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#CBfromHome Activity: 3D Paper Homes

This week’s #CBfromHome art activity is inspired by R. Buckminster Fuller’s architectural structure, Fly’s Eye Dome, located on the North Lawn at Crystal Bridges. Learn more about this 3D structure, then do an artmaking project to create your own 3D home!


Look Closer at R. Buckminster Fuller’s Fly’s Eye Dome:

Fly's Eye Dome, R. Buckminster Fuller, 1961 fabricated ca. 1980, 38 × 50 × 50ft. (1158.2 × 1524 × 1524 cm), Fiberglass-reinforced polyester.

Fly’s Eye Dome, R. Buckminster Fuller, 1961 fabricated ca. 1980, 38 × 50 × 50ft. (1158.2 × 1524 × 1524 cm), Fiberglass-reinforced polyester.

  • Imagine if this dome could be any object or creature. How would you describe it to someone who has never seen it? What do you see that makes you say that?
  • As an environmentalist, R. Buckminster Fuller used lightweight fiberglass on the dome because it was affordable to ship and uses less energy to build homes. He also imagined future homes would have solar panels and water collection systems, allowing the dome to be self-sustaining. Think about our relationship with the environment. What are ways in which humans impact the natural world?
  • The dome was inspired by an up-close picture of a fly in a ‘60s newspaper Buckminster Fuller read. If you could design a home out of an animal or plant in nature, what would it look like?


Activity: Create Your Own 3D Paper Home


  • Cardboard base (to glue your home) and extra cardboard pieces
  • Variety of different papers (construction paper, newspaper, magazines, etc.)
  • Recycled materials (toilet paper rolls, cereal boxes, plastic cups, etc) 
  • Glue
  • Tape
  • Scissors 
  • Coloring materials 



Step 1: Think about what you want your home to look like. Write or draw all of the features you want your house to have. 

Step 2: Start designing your home using a variety of different papers and recycled materials. Cut up your paper into different shapes and designs. Try bending, rolling, curling, or fringing your paper. You can also glue paper directly to your recycled materials. 

Step 3: Find unique ways to make your paper home pop up from your cardboard base. Glue or tape down your paper and recycled pieces to your cardboard base. 


Try some of these 3D paper-folding techniques:



Your finished 3D Home might look something like this:




Book Recommendations:

Want to learn more about architectural structures? Here are some books we recommend for further learning!


Have fun!


Written by Kim Ly, art instructor, Crystal Bridges.


Special thanks to our sponsors:

Youth and Family programming is supported in part by AMP Sign & Banner, Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services, Juan, Marcy and Joaquin Camacho, The Coca-Cola Company, iHeart Media, JTH Productions, Northwest Arkansas Naturals, Pinnacle Car Services, Procter & Gamble, Gordon and Carole Segal, The Simmons Family Fund, and ViacomCBS Consumer Products.

Education and Learning is supported in part by Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation, Walton Family Foundation, The Northern Trust Company, Pamela and Wayne Garrison, Doug and Shelley McMillon, Jack and Melba Shewmaker Family, Neff and Scarlett Basore, Galen and Debi Havner, Lance and Sharon Beshore, Cardinal Four Foundation, Colgate-Palmolive Company, Harry Cornell, Cox Communications, Dorothy Hurt, J.M. Smucker Company, Kimberly-Clark, Nice-Pak Products, Inc., The Russell Berrie Foundation, Stephen and Claudia Strange, Felix and Margaret Wright.