How to sculpt 3D thoughts by hand

This is a guide to sculpting thoughts by hand.

Sculpting thoughts by hand is a quick and easy way to explore how to describe thoughts as visible things.

For this activity you will need Plastercine, Play-doh or clay.

Make a list of different types of thoughts, if you would like to read a guide that gives ideas for naming thoughts, then click here.

Here are some examples.

Sad blue memory
Sad blue memory


A guilty feeling


To start choose one of the thoughts on your list.

Imagine that the thought is floating out in front of you now and that you can see it.

If you are using different coloured modeling clay then try to imagine what colour that thought would be.

Pick up a piece of modelling clay that is the same colour as your thought, take it into your hand and start to soften it.

Try to imagine that the modelling clay in your hands actually is the thought that you are thinking of.

Think about what kind of shape that thought might be, would it be rounded or spiky? Symmetrical or irregular? Geometric or organic?

Create a set of different shapes for your thoughts.

Once you have a varied set of different thoughts play around with them.

Sort them into different groups.

Play at flying them around or have them move around on a table.

Try to imagine how they might appear if they weren’t made of modelling clay, how they would move around the room and how they would behave differently around different people and around each other.


You can add words or picture content to your thoughts by cutting our card or white board material writing or drawing something about the thought and sticking it on as shown below.

Sad blue memory with words
Sad blue memory with the words “I have to go home.”


bored feeling
A bored feeling “I’m sick of forms.”

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