Contact Paper Recycled Sculpture

The girls worked for a long time together on this collaborative project in the garden yesterday, using only contact paper (sticky back plastic) and a collection of recycled materials from around the house!

First, I unpeeled a large piece of contact paper and stuck it to the window, sticky side facing out, using sellotape to attach the edges. This was definitely trickier than I imagined it would be!

Then we went around on a recycled scavenger hunt using a little trolley to gather our bounty! I chopped up some cardboard tubes and coloured straws into various lengths and snipped pieces of ribbon. The girls both had lots of fun tearing and ripping at textured papers and old paintings, and scrunched up cellophane and corrugated card. There was almost as much fun at this stage as at the next!

And I even let them open up my button jar and help themselves (insert shocked face here!) Cakie was absolutely enamoured by the shapes and sizes and designs on the buttons and spent a long time arranging them onto the sticky paper, taking them off and putting them back, talking about them and counting them.

Little Pop was able to join in really easily as there is no skill needed to stick in this way! She, of course, just LOVED putting bits on then pulling them off again. Perfect activity for this age when little minds are beginning to discover more about cause and effect  and starting to wonder “what if I do this…?”

Working together (and trying to remain patient with a semi-destructive little sister) was a good opportunity to practise some collaborative skills.

The finished result was pretty spectacular! Deciding what to do with it is our problem! Any ideas?

This activity is good for:
* Creativity: working on a LARGE scale/ exploring texture/ talking about sculpture and collage
* PHSE: working collaboratively
* Cognitive: questioning/ open ended thinking/ discovering cause and effect/ investigating
* Sensory: exploring texture using all of the senses
* Literacy: language development by describing how things looks and feel
* Science/ knowledge and understanding of the world: sticky surfaces/ building/ construction/ materials
*Maths: talking about 2D and 3D shapes/ lengths/ sizes


  1. says

    Where do you get contact paper? I used it a lot in the US, but I’ve never seen it here in the UK. Maybe I haven’t looked in the right places? : ) Neat project! Sorry, I don’t have any ideas of what to do with it–that would be my problem, too, if I had my kids do this. It’s still pretty, though, and I’m sure it was a lot of fun for them.

  2. says

    Could you cover it with another piece of contact paper the same size, punch holes in it, thread ribbon/string through and hang it up? – nice!

  3. says

    How funny – it’s obviously been a sticky-back plastic kind of a week! I just ordered us some from ebay, and we used it for the first time. We did our own version of this:
    but without the cardboard box element. We just collected stuff on a walk to the swings and my eldest stuck it down. It looks fab up at the window. The flowers are going a bit mushy now, but the feathers look AMAZING encased in plastic – a layer each side. I reckon next time we’ll just go on a feather hunt, or maybe I’ll stop binning all the ‘fevvers’ she gives me when we’re out, and we’ll do a full-on feather picture.

  4. says

    PS I think your collage looks amazing. If my girls had done that I’d a) be very proud and b) stick it up on the wall, as is, in one of their rooms.

  5. says

    What a fantastic and fun idea ! It looks great :-)

    Debbie re where to find it in the UK, try Wilkinsons (Wilko) they usually have clear as well as lots of coloured/patterned sticky back plastic. The Works sometimes stocks it as does Homebase. hope that helps.

  6. says

    Debbie, I got this in a £1 shop but you can get it in any stationers eg WHSMith, Staple, Ryman’s etc. Hope that helps! (it’s mainly called tacky back or sticky back plastic here.)

    Sarah that’s a really good idea and I would do it if it was a flat collage, but it really does stick out quite a bit with the yoghurt pots on it! ha!

    Rachel T- I absolutely loved Jean’s post about that art box! it was part of our box challenge a couple of weeks ago. I really want to do one too! I think it sounds lovely simplified the way you have done it too- especially love that you collected the bits when out and about. We have laminated things before and they seem to keep quite well and look very pretty!
    I think I may try and transfer t to their room, but may just photograph it in the end- see how it goes!

  7. says

    Fabulous play! I would spray paint it and all the goodies on it one color and put a frame around it on the wall- something that’s both art and one color to match the decor in the room!

  8. says

    What a fabulous masterpiece. You could also use it to play eye spy with colours. I spy with my little eye something (insert any colour or even a shape).

    We also have the same situation with a semi-destrucitve one year old :)

  9. says

    I just spent an hour or so “ooh-ing” and “awe-ing” at your blog! This is definitely my new favorite! I am your newest follower!

  10. Anonymous says

    Grandma and Grandad tried this with 22mth grandson. It was a real challenge but we laughed. Grandad placed a pom pom on it, grandson wanted the pom pom so went to retrieve it, got stuck on the contact paper and consequently pulled it all down trying to get unstuck.Fun but not quite the same finished collage as you got.