Using objects that already exist to create an artwork is a great way to encourage creative thinking and can help promote discussion on what aesthetic values objects hold. Artists have been incorporating found objects into their artworks for the last hundred years or so. Picasso, for example, used old newspapers and matchboxes to create his collages. Peter Blake incorporates items found on walks and journeys into his artworks. The artist Joseph Cornell assembled found objects into boxes to create three-dimensional miniature worlds that not only gave new meaning to the objects themselves but transported the viewer into an imaginary world.


Collect a box of small found objects - a trip to the charity shop is a good place to start. You may be able to find objects around the home that are no longer needed. You can also use discarded packaging, wallpaper samples, old maps, books, or magazines. Find some small boxes (shoe boxes are ideal) and cover them with decorative paper or paint. The box should be open on one side. Now glue in some shelves to create compartments. Discuss how groups of found objects could be displayed together to create a meaningful dialogue about the story inside each box. You could place more personal objects into them if you wish and keep them in your own personal space.

Peter Blake, A Walk in the Tuileries Gardens, 2004

Peter Blake, A Walk in the Tuileries Gardens, 2004


  • Collection of used or discarded objects
  • Selection of small boxes e.g. shoeboxes
  • Cardboard
  • Masking tape
  • Assortments of papers, decorative
  • Old books, maps, magazines, wallpaper
  • Acrylic paints

Artist Inspiration: Joseph Cornell, Pablo Picasso, Peter Blake