3D Design: Chipboard

Art Prof Clara Lieu presents a basic 3D design project using chipboard and glue guns to construct a sculpture which is an abstract representation of the artist’s personality

Prof Lieu begins with a brainstorming activity as a starting point for generating shapes and designs that will visually show an artist’s personality.

Cutting techniques with utility knives, shaping techniques with the chipboard, and construction methods with a hot glue gun are covered in depth. 

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Video Walkthrough

  • Creating an abstract sculpture out of chipboard
  • What makes a sculpture abstract?
  • Chipboard as a sculpture material
  • Brainstorming: Personality Traits
  • Translating the two personality traits into shapes
  • Compositing the sculpture in sketches
  • Arranging the shapes to create an exciting composition
  • Thick Chipboard
  • Thin Chipboard
  • Tools & Safety: Utility knife, kevlar glove, scissors
  • Utility knife: sharpening, safe disposal of blades
  • T-Square techniques
  • Cutting with the Utility Knife and T-Square
  • Cutting techniques
  • Cutting different sizes of shapes
  • Scoring techniques 
  • Folding techniques
  • Curling chipboard
  • Composing the chipboard pieces
  • Glue guns & Safety
  • Hot glue gun techniques
  • Wall sculpture format
  • Trial & Error, Spontaneity

Prof Lieu’s Tips

Clara cartoon

Every artwork has it’s ups and downs, and I find more often than not, many people stop too soon when they aren’t getting the results they want.

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I know it’s often not fun, but it really is worth pushing through those frustrations.

Even if the artwork doesn’t end up working out well, that patience and persistence is a good skill to hone.


Utility Knives are extremely sharp and it’s really easy to cut yourself by accident!  Always wear a kevlar glove on your hand which is not holding the knife to prevent injuries.

Hot glue guns can get really hot! Be very careful not to drip any hot glue on yourself while working. Always prop the hot glue gun up so the tip is not touching any surface. 

Chipboard Sculptures, banner


“This material allowed me to expand my creativity because of its flexibility and easiness of use. I started off by sketching ideas and shapes and then I began to think of where each shape would be, or which pattern I would want to use. In this case, it was harder because we had to use two adjectives that describe us and translate them into a sculpture.

The sculpture with swirls and silly looking represents the word ‘curious.’ For ‘curious,’I decided to make it silly and kind of confusing, which the intent was to make the audience guess or wonder which word it represented!

I do not remember the adjective for the other sculpture. This sculpture was not so difficult to accomplish and what I really liked about it is the pattern I used for this sculpture. It does not have a variety of shapes unlike the other sculpture. They are completely different from one another and that is what I really like about them!”

Mica Furtado
Work by Mica Furtado

“The piece with round, curled shapes was a piece that defined my personality as being mysterious. The other spiky piece represents my curious side.”

Aleida Gomes
Work by Aleida Gomes

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