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Be Creative! Projects : Popcorn Art Sculptures

Plain Popcorn

Popcorn Art: What Do YOU See in the Popped Kernel?

Creative Conceptual Imaging (Starch Gazing)

Imagination PopcornBy Chris Dunmire

Inspired by Harry Kalenberg's popcorn sculptures combined with "cloud gazing" with your imagination, my popcorn art project will give your brain a creative starchy workout!

The idea here is to use popped popcorn as a basis for creating people, places, or things you "see" (think clouds!) in the form and essence of the starchy kernel. This can be done quickly with markers or paint, or turned into a digital art form after scanning popcorn into an image editing program like Photoshop and applying virtual colors, filters, or directly drawing over the picture like I've done with my dog and cat popcorn sculptures above (this way is less messy and lasts forever!).

There's no wrong way to do popcorn art, so you can totally relax and have fun with this. To scope out your options and the pros and cons between doing your art hands-on vs. on the computer, read through the entire project below and use the guidelines and tips to get you started.

Click to view Irene Anderson's Popcorn Art Gallery
Want some more ideas and inspiration for your popcorn art?
Check out Irene Anderson's Popcorn Art Gallery »

Project Materials Needed:

  • Plain popped popcorn (air-popped recommended)

Tidy Way:

  • Computer, art/design software, scanner and printer if you want to create and print electronically

Or Hands-On:

  • Felt tip markers or paint
  • Food dye (red, yellow, blue)
  • Glue
  • Paper or other structure to glue your finished popcorn sculpture to

Try It!

  1. Air pop a bowl of popcorn and spend some "stream of consciousness" moments looking at a few pieces with your imagination. Notice the overall form of each piece and take note at what "pops" into your mind. (By the way, this popcorn is not for eating — unless you can't help it, of course!)

  2. Once you have identified a possible subject, use your markers or paint (or image editing program) to apply color, texture, form, or characteristics to your subject. (Definitely don't eat any now!)

    Note: The advantage of doing this on a computer is that you are not limited to creating on the popcorn itself. The disadvantage is that you only get one perspective to work with once you've scanned in the popcorn.

    Creativity Tips: Try to create with a theme in mind. For instance, create a barnyard full of animals, a family of insects, or TV show characters. Remember, since no two pieces of popcorn are alike, you only get one chance at rendering what you see!

  3. If you've done this hands-on, allow your artwork on the popcorn to dry — and wa-la you're finished!
    Optional: To preserve your work, arrange and glue your popcorn art to paper or other suitable surface to hang or display. If you wish to keep your art indefinitely, you can use a spray lacquer preservative or clear finish found in craft stores.

What You'll Learn:

That it's okay to play with your food! And if you scan your popcorn into an image editing program, you'll quickly begin thinking of all the other "things" you can possibly scan. Be forewarned, scanning in objects for art projects is addictive!

The NEXT Creative Step...

If you liked doing popcorn art, check out Harry Kalenberg's Pop-N-Paint ® Web site to see his popcorn creations as featured on Ripley's Believe It or Not!

What else can you do with popped or un-popped popcorn and art materials? •

© Chris Dunmire 2004, 2007. All rights reserved.

About Chris Dunmire

Chris Dunmire is the founder of Creativity Portal® and a deeply engaged creative spirit More.


More by Chris Dunmire

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Fortune Cookie Messages
Treemendous Memory

Updated 12/20/13