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Degas Tin Foil Figures

Make these figures from tin foil only.


Tin foil


Thick Permanent Black Marker

Cardboard 8" x 10" (for platform)

Glue gun, sticks


  1. Have the students pair up and write down activities that various types of people do. Have them act out activity for class to guess.

  2. Talk about Degas and his love for the figure and his desire to paint and sculpt the figure doing everyday mundane things telling a story about their lives.

  3. Show the students the project examples made from tin foil.

  4. Demo how to make the foil person.

  5. Talk about proportion (have on chalkboard example)

  6. Hand out materials.

  7. Have them cut and measure foil for their person. (18" long)

  8. With black marker put 6" line up bottom center, Make 2 5" marks on top. Cut with scissors. (See example A below). Pinch at waist gently and then arms and legs.

  9. Have them decide with their team mate what activity their figures will be doing. Have them tell a story.

  10. Have your team mate pose in position you need for your figure.

  11. Finish by gluing figures to board with hot glue or tacky glue. (Consider placing figure off center to create a more interesting composition with shadows).

  12. Put light up against art and create interesting strong shadow on the board. Trace and fill with black marker. (the further the light the more clear the shadow).

  13. Photograph and talk about pieces and why they chose their design.

Foil Sample

Example A

Below are their figures. They were so happy with these. I think this was the first time I saw them excited about something they did.

"Archery Lesson"

"Let's Dance"

"Gone Fishing"

"Family Outing"

"Fist Fight at McDonalds"

Light over figure and trace

"Zombie Apocalypse"

I hung them on the wall and they look cool sideways.

"The Matrix"

"Toilet News"

"Ghetto Greetings"

"The Thinker"



There were very little challenges. With a good demonstration, step by step, they followed easily. I would stress they go slow and squeeze the foil lightly at first. Make sure the figures' fingertips are at mid thigh. Most of their heads were too big. Check proportions before they glue to board.

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