Are you looking for an easy sculpture project for kids? Model magic is the perfect material to work with and we found the perfect subject matter. You will have fun seeing the creativity in your kids while they build their own food sculptures.
Who can build this sculpture?
Any child will love this easy sculpture project. Depending on the age of the child, you can change the plate design to any contrasting design. The examples you will see in this post are mainly from 3rd-grade students (or 9-year-olds).
Any age really. Model Magic is so easy to work with that it is also a favorite of parents at home. Have fun creating miniature “clay” meals at home without making a huge mess.
Read More>>>If you are looking for more sculpture ideas, check out 6+ different clay animals you can build with the same students.
What is Model Magic?
Model Magic is a sculpture-building material that has a proprietary recipe and feels like light playdough. You can purchase it in white or different colors. This is one of the easiest and cleanest materials to use with elementary-age students.
The biggest con to using model magic is that it is not as sturdy as other sculpture materials like regular clay. We find that adding a clear coat once the Model Magic is dry (and done being painted) helps them last a little longer.
- Model Magic: We love ordering this 75-pack of 1-ounce white pack for students to work with. We find it is the most economical way to purchase Model Magic. Even if you are just doing this with your family or small group this still gives you the most bang for your buck.
If doing this sculpture project at home, you could also just purchase a larger individual pack. Just note that Model Magic will start to dry if not kept in an air-tight container or baggie.
Check Model Magic Prices on Amazon by clicking the picture below
- Watercolor Paint: Prang or these Sargent watercolor palettes are great to get rich colors and last a long time.
- Small Paper Plates (here is another craft you can make out of paper plates)
- Small Paint Brushes: Due to the size of these sculptures, size 0 or 2 brushes work really well.
- Pen Sharpie or another pen permanent marker
What artist can we use as inspiration?
For this art project for kids, you can use Wayne Thiebaud as inspiration. There is a great CBS Sunday Morning clip about him on Youtube.
Just pause it near the end if you don’t want children to notice a nude painting in the background at an art gallery. It is totally up to you, just make sure you preview the video first to find out what I am talking about.
Questions To Ask When Viewing Wayne Thiebaud’s Artworks
- How did he create texture?
- What would happen if he had given up?
- Why do you think he chose food as his subject matter?
- What food would you like to make Art about? Why?
- Why do you think he chose to create paintings about food?
Food Sculpture Art Lesson
This art project can take around 1 to 1 1/2 hours to complete. If you are completing in a school setting that might mean 3-4 classes. You can always modify any parts of this elementary art lesson to fit the needs and age you are working with.
Day 1: Discuss Thiebuad’s Art and Sketch
Step 1: Watch the CBS video and have a discussion about the artwork you see.
Step 2: Pass out sketch paper and have children draw at least 3 sketches of what they would like to create a sculpture of.
Day 2: Build With Model Magic
Step 3: Each child will need a 1-ounce pack of Model Magic and a toothpick.
Step 4: Have the children open the package so that the silver part is completely open and use a sharpie to write their names. While this seems odd to give this instruction, the inside of the pack is the perfect work surface for kids.
Step 5: Build a food sculpture of their choice. Encourage kids to only make 1-3 items out of the pack. If they end up making more, the sculptures are too small.
Step 6: Use the toothpick to help add texture or sculpt their small model magic sculpture.
Step 7: Let dry overnight.
Day 3: Paint the Sculpture
Step 8: Use a watercolor paint palette or tempera paint and a small brush to paint the sculpture.
Make sure kids are properly using watercolor paint. If they have too much water on their brush it will drip. However, remind them that watercolor paint is supposed to be see-through or transparent.
Day 4: Design the Plate
Step 9: Each child will design a small paper plate with a radial black and white design. Click the link to get our step-by-step instructions for this.
This radial design method is great for kids about 8 and older. If doing one on one with a child, I am sure they could do it.
What if creating with younger elementary students?
If you are doing this with a younger class (say under 3rd grade), then I would just let them design the plate however they want but only with black and white. You can still encourage them to create variety by color in and around the shapes.
Step 10: Use a hot glue gun to attach the Model Magic food sculpture to the plate.
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Art Lesson FAQs
Yes, if you don’t want to paint your Model Magic you can use washable markers before or after painting. If you want a watercolor look without using paints, you can also paint water with a small brush on top of the marker. Sharpies or other permanent markers can also work to add color.
Model Magic will dry after 24 hours but will not be as hard as other air dry clays. It will continue to be airy and spongy even when it is dry. Model Magic air dries and hardens over time, but it may take longer to dry than other air-dry clays and may be more prone to cracking if it is not handled with care during the drying process.
We do not recommend painting your sculpture for at least 24-48 hours after if has been made. Children also need to be very careful when painting to not break off their sculpture parts.
If part of the sculpture breaks, you can try to use regular glue or low-temperature hot glue to reattach the missing parts.
Looking for more easy sculpture ideas? Check out our easy pinch pot flower art project for kids.
Other Art Lessons For Second Graders and Up
- Heather Galler Inspired Art Lesson (A landscape art project that glows in the dark)
- Clay Pinch Pot Ideas For All Ages
Children absolutely love how unique each sculpture is and adults love how easy this food sculpture art project can be!
If you like this easy tutorial, be sure to give us 5 stars below 🤩🤩🤩🤩🤩 and have fun being creative with your family.
Model Magic Food Sculpture Art Project
- Small Paint Brushes
- Have children draw at least 3 sketches of what they would like to create a sculpture of.
- Each child will need a 1-ounce pack of model magic and a toothpick.
- Open the package so that the silver part is completely open and use a sharpie to write their name.
- Build a food sculpture of their choice. Encourage kids to only make 1-3 items out of the pack. If they end up making more, the sculptures are too small.
- Use the toothpick to help add texture or sculpt their small model magic sculpture.
- Let dry overnight.
- Use a watercolor paint palette or tempera paint and a small brush to paint the sculpture.
- Design plate with a sharpie. See directions on how to help make radial designs on the plate above.
- Use hot glue or Glue-All to attach the food sculpture to the plate.
- You can spray sculptures (before attaching them to the plate) with Mod Podge Clear Coat for extra shine and protection.
- If you are doing this with younger children, I would let them design the plate however they want in black and white. You can still encourage them to create variety by coloring in and around the shapes.