of cardboard stripes coming together to form counter 3-dimensional shape.

Functional and Artistic Goals

With regards to the functional goal, it turned out pretty sturdy and stable which makes it easy to move around given its light weight, So it has surpassed functional expectation I had from stability and mobility standpoint.

Artistic wise, It turned out pretty aesthetic and taught me foundational aspect of sculpting from 2D sketches, 2D pieces to converting into complex 3 dimensional contours. It’s a bit like a very complicated jigsaw as it were.

What’s Next?

This Artifact laid foundation for me to foray into field of Sculptures, I eventually would love to explore and make something reminiscent of Reinassance time Sculptures mostly of Human form size envelope with as limited resources I can.  In long term, I would like to make a sculpture of Horses with some of inspiration from Leonardo Da Vinci’s Old work.

Live Presentation Video link

  1. *
  2. – Inspiration Image
  3. **
  4. #
Previous Post
Musician’s Garden Report
Next Post
Biophilic Pencil Holder

1 Comment. Leave new

  • Hi Rishabh,
    Even though this project was a second choice with limited time, I think you did a really great job with your finished artifact. I especially liked the stacking effect that you made with the cardboard pieces, I feel like that added quite a bit of detail and depth to the sculpture. If you had more time and resources, would you have changed anything in the sculpture?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.