Tate Kids



Build Your Own House

Tate Britain

The Idea

For his piece Semi-Detached the artist Michael Landy re-created a copy of the house where his dad lives. He copied it in every detail, right down to the bits of flaking paint. This work of art acts like a portrait: a portrait of his Dad as a house.

Michael Landy, Semi-Detached. Installation at Tate Britain Photo © Tate, 2004


The Plan

You are going make a house that relates to you and the sort of person you are. The style of your house and its patterns, textures and colours, will reflect your personality and things that are important to you.


You Need

  • Cardboard boxes.
  • Wallpaper, corrugated card, paint, crayons etc.
  • Material for curtains or blinds.
  • Any objects which you may want your viewers to see through the windows.
  • Scissors, glue, sticky tape, stapler etc.
  • Strong tape to make shoulder straps so you can wear your house.
  • An active imagination.

Do it!

  • Crawl inside your box to make sure it is the right size for you if you want to wear it.
  • Think about or roughly design the house you want to make. Think about the number of windows it will have, the type of bricks, roof and windows.
  • Create different textures for different parts of the house by perhaps using collages, corrugated card or textured paper.
  • Add trees or flowers to the front of your house if you like.
  • Draw people or pets or furniture which can be seen through the windows if you want to.
  • Give your house a number or a name.
  • If you want to wear your house, cut out strips of card or strong tape to make shoulder straps. Then staple or stick them onto two of the raised areas of the roof.

Top Tips

  • Try out different plans for your house in a sketch book before you start.
  • You could wear your house somewhere and tell people you are a walking work of art. Maybe you could join together with your friends and use your group of houses as an exhibition in a school assembly. You could even use the exhibition as a starting point for telling a story or a piece of drama.
See It