Introduction: Tubular Art

Need some art to adorn your walls? How about a modern art assemblage. This is an easily reproduced work surprisingly simple to accomplish. The ingredients are humble paper towel and wrapping paper cores along with some corrugated cardboard, assembled on a box, glued and painted. Four easy steps. Let's get started.

Step 1: Gather Cardboard, Supplies and Tools

1. I don't use a lot of paper towels. So I asked friends to save their paper towel cores for me. I ended up with a core from gift wrap after Christmas and I got 3 commercial paper towel cores from work. I counted 13 cardboard cores in this project.

2. I tore a flap off a large corrugated cardboard box

3. Large bottle of white all purpose glue

4. Wet hand towels to wipe fingertips and spot clean drips and drops

5. A box to mount your tube assemblage. I used a box from a large game set I purchased at the thrift store it happened to be the right size for my project. Any sturdy cardboard box or lightweight wood box will do as long as you like the size with your piece.

6. Acrylic craft paints. I used matt and metallic colors. Limit your palate to 5 or 6 colors.

7. An acrylic artists paint brush. I used a half inch wide square tip brush.

8. Newspaper or cut down grocery bag to protect your work surface and make clean up much easier.

9. A plate for paints.

Step 2: Designing and Gluing

1. Lay the box on your work surface so the solid side is facing up.

2. Lay out your cardboard tubes on top of the box.

3. Move the tubes up or down to create your design. Use an imaginary irregular diamond pattern for placement of the ends of the tubes. This will help your design be more pleasing to the eye. Try not to line the tubes up like soldiers. Some tubes should stick out beyond the box on both ends.

4. Tear off the surface of the corrugated cardboard so the corrugation is exposed. Make several sizes to use with the exposed corrugation running horizontal and vertical for the design.

(refer to the photos for examples for design and layout)

5. Open your white glue. I took the cap off. I slung glue back and forth right to left making thin and thick lines allowing the glue to puddle and drip. The more passes with the glue the more puddles and lines across the tubes. Don't be afraid to scoop up big puddles of glue with your corrugated cardboard using the excess glue to stick down the pieces of corrugated card board. The glue will dry lumpy and make ridges adding to the surface texture.

6. Let it dry. I positioned a utility heater with a fan a safe distance from the piece to dry the glue. Check the pieces to make sure they are attaching to each other and the mounting box. Make sure you get good glue adhesion between the pieces.

Step 3: Painting

1. Assemble the selection of acrylic craft paints, brush and plate.

2. Start by squirting out a good amount of one or two colors. Don't be tempted to try to dump all the colors out at one time acrylic paint will dry up too fast.

(see photo)

3. Start with matt colors first. Cover the tubes, the areas between the tubes that can be seen, the inside ends of the tubes and the corrugated cardboard with a good coat. Use a dry brush technique to highlight the texture ridges left by the dried and puddled glue.

4. Finish with the metallic colors to highlight and emphasize the shapes and surfaces of this modern work of art.

5. Take a break, go get a drink of water, come back, and check your work over again before you put up your paints.

6. Acrylic paint clean up is easily accomplished with a warm soap and water wash then rinse until the water runs clear.

7. Let the paint dry completely.

Step 4: Hang It

Use your favorite picture mounting hardware to hang your artwork on the wall, step back and enjoy.

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