Get Curious Metallic masterpieces: using tin foil to build connection

Metallic masterpieces: using tin foil to build connection


One of the things I love about the work I do is that anything can inspire a new activity for workshops.

Sometimes it’ll be a phrase I hear someone say or something I see in a magazine. But this one time it was a pub quiz. And no, it wasn’t simply the idea of a quiz, it was what one of the rounds consisted of.

Let me tell you about what we did at the quiz and then I’ll tell you about my experiences of using it as a workshop activity.

Imagine me and my sister sat in a pub in Balham…. we are a team of two at the quiz (and I never do well in a quiz) but we were having fun and a few Pimms I believe. Suddenly the next round isn’t a test of our knowledge on sports or world foods but a craft challenge. Boom, THIS is where we excel.

The task is set…. each team is given a piece of kitchen foil (approx 20-30cm) and are asked to create a sculpture of a musical instrument. The best one gets the most points, obviously.

So we had a quick discussion about what instrument might lend itself well to both tin foil and winning. Our conclusion? A french horn of course. With it’s distinctive bell and it’s intricate levers and pipes, we thought we could split up the work and then assemble the pieces.

So we did. And we were pretty pleased with the results. AND WE WON! (That round at least, certainly not the quiz).

I'm sure you'll be impressed with the results ----->>>>>

Image 1 - me showing off our french horn foil sculpture!

A while later I was asked to run a session for an OD (Organisational Development) team sharing some more creative icebreaker activities they could use in their sessions. And the memory of this tin foil challenge appeared. So, along with the toilet roll, sharpies and print outs, I packed a roll of tin foil.

The challenge I set them was a little different to our pub quiz one because, well, they are an OD team and wanted to try something new so I thought I’d stretch them a little. I gave each person a 30cm piece of tin foil and asked them to create a tin foil spirit animal to represent them.

Off they went to work, creating elephants, eagles, whales and such like. They were smiling as they worked and chatting away. Clearly having fun. When the models were created, each person shared why they’d chosen their animal and what it said about them. They loved the chance to get to know each other in a way they wouldn’t normally. It felt less pressured than a ‘tell me something about yourself’ question. And they had models to pop on their desks as conversation starters with other people in the office.

I know that ‘spirit animals’ might not be the right topic for everyone, but it worked for this team. You really could pick any topic though. How about:

  • a mythical creature that shows your strengths

  • your favourite hobby

  • something from your bucket list

  • a bunch of flowers (that you could then gift to someone else)

  • an award for another member of the team/group

  • something more closely related to the topic of your workshop

The possibilities really are endless.

And it doesn’t just have to be reserved for an icebreaker either, we once used it in an organisation as a way to bring people in the office together. Everyone who wanted to join in was given a sheet of foil to create any animal of their choice during the work day (in amongst their work of course) and they were all put on display for everyone to admire. There was a judging panel of course, a disqualification and some winners. Not only did people enjoy being part of something but it gave them something to talk about for days. It really brought people together.

A tin foil spider sculpture and various other animals

Image 2 - This is an impressive spider!  Image 3 - Our array of animals, including a scorpion (the winner), an octopus, a rabbit, a fish and so many more!

Is this something you might try? What topic might you choose for the challenge?


If this kind of exercise is right up your street then check out the Toybox – it’s filled with activities and games that are filled with fun, creativity and playfulness.

Take me to the Toybox!


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