Art and Technology

Be a 3D Designer

Make 3D digital model mash ups inspired by things you see around you, nature and sculptures

The idea

Dame Barbara Hepworth, ‘Pelagos’ 1946
Dame Barbara Hepworth
Pelagos 1946
© Bowness
Dame Barbara Hepworth, ‘Oval Sculpture (No. 2)’ 1943, cast 1958
Dame Barbara Hepworth
Oval Sculpture (No. 2) 1943, cast 1958
© Bowness

Barbara Hepworth was an artist who created amazing sculptures. She was inspired by her surroundings, by the mountains and the sea, shells and animals.

For this activity you will be thinking like Barbara Hepworth to make some 3D designs.

The plan

Photograph showing 3D printer printing a sculpture

3D printer at work. Photo taken by young people at the Hepworth Hack workshop at Late at Tate

You are going to make 3D digital models inspired by your surroundings, by nature and by sculptures.

You can use objects around you, parts of sculptures that you like or you can go outside and get drawing from nature.

Use modelling software online to design your sculpture. Then if you want, you can go and print it on a 3D printer in a Maker Space near you!

  • A computer.
  • A window open with Tinkercad. (You might need to use your parents' or guardians' email address and then they can authorise it so you can get creating!). You can use other free modelling software online too.
  • Pencil and paper.
  • Imagination (yep, turn that on!)
Dame Barbara Hepworth, ‘Genesis’ 1969
Dame Barbara Hepworth
Genesis 1969
© Bowness

Gather ideas from your surroundings.

Sketch things you see around you. Think about the shapes and lines that make up objects, furniture or other things with interesting shapes.

Go outside. Look closely at nature and draw the details that inspire you. Draw or photograph the curve of a shell or the holes in trees. Think about colours.

Young people drawing in the galleries at Tate Britain

Photograph by young people taking part in the Be a 3D Designer workshop.

Dame Barbara Hepworth, ‘Curved Form (Trevalgan)’ 1956
Dame Barbara Hepworth
Curved Form (Trevalgan) 1956
© Bowness
Dame Barbara Hepworth, ‘Garden Sculpture (Model for Meridian)’ 1958
Dame Barbara Hepworth
Garden Sculpture (Model for Meridian) 1958
© Bowness

Look at sculptures. You can see these in galleries, in parks or in town centres. Or search Tate Kids Explore.

Draw sculptures. What are the colours in sculptures? Are they different to the colours in nature?

Explore Barbara Hepworth's sculptures. Look at how she cuts out shapes from materials and how she adds shapes together.

Kids working on their 3D designs at computers

© Tate

Go onto Tinkercad. Sign up and have a go at the first few lessons until you feel comfortable with the software.

Now this is where your imagination is needed!

From your drawings, start to create a new 3D model.

Mash up your drawings with Hepworth inspired shapes and designs.

Top Tip:

Spend time on your first sculpture. Give yourself a while to develop your ideas and add details until it is a masterpiece. Then try making something in 10 minutes or 1 minute.

3D printer printing a design

© Tate

Finished making your design? Are you happy with it? Make sure you save your work. Why not explain to your friends or family what you have made and why. How different your sculpture look if it was in a gallery and if it was outside in a garden or park?

What next? Here are some ideas for things you could so with your design (and new your new designing skills):

  • Export your design to Minecraft or print a 3D version.
  • Make a landscape for your sculptures to be in. Think about if they were under water or on another planet!
  • Try making a 3D model with someone else. How does working with a partner change what you make?

More to explore