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A British Cardboard Baking Show Challenge!

Updated: Jan 24, 2022

“Let’s Bake People!”

Middle School, High School or Homeschool Art lesson:

For The British Baking Show enthusiasts who want to enjoy the "Art" of baking.

My recipe to begin an art lesson or unit in cardboard cupcakes.

A British Cardboard Baking Show Challenge!


1- Students will design and create three unique paper and cardboard cupcakes. Presentation will include a cake platter or stand. (Two fantastic school custodians brought us piles and a large bin of cardboard. We used glue guns, scissors and box cutters.)

2- Students will create a paper bag hat for the unit end party. (See hat lesson here soon.)

3- Students will create a cardboard sculpture of their choice. (Or a self-portrait or a famous person bust out of cardboard.)

4- Students will draw a decorated cake.

5- Judging party: Students will connect and critique each other’s work with a positive focus. Make a fun comment. Or use TAG: Tell an artist something you like. Ask an artist a question. Give an artist a suggestion.

  • Watch a few fun videos!

  • The British Baking Show: episode with sculpture cakes is very fun . Here is a link to a montage of funny moments. It is 10 minutes. Full episodes are available on Netflix.

  • There is a fabulous Paul Hollywood video about how he began baking and how he started out as an art student in sculpture. Link

I was reminded to post this wonderful lesson when I popped in to our favorite local bakery. My artist friend who used to work at the art store now works at the bakery. We briefly caught up which reminded me that I had not posted about my fabulous adventure of being an art teacher for the first six weeks of school and how my art class turned into a very fun adventure with a theme of The British Baking Show.

The fun of being a substitute is not having to do any lesson plans, but at the beginning of the school year with no teacher and three days notice, I had the privilege of making them up. After a late night of Pinterest, I scrambled to think of what I could teach the high school Sculpture class without revealing I am such a novice. I decided to use an ample resource, cardboard. Our easy first lesson was to create a cupcake. I had no idea how long it would take. It was going way too fast so I amped it up a bit when I had a flicker of a favorite iconic phrase, “Time to bake, people. Bake!” I quickly modified my simple lesson into a unit project. This is how my art class transformed into a British Baking Show challenge!

First, I increased one cupcake to three unique cardboard cupcakes to be presented on a platter or cake plate. (preferably raised) Since I kept shouting out phrases the kids didn't understand, the next class period we watched a favorite episode of The British Baking Show. I paused the show each time they presented the desired illustrated confections. This connects to art very well. The more we watched, the more the show began to relate to art and sculpture. All along the students kept creating. One episode is about sculpted cakes of famous people. This gave me a new idea.

As some students were finishing, I added a new assignment. Since we were into the British now. I shared we will have our own judging with a tea party. So, the new week challenge was to come up with a fabulous paper bag hat!

The third challenge was a bit of “bust.” I was quite excited about the judging and thought that a bust of Paul Hollywood, the host of the British Baking Show would be so much fun. So, I started the students on a challenge to create a bust of a famous person. Although, the students were tired of my challenges and they wanted to create their own sculptures. So I let them come up with their own sculpture for the end of the four to five week unit. A cat, a sheep, a large soup can, a park, a tea cup, are a few of the student creations. One fun video I found was about Paul Hollywood and how he got started as a baking talk show host. It was perfect! He actually got started as an art student in sculpture before taking on the family business of baking. I can't believe how it all came together so well. Here is a link to the video I shared. “Here

Teaching creativity is an absolute blast! Giving a projected idea or medium and watching creative minds of students was a great way to begin the year. Not to mention your own freedom of standing with a favorite icon like Paul Hollywood. I started with the bust of Paul Hollywood but then I really wanted him life-size. A student challenge me the next day, when she said I would never get it to stand and I should just hang it from the ceiling. Besides showing students how to create big, I didn’t want them to see me give up so easily on a creative project. So, I got it to stand. I wanted him to lean into the table and take a look at the cardboard created confections. It was a party in my head that I wanted to come true. His added blue eyes were also a request from a student. Who insisted I make them like the color of his real eyes.

The final judging party included creative paper bag hats, cupcakes and tea to go with our cardboard creations and real cupcakes too. Students also drew and designed a cake. They judged each others' cupcake creations giving accolades for the best “tiny cupcakes” or the best "colorful cupcakes", or the best "detailed", or the "most creative frosting", the best "platter display", the "most comic-able", etc. etc. I gave extra points for anyone sharing with a British accent or a phrase from The British Baking Show. It was a fabulously fun unit and I hope you can use some of it or all in your own classroom or homeschool art study.

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