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Art teachers were STEAM-ing before STEAM was cool!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Frank Lloyd Wright Faux Stained Glass

Last week my after school class created Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired stained glass windows. I showed them a variety of his stained glass designs and then let them explore line, shape and pattern to create their own stained glass designs. They looked wonderful on the windows with the bright spring sun shining through!



Frank Lloyd Wright-Inspired Stained Glass Windows

Supplies Needed:

  • 1" Grid template, optional (more info below)
  • Clear Contact paper (2 sheets 18" x 12")
  • Black construction paper strips, some 1" wide and some 1/4" wide, 18" long
  • Additional black construction paper for circles or other non-linear shapes
  • Scotch tape
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pencil and eraser
  • Tissue paper, various colors
Directions:

1. This piece is worked from the back. I created a grid template for my students to use that had 1" squares on it. I used two sheets of 8 1/2 x 11" paper taped together. This is a nice space to work on encouraging the students to use the grid for their pieces. Some disregarded it and others really utilized it for the creation of their designs. I had each student tape a template to their desk.

2. I then had the students remove the paper film from the Contact paper and lay that on the grid template sticky side up. This is the surface on which the window will be created.

3. I had the children place 1" wide black construction paper strips around the outside of the grid gently pressing them onto the Contact paper. This creates the frame for the window.

4. I then had the children create a Wright-inspired design over the grid using 1/4" wide strips of black construction paper. This is the leading of the stained glass window. I explained that the lines can be horizontal, vertical or diagonal. Also, the intersection of the lines can make shapes such as squares, rectangles, triangles and rhombi. Circles and portions of circles could also be added.

I told them that they did not need to fill the entire window with lines and shapes (look at Wright's work) . I also kept encouraging them to take their time and plan.

A look at the pieces in progress...messy but fun!

5. Once their leading was done, I took a quick look and then demonstrated how they could add color to their piece. Some of the more geometric shapes could easily be cut from tissue. They could use the grid to help: if they had a shape that was 2 squares by 3 squares on the grid, they could cut a 2" x 3" rectangle from tissue paper. For younger students or for shapes that were trickier to cut from tissue, I suggested the children tear off pieces and just fill in the section with "bits" of tissue. The tissue easily sticks to the Contact paper. I told the children it is OK if the tissue paper extends onto the black lines a bit since this is the back of their window and that won't be seen when it's done. I suggested that the children not fill the entire piece with color since Wright often left portions of his windows clear.

6. Once the children had added all the color they wanted I adhered a second piece of Contact paper over their work creating a sandwich to seal the tissue and construction paper inside. I've done a similar project to this using just one sheet of Contact paper and it doesn't hold up as well as the "sandwich" of two pieces of Contact paper).

7. The children could then use their scissors to cut the excess Contact paper from around the piece using the outer edge of the frame as a guide.

I placed these pieces on the windows immediately so we could all enjoy the bright colors and beautiful designs!




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