"Junk" Boxes

Here’s a fun suggestion for a recycled sculpture that you can make from things you have around the house. And, you don’t have to be an artist to do it! My art teacher, Ms. Robyn Corum, created this project for our class inspired by Louise Nevelson, one of the most important American sculptors of the 20th century. Known for her abstract expressionist crates, she used items that she found or that were about to be thrown away. According to Ms. Nevelson, “When you put together things that other people have thrown out, you’re really bringing them to life – a spiritual life that surpasses the life for which they were originally created.” (for more on Louise Nevelson visit louisenevelsonfoundation.org). And, you’re also helping our planet by reusing these items rather than tossing them out. Now that’s my idea of a perfect cold winter day project. To make the Louise Nevelson “Junk Box”, look around the house for old toys, paper clips, nails, balls, hair clips – you name it, if it fits in a box, you can use it! You can even create a theme that says something about you like zoo animals, sports or dolls. See photos from my classmates’ junk boxes to get some good ideas.


  • Lots of “stuff” from around the house.
  • A box, can be a small present box up to shoebox and you can use more than one box
  • Glue (a tough glue like Gorilla Glue for heavy objects)
  • Glue gun
  • Nontoxic paint or spray paint
  • Newspaper


  1. Arrange the junk objects in a way you think looks nice in the box, then use the glue or glue gun to stick them in place. Allow to dry completely, several hours to overnight.
  2. Cover a surface with newspaper and place the box on top. Decorate the outside of the box evenly with the nontoxic paint or spray paint, and allow to dry completely.