How to Make 3-D Art

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Anamorphic 3-D art techniques replicate the appearance of three-dimensions, but they’re more of a fool-the-eye trompe l'oeil kind of artistic creation. Real 3-D art consists of anything created so that it has shape and form in three dimensions: width, length and height. You can make 3-D art with a variety of media: wire, clay, marble, newspaper or any material that appeals to your artistic senses

Papier-Mache Sculpture

Make a papier-mache sculpture with some supplies from the hardware store and some you already have at home. Pick up some galvanized or aluminum wire along with about 3 feet of chicken wire to create the skeleton or frame for your 3-D sculpture. Do not use steel wire, as it can rust inside the sculpture.

Form the major lines of the skeleton by configuring the wire into the desired shape. For example, you need three wires to create a giraffe – one long one for the neck, spine and tail, and two shorter ones to fold into the legs. Twist the legs around the back of the spine area equidistant apart and bend them so they support the frame. Bend the neck up from just beyond where it connects to the front legs and bend the end down for its head. Secure the galvanized chicken wire to the frame to create the giraffe’s body, head, ears and ossicones -- the skin-covered knobs on top of the head -- with bits of twisted wire.

Stuff the inside of the chicken wire with crunched-up newspaper to give it some form. Cut up 1-by-5-inch long strips of the remaining newspaper.

Flour-and-Water Paste Recipe

Put 2 cups of flour in a bowl and gradually add water to make a paste. Insert the beaters of a handheld mixer into the paste and mix thoroughly to remove all the lumps. The paste should have a creamy texture when you’re done mixing.

Dip a strip of newspaper into the flour-and-water paste; run the newspaper between two fingers to remove excess paste, and lay them across the wire sculpture until it is completely covered by pasted newspaper. After several coats, allow the sculpture to dry thoroughly before adding subsequent layers of newspaper strips to build up the body and form of the giraffe. Once you have the desired form, allow the sculpture to dry.

Once dry, sand any rough edges smooth with 220-grit sandpaper. Cover with beige acrylic or craft paint before adding spots and other details in other colors. Coat with a glossy or matte medium to finalize your standalone 3-D sculpture.

Clay Masks, Busts or Sculptures

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Polymer clays you bake in the oven or air-hardened clays offer clay mediums for making 3-D busts and masks you hang on the wall, and dragons, fairies, frogs, toadstools or anything your imagination comes up with -- at home. Larger clay sculptures require the same kind of skeletal form from galvanized wire or aluminum foil to support the clay. After making the form, apply the clay to it, and smooth it in place. Clay shaping tools help you to carve and smooth the clay where needed. After baking or air-drying your sculpture, use specially formulated craft paints to add color and details.

Twisted Wire Sculptures

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Wire twisted and wrapped into a shape – a tree holding on to a rock by exposed roots – makes a one-of-a-kind original piece of 3-D art without a huge expense and multiple supplies. A pair of wire cutters and needle-nose pliers are all you need to twist the wire into shape.

Trees attached to moss-covered rocks or even small bonsais make an interesting design that is not that hard to create. Cut lengths of wire long enough to form the trunk of the tree and multiple branches. Wrap the trunk with multiple wires to form the branches. Continually wrap wire around the trunk to thicken it; as you reach the outer ends of the branches, lessen the amount of wrapped wire until only a single strand remains at each branch end. Make the wire long enough to create the roots that grasp the rock or wood burl in the same way.