Grade Level

9-10, 11-12




Cardboard, cardboard, wire, scissors, glue (yahoo liquid glue), masking tape, steampunk embellishments found, scavenged, or bought (you can buy in bulk at Amazon (link 1, link 2), plaster bandage OR paper mache (wallpaper paste or glue/flour mixture), bowls, gesso, newspaper, brushes, variety of acrylic paint colors, including metallic.


Mixed media

Lesson Objectives

Using Steampunk as your inspiration, the student will create a sculpture
Using various materials, the student will create an armature in order to decorate and embellish in a steampunk style.

Introductory Activity

Use the slide show, found in the resource section of this lesson, to introduce students to the steampunk genre. “Steampunk is an art, fashion, and culture movement inspired by the industrial revolution. A form of nostalgic futurism, steampunk imagines a future where technology never expanded past steam engines and tesla coils.”

Explain what an armature is in sculpture. Look at some armature examples, how they are built, and their purpose in creating sculptures.

Lesson Process

Show students the teacher demo video, An Introduction to Steampunk, found in the Resources for this lesson. This video shows the construction of the armature and the application of plaster gauze. Nest, one to three layers of gesso is applied to the structure. After the gesso layers are dried, you can apply a base color and steampunk embellishments. Cover more embellishments followed by color. Apply a metallic acrylic and experiment with paint applications to achieve depth, detail, and a feeling of antiquity.

Once students understand the process, they can begin researching and sketching three potential designs which can be functional or decorative. Students must have sketches that show how the armature will be built. Then students start building. As it is a messy process, adequately cover tables as needed.


armature, assemblage, paper mâché, steampunk


Steampunk Sculpture Presentation
Teacher demo, An Introduction to Steampunk
Example of a wire armature
Example of balloons for an armature
Example of wire and mesh armature
Steampunk artist Igor Verniy

Author & Website/Blog

Jules White, with examples created by the students of Hong Kong International School

Supporting Images