Shoe Sculpture

Recycled or redesigned shoes are easy to create. Kids can create beautiful, interesting sculptures and discover that using recycled materials is fun. This art project is for students in grade 4 – 8. Volunteers can teach about alternative forms of transportation as a conservation art project. This is an easy recycled art project.


  • Shoes
  • shoelaces
  • newspaper
  • paper mache
  • pop cans
  •  paint
  • wire
  • hot glue, glue gun (adult use)
  •  scissors
  • buttons, etc.

Step 1: Brainstorm with children about how conservation ideas can be displayed. Conservation of resources means lessening our carbon “footprint” by using alternate forms of transportation. Ask children how their shoe sculpture might demonstrate they are “walking the walk”. Does their shoe shine? How will their shoe shine a light on conservation? Demonstrate shoes designed for art galleries, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ask children what they would envision in a perfect, green world in the future. Once their ideas are focused, ask them to create a shoe and mount it on a path, or the earth to teach a conservation lesson.

Step 2 – Cut out and create materials

Cut apart pop cans, juice boxes, newspaper or other recycled materials to shape a shoe. Create a wire shoe shape, a foam sandal, or a paper mache sculpture. Paint an old shoe in an artistic way or add buttons, flowers, magnets, screws, lace, feathers or other materials using hot glue. Use a hole punch to make holes in pop can pieces to tie them together. Use a leather or shoe lace to sew together pieces. Add a pedometer to keep track of steps made. Add a tape measure to measure the carbon footprint. Tape or glue other pieces as needed to create a sculpture.

Step 3 – Mounting

Show children that what they mount the sculpture on is also a statement. What is the “footprint” they want to leave on the earth? What step is this in the steps needed for creating a green world? Think outside of the shoe box, so mount the shoe on an unbalanced world. Show how people are “walking a fine line” by mounting the shoe on a tight rope. Hang the shoe by its laces to show the “hang ups” people have about recycling.

On a 4 x 6 index card, have students create a title for their shoe. For example, a paper mache shoe made of newspaper could be called “ReUsed News”. Then the art medium should be listed as well as the student’s name and grade.

Then ask the students to write on a 4 x 6 index card what they want people to learn from their recycled art project. The students should teach that conservation may mean using an alternate form of transportation, recycling and reusing materials. They may simply ask the question, “What is your carbon footprint?”

Retrieved From:

Link to Shoes in the Costume Institute within the Metropolitan Museum of Art:


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