How To Make a Kinetic Sculpture

Kinetic means moving and kinetic sculpture means a moving sculpture. This is an art made famous by Alexander Calder. Thanks to him, science is now directly applicable to art.

A kinetic sculpture can be as easy as making an electric-fan-like toy or can be as complicated that a powerful motor is needed to make it “kinetic.”

Everything begins with the basic. Learn the basics of making a kinetic sculpture first and then innovate on the design.

  • Cut shapes out of sturdy papers. Think of an inspiration—a flower, a butterfly, a bee, or snow flakes. Anything can be your inspiration. Now, imagine how you will represent your inspiration with pieces of paper. A flower, for example, can be represented with floral-shaped pieces. Follow the same color scheme of the flower. If you’re making a sunflower kinetic sculpture, then use yellow, orange, and brown.
  • Punch holes on the middle. Fold the pieces of paper to determine their exact middle. While still folded, punch holes through them or cut out holes.
  • Connect the pieces of papers together. Cut about 10 inches of thin wire. Fold it twice. Insert it through the holes so that the loose ends are visible on the papers’ front portion. Split the two groups of wires opposite from each other. This should secure the papers without ruining their mobility.
  • Attach a stand or a hanger. Make a circle-shaped hole with the folded wires at the back of the paper pieces. This adds security to the papers while giving a perfect spot for the stand or hanger. If making a stand, a strong wire or wood is enough. For hangers, wires, woods, and strings will be great.

Test the kinetic sculpture. The paper pieces should move with a gentle breeze. That can now be displayed in a spot with constant gentle breeze.

Do you want a simpler or more advanced kinetic sculpture? The tips below will be helpful:

  • Make a kinetic sculpture similar to a baby’s mobile toy. Hang interesting shapes and run them with a motor. You may run them with the breeze, too, as long as the shapes are light for the wind.
  • Copy the carousel idea. Be inspired with a carousel. You may or may not use a motor for this. The idea is to have many horses around and make them move like in the carousel.
  • Make a butterfly fly. Shape out a butterfly and attach strings to its wings. Pull down that string and the butterfly will look like it is flying.
  • Tell a story out of a kinetic sculpture. This art can also serve like a stage play. But instead of puppets or people, use kinetic sculptures to tell stories. This art can also express your opinion about some issues.

Explore websites like the Kinetic Kingdom for more design ideas. However, in this particular website, the projects are for advanced kinetic sculpture artists. Maybe someday, you can already do a fancier kinetic sculpture. For now, learn the basic and familiarize yourself with the art. You might soon be capable of planning and making your own advanced kinetic sculpture.


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