Deco Dream City

Now you and your friends and family can have fun exploring Art Deco architecture and design while creating your own Deco Dream City together, even when you can't be with one another.

 

This activity is broken into 4 helpful sections. If you wish to jump ahead, to one of the later sections, simply click the round image for that section below. If you don't want to jump ahead, feel free to scroll down to see all of the information, suggested arts and crafts materials, video demonstrations, and more!

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Before You Begin

Before you jump into making Art Deco buildings for your Deco Dream City, let's look at the suggested materials that can be used to make your very own Art Deco building.

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Exploring What Makes a Building Art Deco

Let's take a look at the special features, materials, colors, designs, and shapes that make New York's world-famous buildings Art Deco.

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Making Your Own Art Deco Buildings

Check out the 4 video examples that each show a different artistic method that you can use to make your own Art Deco building

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Making Your Deco Dream City

See how you can combine all of the Art Deco buildings made by you, your friends, and your family to make your Deco Dream City.

 
Section 1: Before You Begin

Before you jump into making your Art Deco buildings for your Deco Dream City, let's take a look at a brief video that gives you an overview of the Deco Dream City project and suggests some materials you can use to make your very own Art Deco building. These ideas, materials, and supplies are just a suggestion, you can use whatever you have to create your own Art Deco building, you don't need to go purchase anything new.

To view the video click the play button in the middle of the video title page below. To view the video in full screen, click the four corner icon in the bottom right corner of the video. Runtime: 7 minutes, 6 seconds.

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Suggested Materials and Supplies:

You don't have to have all of the materials and supplies listed below to make your Art Deco building. These are just some of the materials that we will use in our video examples. Feel free to use other arts and crafts materials that you may have. Just remember to be creative, there is no right or wrong answer!

  • Printed building template(s) (shown to the right) that you can modify however you choose, or you can use drawing paper if you'd prefer to draw your own building

  • Coloring supplies such as pencils, markers, crayons, pastels, pens, and/or whatever materials you like to use when you draw and color

  • Colored construction paper, wrapping paper, old magazines or newspapers, and/or whatever collage materials strike your fancy

  • Scissors

  • A ruler or straight edge to help draw straight lines, Art Deco patterns, and/or geometric shapes

  • Liquid glue, a glue stick, and/or clear tape

  • Materials that sparkle, like loose glitter, glitter tape, glitter glue, rhinestones, or even extra buttons

  • Shiny materials like aluminum foil, chewing gum wrappers, or metallic foil papers

  • If you choose to make a 3-D building, you can use any empty box or carton waiting to be recycled, such as cereal boxes, shipping boxes, milk or egg cartons, even empty paper towel or toilet paper tubes. Really anything will work

Again, it’s totally up to you-––any sort of arts and crafts or clean recycled material will help you create your Deco Dream City!

Downloadable Materials​

Click the image below to open a full-size, printable PDF of your template

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Section 2: Exploring What Makes a New York Building Art Deco

Now that you have an idea which materials you may want to use to make your Art Deco building, let's take a quick look at the special features that make a New York City building Art Deco. The video below shows the Art Deco design features used in world-famous buildings like the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, and so many more. To view the video click the play button in the middle of the video title page below. To view the video in full screen, click the four corner icon in the bottom right corner of the video. Runtime: 5 minutes, 56 seconds.

Want More Detail on What Makes a New York Building Art Deco?

If you'd like more information on what makes a New York City building Art Deco, you can watch our videos on the Structure and Design of New York's Art Deco buildings below. But, if you want to get start creating your own Art Deco building right away, you don't have to watch these videos. Just scroll down, below the Structure and Design videos, to see examples showing different artistic method you can use to create your Art Deco building.

 

These Structure and Design videos are just a bonus for people who want to learn more about the special features of Art Deco buildings. To view the videos, click the play button in the middle of the video title page below. To view the videos in full screen, click the four corner icon in the bottom right corner of the video.

Part One: Structure

This engaging video, from our Documenting Deco educational program, provides an in-depth look at the most easily identifiable structural features of Art Deco architecture. Runtime: 16 minutes, 28 seconds

Part Two: Design

This visually exciting video, from our Documenting Deco in-school program, highlights the many design elements and materials that are used in Art Deco architecture. Runtime: 20 minutes, 47 seconds

 
Section 3: Making Your Own Art Deco Buildings

Now that you have gathered your materials and know what makes a New York building Art Deco, let's look at 4 examples that each use a different artistic method to create Art Deco buildings that will make up your Dream City. Click one of the examples below to be taken to that specific video. Or, you can scroll down and view each of the 4 video examples. These videos are not step-by-step how-to tutorials, they are just examples meant to inspire you! Remember, it’s your Deco Dream City and your building, so you can design and decorate it however you wish.

 
Drawing and Coloring Your Art Deco Building

The below video includes some inspiration for drawing and coloring your Art Deco building using one of our templates. Click here if you'd like to choose and print one of the templates we’ve provided. Or, if you prefer to draw your own building instead of using one of our templates, please do! This video is not a step-by-step how-to tutorial, it’s just an example meant to inspire you! You are making your own building, so decorate it however you wish.

