I found a gallery of shadow sculptures. They amazed me because I didn't know how a pile of trash could have the shadow of a motorcycle or a person! I decided that I would try my own version...
Step 1: Gathering materials...
+A base of some sort. I ended up just grabbing a large cardboard box.
+Large sheet of paper/piece of cardboard/wall you don't mind drawing on.
+Something to bind the sculpture together (I personally used superglue and silicone)
+A source of light. I used a simple household lamp.
WhiteOakArt mentioned a good tip that I thought I'd share:
Hot melt glue would be my choice for an adhesive. It has nearly instant sticking power. If you are a hot melt connoisseur, like myself, you would use three different guns:
low temp: quick set, relatively safe. for light weight items. Available at craft stores, grocery stores, and department stores. This is what your preschool teacher uses.
high temp: industrial power. for heavy weight items. Will fry your skin off, so be careful. These guns are not easy to find. You must get them at a tool supply company. But they work great.
medium temp: for everything else. You can find these at any hardware store.
Or you could just use the medium temp, which is what reasonable people do.
Step 2: Sketching your shadow
I ended up deciding on something fairly simple, the shadow of a sitting cat.
First you will need to take your large piece of paper/cardboard/wall and draw a sketch of what you want in the end. Refine it until you are satisfied, but you can always make shadows outside the lines if you screw up.
If you are working with paper or cardboard, tape it up on a wall.
This is going to be the perimeter for the sculpture.
Step 3: Setting up the light
Place your light source where you would like it and mark the set-up on the base. You will need to make sure that not only you mark WHERE it is on the base but how HIGH from the base it is.
Step 4: Building the shadow
This is actually easier than you may think. All it takes is filling in the perimeter you set-up earlier!
The cereal box has been torn on purpose. You should try to stray away from doing this too often, as it tends to be considered as "cheating". If you have no other options, you can resort to this, as in small parts it can be helpful and look pretty cool.
At times the pieces of junk that you use will need to be balanced in a certain position. This means that you will need them to be glued that way. But unfortunately, not all glues are instant. So you will need to hold it in place while it dries a bit.
Step 5: Finished!
Step 6: Extra tips...
1. Clear objects help to create mid-air shadows/holes.
2. Clear objects cast nearly no shadow. You will find that clear objects do cast a partial shadow. So, do not assume that no one can see the shadow but you.
3. Don't be afraid to build outside the lines! If you think that the shadow looks better somewhere else, change it! In my sculpture, I did not like where the left ear was, so I moved it over.
4. Take a picture when you are done and show me! I'd love to see what you came up with.