Activity: Make Art from Everyday Packaging

  • Grades: All Ages
  • Subjects: Art Activities

Robert Rauschenberg is known for his “Combines,” which were made using combinations of traditional artistic materials, painting and sculpture techniques, and ordinary things from daily life. Take a close look at Rauchenberg’s Goat Chow and use it as inspiration to make your own art from everyday packaging.

Packaging for Goat Chow is featured in a screen-printed artwork. The packaging is torn open and covered with checkered tape and illustrations of four goats.
Robert Rauschenberg, Goat Chow, 1977, Carnegie Museum of Art

Discuss with These Questions:

  • What imagery can you recognize?
  • What colors and patterns do you notice in the artwork?
  • Read the words that you see aloud.
  • Based on the details you’ve noticed, what do you think this package was used for? What do you see that makes you say that?

Get Creative: Make Art from Packaging

Now it’s your turn to make something from everyday packaging. Look through the items in your house and find some fun packages to use (cereal boxes, delivery boxes, chip bags, etc.). Make sure you have scissors, glue, tape, or thread handy to assemble your creation! Make sure you have an adult’s permission before you cut or tear any packaging.

  1. Look through the items that you found and find an empty piece of packaging that is visually interesting to you. What about it stands out to you? Is it the color? The font? The shape? The texture?
  2. Look at Goat Chow again. Rauschenberg purposely flattened this package to focus on the areas that he found interesting. What parts do you find the most interesting? Cut the package open so that you have a larger piece of packaging to work with.
  3. Cut interesting parts from the other materials you found and layer them on top of your first package.
  4. Try different arrangements until you are pleased. Once you like your composition, glue, sew, or tape it together. How do your additions impact the design of the original package?