This guide outlines some getting started ideas, materials required, and the process of making 3-dimensional portraits with things found in our surroundings.

Learning Goals

  • To be able to perceive everyday usage things in a new light, in new functionality.
  • To capture different facial expressions through the materials to unleash one’s creativity and allow them to express visually.
  • To learn how to create similarities and visual hierarchies.

Activity Resources


Materials Required

  • Black or white cloth for backdrop
  • Random things from house

Age Groups

This activity is suitable for ages 8 years & up.

Facilitation Tips

  • Demonstrate the activity with the help from a demo video and discuss with participants:
    • Whose portrait does the art represent?
    • What will you use as the background for the face?
    • What materials will you use to make facial expressions?
    • Whose portrait will you make? Will you make a self-portrait?
    • Would you be able to animate the eyes, nose and lips in the portrait?
    • How will you do so?
  • Introduce the activity using the activity guide in a PDF format and demo video.
  • You could encourage participants to collect as many small things of different materials, shapes, colors. They can also try a face portrait with just one color.
  • Ask participants to share what they learned, their making process and a narrative around the portrait they made.

Browse through the facilitator guide for tips and tricks to engage participants in maker activities in a virtual or physical learning space.

View facilitator guide

Inspiring artists

Hanoch Piven is a mixed media artist from Israel. He is well known for his celebrity caricatures made using common day-to-day objects. He has conducted educational workshops around it with children and adults all over the world. This activity itself is inspired by and based on Piven's work. Learn more about Piven on his website.

Credits: Rico Shen, CC BY-SA 3.0 >

Inspiring examples


Nikita Gandhi (Tinker fellow, Unstructured Studio)