Tape Art Project and Creation Scenes

Background on Tape Art

Tape art is a whimsical method of expressive drawing which encourages people to manipulate and transform tape into a variety of lines, shapes, and figurative scenes. It is a useful tool for learning because tape art is versatile (the tape can be repositioned); it may be used collaboratively (especially useful if the scale of the drawings are life size); and tape art is site specific (ideally created in a corridor, on windows, or walls for others to experience) in order to intrigue people passing by the drawings.

Michael Townshed is the inventor of Tape Art which he started using tape as an art medium when he was an undergraduate student at the Rhode Island School of Art in 1989. Over a number of years he developed a process of experimentation with tape focusing on the scale, site, and collaborative image making in a variety on indoor and outdoor public spaces and museums. Here is an example of his work from the Worchester Art Museum.

Tape Art has inspired other artists and it’s often used for community projects.
Erica Duthie & Struan Ashby are other Tape Artists in New Zealand. Here is a good example of their work with children.

Tape Art Instructions

  • Students will imagine what their designated day of creation looked like based on the images they saw, the text they read, and their imagination.
  • Students will work in small groups to brainstorm images that they would like to put into their creation scene.
  • Each student will contribute a different part to his/her group’s creation scene. Students will tell each other what they are making in order to avoid the duplication of things in their creation scene.
  • In creating their images, students will focus on the shapes and outline of the things they want to create. Looking at sample artworks encourages students to see multiple ways to use the tape and to see examples of life size images. The tape may be used to create varied visual effects such as lines or it may be crumpled, or frayed and/or used to fill in shapes.

Tape art Zebra.jpgZebra Tape Art

In this example, students created the shape of the animals. In the bat above the zebra the students filled in the face of the bat with lots of tape. The students tore small pieces of tape to create a fringe which looks like hair on the zebra’s back.

Option 1 - Using your classroom walls, door, cabinets, school hallway, or stairwell

The reason to use walls, cabinets, doors, hallways, etc for the Tape Art project is that it creates the fun challenge of working in a life size scale. It is also likely to delightfully surprise the viewers who will see these artworks in unexpected places.

This option may prove challenging if your classroom space is limited and/or you are restricted in one you can hang on your classroom walls because the space serves a dual purpose. freedom to hang things on the walls.

Option 2 - Using Poster board
Using poster board allows for more versatility in where in the classroom the students can work to prepare this project and where it will be displayed when it is finished. Poster board is suggested because the painter’s tape easily comes off it and may not with other papers.

Since the scale of the project is much smaller on the posterbpard, it may be less engaging for the students to make. If there are more than three students in the group the teacher will need to tape two pieces of posterboard per group for their to be enough surface space for students to work.