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You will need:

  • materials from your recycling bin such as cardboard boxes, egg cartons, paper, plastic bottles and tubs, yoghurt pots and bottle tops
  • scissors
  • sticky tape and glue for fastening materials together
  • paint and paint brushes and/or crayons for decorating your pet
  • pencil or charcoal and paper (for drawing your ideas)
  • optional: googly eyes, paper plates, string, wool, pipe cleaners


Sep 1. Look closer at Cat (1983)

Look at a picture of Jane Ackroyd's sculpture Cat. If you are in a classroom, look at it as a group. What are your thoughts about the sculpture?


Cat 1983

Jane Ackroyd (b.1957)

Harlow Art Trust

  • Think of three words to describe it.
  • What do you think it is made from?
  • Do the shapes and textures remind you of anything?
  • What sort of character do you think this cat is? (Lazy, lively, funny, naughty?)
  • If this was your pet cat, what would you call it?

Step 2. Explore more artworks and animals and choose your pet

Look at more animals as inspiration and decide what sort of junk pet you would like to make.  It doesn't have to be a usual sort of pet like a cat or a dog or a hamster – it can be anything!

Is there a pet you have always dreamed of?



unknown artist

Nuneaton Museum and Art Gallery

Think about animals in your favourite books, comics or games. Or find animals in art to inspire you. 

Browse the carousel of artworks below or search Art UK by typing an animal into the search box.

Step 3. Draw your pet

A selection of drawings of 'Cat' by pupils at the three Harlow primary schools

A selection of drawings of 'Cat' by pupils at the three Harlow primary schools

Have a go at drawing your dream pet. Draw an animal from an artwork, photograph or picture. Or if you already have a dream pet at home you could draw that. You could also draw a pet from your imagination.

  • Think about the shape of its body and head.
  • Does it have a tail, or a shell, or fur or a mane… or lots of legs!
  • Does it have any patterns or colours on its body?

Use pencil, crayons or charcoal. What marks, lines and smudges can you make?

A drawing of 'Cat' made in charcoal

A drawing of 'Cat' made in charcoal

Drawing variations and development

  • Try reducing your animal to simple shapes. This will help when you make your 3D version.
  • Try drawing your animal sleeping, alert, stretched out, angry, contented, and playful. Does this give you more ideas for how your pet could look?

Tip: You could create a fantasy animal by putting two different animals together. What would a cat-ephant look like… or a cat-erpillar?!

Step 4. Make your pet

Look at your drawing and then look at the shapes of your recycled materials.

Using recycled materials to create an animal form

Using recycled materials to create an animal form

  • Are there any objects that would make a good body shape?
  • Are there any objects that could be a long nose?
  • What do your animal's legs look like? Have you got any long thin objects? (Or short fat objects!)

Use tape, string, glue or a stapler to attach your objects and materials together.

Step 5. Add finishing touches

Now that your animal is taking shape, think about its details, surface patterns and textures.

A tortoise made from junk

A tortoise made from junk

  • Could ripped-up or crumpled paper look like fur?
  • What objects could you use for eyes?
  • What could you use for whiskers?
  • What about scales or teeth?

Add your details with materials or paint.

Making a junk lion

Making a junk lion

A dragon made from junk

A dragon made from junk

Development idea: Animal adventures

Cat may look rather lazy but it has an exciting story to tell.

The sculpture was stolen from the library where it was kept and the thieves sprayed it with gold paint! Luckily, Cat was found, returned to its proper colour, and feels much more like its old self. It has a new home now in a gallery, so the story has a happy ending.

What sort of adventures might your pet get up to? Can you write a story all about them?

Children with their junk animals

Children with their junk animals

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