Cut and Paste

Make a sunset box

Inspired by J.M.W. Turner, make your own magical landscape with a real sunset effect

The idea

Kid looking into the sunset box he has made

You are going to make a sunset box – a landscape in a box with a real looking sunset! You will have to choose a landscape you want to create. It can either be a landscape that you have seen, or you can use your imagination and create any sort of landscape you like. It could even be a landscape from another world if you want!

Joseph Mallord William Turner, ‘The Scarlet Sunset’ c.1830–40
Joseph Mallord William Turner
The Scarlet Sunset c.1830–40
Tate

The idea for a sunset box is inspired by the artist J.M.W. Turner. He created spectacular landscapes. He was fascinated by light and many of his paintings show the way he used paint to capture light. His glowing sunsets are famous.

What you need

  • A shoe box or similar sized box.
  • Pieces of card, tissue paper, coloured paper, various bits of fabric – you can use scraps, you don’t need whole sheets of card or paper etc.
  • Some coloured cellophane if you can find it – it is worth looking for! Try finding two or three different colours.
  • A torch, glue, sticky tape and something to make holes in the box.

Do it!

Kid with his sunset box
Kid with his sunset box
Kid with his sunset box
Kid with his sunset box
Kid with her sunset box
Kid with sunset box
  • Carefully make two holes in the box, one at one end and the other in the top.
  • Create your own 3D landscape inside your box. Be as imaginative as you like. Remember your landscape must stand upright inside the box.
  • Shine the torch through the hole at one end of the box and look at your landscape through the other end.
  • If you found some cellophane try shining the torch through the different colours into the box to see the different atmospheres you can create

Top Tips!

Joseph Mallord William Turner, ‘Sunrise with Sea Monsters’ c.1845
Joseph Mallord William Turner
Sunrise with Sea Monsters c.1845
Tate
Joseph Mallord William Turner, ‘Snow Storm: Hannibal and his Army Crossing the Alps’ exhibited 1812
Joseph Mallord William Turner
Snow Storm: Hannibal and his Army Crossing the Alps exhibited 1812
Tate
Joseph Mallord William Turner, ‘Norham Castle, Sunrise’ c.1845
Joseph Mallord William Turner
Norham Castle, Sunrise c.1845
Tate
Joseph Mallord William Turner, ‘The Lake, Petworth, Sunset; Sample Study’ c.1827–8
Joseph Mallord William Turner
The Lake, Petworth, Sunset; Sample Study c.1827–8
Tate
Joseph Mallord William Turner, ‘Queen Mab’s Cave’ exhibited 1846
Joseph Mallord William Turner
Queen Mab’s Cave exhibited 1846
Tate
  • Look at the landscapes Turner painted before you start. Can you see how he used light to create different atmospheres?
  • How do the different atmospheres in Turner’s paintings make you feel when you look at them?
  • What can you see in Turner’s landscapes? How does he paint objects?
  • Would you like to create something similar in your own landscape?
  • Can you imagine what a landscape on another planet might be like? What sort of light might you find there?
  • How do the different colours of cellophane change the atmosphere in your landscape? Could you make up a story to go with the mood of your landscape?
  • What title would you give your landscape?

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