Friday, November 11, 2011

Fall-inspired Shoji Screens

The art from the 1500's-1700's is so wonderful and we really do begin to see the art of so many cultures starting to emerge since many nations were exploring the globe. I wanted to introduce my students to panel paintings and altarpieces this week. A couple of years ago I had my students create multi-paneled images of the saints and we used gold tissue paper to "gild" the images. The pieces were fantastic! But I felt that that was more of an advent-type of lesson, so I was hesitant to re-do that lesson (even though we had snow about 10 days ago!).
Is it a triptych? Is it a Shoji screen? Wait, it's both! And pretty, if I may say so!
This time, I wanted to get the concept of altarpieces across, but I wanted to do something a bit more Fall-inspired. I had a bucket of tissue paper squares I've been using for the past few years (I swear those pieces multiply in there by themselves!). So I thought about having students create a fall landscape, sort of like stained glass. I usually use Contact paper for my stained glass projects with the children, but didn't have any & experimented with waxed paper instead. The result was a muted Japanese-screen-looking creation. So, I was able to introduce the children to that art form as well.

This craft is inexpensive and little ones can do it with help from a grown-up and older students can customize the piece in their own way. I hope you try this craft with your family. Enjoy!

Fall Shoji Screens

Supplies Needed:

  • Black Construction Paper (Ours was 12"x18")
  • Pencils
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Construction paper for trees (we used 9"x12" pieces in black, brown and white)
  • Crayons and/or colored pencils
  • 2 12"x18" pieces of waxed paper
  • Tissue paper squares (1" squares in whatever colors you wish)
  • Iron & Pressing cloth

1. Create the frame for your triptych (3 paneled piece of artwork). Mine took up the entire 12'x18" piece of paper and had a 1" frame all around it.

2. Use the scissors to remove the "window" portions of the triptych, taking care to leave the frame intact.

3. Create your "trees." Rip black, brown and white construction paper into 1/2" strips. If you are having trouble ripping the paper, try ripping it in the other direction. Flip your frame over and use the glue sticks to attach the trees to the back of the frame. I suggested the children put a couple of trees in each of the three "windows." We used black for trees that were far away and then brown for pine trees and white for birch trees.

4. Once you are done glueing on the "trees," flip the frame over and add details to the front of your trees with the crayons and/or colored pencils. We discussed how tree bark can be bumpy or smooth and have knots on them, etc. I also reminded the students that tree trunks have shadows on them and explained that the shadows would be on the same side of all the trees.

5. Flip the frame over, so the back of the piece is facing up. Apply glue to the back of the frame and trees. Press a 12"x18" sheet of waxed paper onto the frame.

6. Working in one section at a time, apply a few lines of glue stick to the waxed paper and attach the tissue paper squares. You don't need to use a lot of glue, once you iron the waxed paper together, the tissue paper will be fused in place. Cover all of the spaces between your "trees" with the tissue paper squares.

7. Once all of your tissue paper squares are in place, place a piece of waxed paper on top of them. Using an iron set to the "polyester" setting (medium heat) and using a pressing cloth to protect your iron, gently press the piece so that the two pieces of waxed paper fuse together with the tissue paper squares in between them.

8. Use scissors to trim the excess waxed paper from around the frame. This piece looks nice in a window or with a battery-operated candle behind it. Keep it out of direct light so that the piece stays intact longer and the colors don't fade. ENJOY your fall scene!

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