To view the Drawing and Coloring video, click the play button in the middle of the video title page below. To view the video in full screen, click the four corner icon in the bottom right corner of the video. Runtime: 9 minutes, 24 seconds.

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Collaging Your Art Deco Building

A collage is a piece of art made by sticking various different materials such as pieces of paper, photographs, or fabric on to a backing. The below video includes some inspiration for using collage techniques to create your Art Deco building using one of our templates. Click here if you'd like to choose and print one of the templates we’ve provided. Or, if you prefer to draw your own building instead of using one of our templates, please do! This video is not a step-by-step how-to tutorial, it’s just an example meant to inspire you! You are making your own building, so decorate it however you wish.

To view the Collage video click the play button in the middle of the video title page below. To view the video in full screen, click the four corner icon in the bottom right corner of the video. Runtime: 8 minutes, 35 seconds.

 
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Making Your Art Deco Building 3-D

3-D stands for 3-Dimensional, and it's easiest to think of 3-D art pieces as sculptures. These 3-D artworks, unlike art on a flat piece of paper, can be seen from all sides and angles. The below video includes some inspiration for using techniques to create your 3-D Art Deco building using one of our templates and recycled materials you can easily find in your home. Click here if you'd like to choose and print one of the templates we’ve provided. Or, if you'd prefer to draw your own building designs instead of using one of our templates, please do! This video is not a step-by-step how-to tutorial, it’s just an example meant to inspire you! You are making your own building, so decorate it however you wish. This video is not a step-by-step how-to tutorial, it is just an example meant to inspire you! You can decorate your building however you wish.

To view the 3-D video click the play button in the middle of the video title page below. To view the video in full screen, click the four corner icon in the bottom right corner of the video. Runtime: 5 minutes, 23 seconds.

 
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Making Your Art Deco Building Digitally

Digital art uses a computer as part of the creative process. If you are interested in learning more about animation, graphic design, website design, or digital design when you are older, you may enjoy watching this example. If you haven't honed your computer art and design skills quite yet, that's fine, because all artists start where you are, with curiosity! The below video includes some inspiration for using digital techniques to create your Art Deco building using Adobe Photoshop and one of our templates. If you'd prefer to create your own building designs instead of using a template, please feel free! If you'd like to go back and choose and download one of our templates to your computer, click here. This video is not a step-by-step how-to tutorial, it's just an example meant to inspire you! You can decorate your building however you wish.

To view the Digital Art video click the play button in the middle of the video title page below. To view the video in full screen, click the four corner icon in the bottom right corner of the video. Runtime: 3 minutes, 55 seconds.

 
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Section 4: Making Your Deco Dream City

Now that you have created your very own Art Deco buildings, it's time to combine your buildings into a Deco Dream City! There are endless ways to put together your buildings to create your Dream City. These examples are meant to inspire you! Remember, it’s your Deco Dream City, so you can design and decorate it however you wish.

Making your Deco Dream City with Friends and Family When You're Together

If all of the Art Deco buildings that your group created are together, in one place, you can easily tape or glue them all onto one piece of poster-board or on large craft paper. You can even decorate the background to make your buildings look like they are on a street. Or, you can hang all of your Art Deco buildings on the refrigerator to make a streetscape there! Below are a few examples meant to inspire you! Remember, it’s your Dream City so you can combine your Art Deco buildings and decorate your Deco Dream City however you wish.

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Making your Deco Dream City with Friends and Family When You're Apart 

Even if you can't be with one another right now, you can still combine your Art Deco buildings into your Deco Dream City using a simple, free online tool, called Canva! We recommend watching the full Canva video below to get an idea how it works. Once you have finished watching the video, click here to be taken to the Canva website to create your own Deco Dream City. This video includes a step-by-step how-to tutorial on ways to import your buildings, along with the buildings of your friends and family, so all of the buildings can be grouped together. You will find tips on the many creative tools you can use in Canva to decorate your group’s Deco Dream City. Remember, this example is meant to inspire you; you should decorate your Deco Dream City using the colors, patterns, and words, that you like.

To view the Canva video click the play button in the middle of the video title page below. To view the video in full screen, click the four corner icon in the bottom right corner of the video. Runtime: 10 minutes, 59 second.

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We'd love to see your Deco Dream City!
If you'd like to share your creation, please email it to us at Info@ArtDeco.org.
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Acknowledgements

The Documenting Deco online program is provided with funding and support from a generous contributor in addition to:

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This program would not have happened without the assistance of many individuals who contributed their time, talents, and knowledge to make it possible. Many thanks to architect and photographer Richard Berenholtz, who inspired Documenting Deco and shares his vast experience with students participating in the program; Judith Spokony, who brings more than thirty years as a New York City educator to creating the teaching guide and student materials; television producer Pamela Kawi who has contributed her talents overseeing all our media; Damian Cavalo for videotaping Richard Berenholtz’s interview; Sandra Tansky for her careful editing and helpful suggestions; Christine Stoddard for her exceptional development and implementation of this program; and David Fuchs for his assistance.