How to Make a Wire Sculpture: Modern Line Art in 3D!

I was browsing Instagram the other day and I came across a beautiful image of a living room. But it wasn’t the room that caught my eye, it was the quirky, modern sculpture sitting on the far edge of the mantle.

It was so cool — like a 3D line drawing!

I quickly realized how easy it would be to make one for myself. So I did, and I want to share how you can make one too!

In this post, I’ll show you how to make a modern wire sculpture that looks like 3D line art. This DIY project is easy and extremely cheap to make.

I made a similar sculpture last year but it used a clay base and was more whimsical. I love how chic this freestanding version is.

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Love abstract line art? Follow this easy step-by-step tutorial on how to make your own DIY wire figure sculpture. It's the perfect touch of abstract art for styling your bookshelf or mantle!

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How to Make an Easy Wire Sculpture

To make an easy wire sculpture you simply take a roll of 10 gauge armature wire and shape it along a printed continuous line drawing. From there, you do a final shaping to allow it to stand then spray with several light coats of paint.

Materials Needed

Step 1: Draw or print a template

Draw a continous line drawing to use as a template

To make this easy style of wire sculpture, you need to start with a continuous line drawing to use as a template. You can draw one yourself or Google the term “continuous line drawing” or “single line drawing” and choose one of the images that comes up as a starting point.

Or, you can download the template I drew for this exact line art sculpture!

Start with a line art template.

Be sure to print or draw the template to the actual finished size you’re aiming for. Mine is about 9.5″ tall.

Step 2: Bend wire along the template

Trace template with the wire

Next, take your armature wire and trace it along the lines of the template, bending and shaping as you go. Perfection isn’t necessary, just do the best you can.

This is abstract art after all!

Create sharp bends with needlenose pliers

For any bends that are too sharp to easily make with your fingers, you can use a pair of long nose pliers to squeeze the wire into shape.

Try to take into consideration what parts of the figure would naturally be in the back if you were looking at it in real life.

Which leg would be in front and which would be in back?

How about the arms? Shoulders?

Once you’ve determined which parts belong in the back, be sure to guide the wire for that part behind the wire for the front parts any time the lines cross.

Wire goes in back

When you reach the end of the template, clip the armature wire with wire snips or tin snips (basically anything that cuts soft wire).

Step 3: Create a base

Pull bottom wires apart to create a base

Now that the frame of your wire sculpture is complete, you need to shape it a bit to create a base and give it more dimension. Gently pull the back and front sections apart at the bottom until the piece can stand on its own.

If you want to see the final shaping demonstrated, check out this video:

Step 4: Spray paint

Add several coats of spray paint

Now that your actual sculpture is complete, mist lightly with 2 to 3 coats of spray paint in the color of your choosing. I opted for a graphic black but this style of wire figure would also look amazing in a neon yellow for a pop of modern color or in deep russet tones for a neutral boho space.

Learn to make a wire sculpture that looks like a 3D line drawing

How amazing does this look on the mantel?? I love the organic airy shape against the aged books and sleek geo wood vase.