Saturday, January 19, 2013

Stained Glass Projects with 6th Grade

One of my favorite projects in school was creating a "stained glass" window using tissue paper and plexiglass.  When I start this lesson, I tie it into Medieval art and the history of stained glass windows

There are many variations to this project since cost can be an issue.  I've tried this out with my after school art projects using the 12" x 12" plexiglass squares ordered from Nasco or Dick Blick.  When I teach this to my entire 6th grade, I use 11" x 14" Graphix clear plastic sheets from Nasco.

Since the plexiglass can be pricy (almost $4.00 a sheet), I've created a project on Dick Blick's Art Room Aid site to ask for donations to fund the project for my entire 6th grade (5 classes total, around 25-30 students per class).  To visit the project, click here.

There are two ways I create the project.  The first way is with the plexiglass.  Here are the materials you need:

-12"x12" plexiglass
-12"x12" white paper
-Various colors of tissue paper, preferably non-bleeding
-Mod Podge, Glossy, mixed with a little water
-Black Glue (I use india ink mixed with a gallon of Elmer's Glue-All)
-Paint brush
-A volunteer parent or amazing spouse to drill holes in the corners

I started by having students draw a picture on the white paper with pencils.  Make sure you tell them not to create an over-detailed image, unless they plan to spend hours on their glass!  After their drawing is complete, place the plexiglass on top of the drawing and trace that drawing on the glass with black glue.  Let dry.

In the next few classes, have students turn the plexiglass over, and using the mod podge and water, coat an area with the glue and cover with desired color of tissue paper.  Once complete, the "stained glass" window is ready to hang with some fishing wire and drilled holes in the corners!  My amazing husband brought his drill press to work to show my students how he drilled the holes, but you can find ways to have that step done beforehand.

The project I've doing the past few years with y 100+ 6th grade students has been made with the Graphix 11"x14" plastic sheets instead of plexiglass.  With the size of the class, I've had to change a few details in the lesson.  Here's the materials:

-12"x18" white paper
-11"x14" Graphix clear plastic sheets
-Various colors of tissue paper
-Mod podge gloss (mixed with a little bit of water)
-Paint brush
-Black glue (I use india ink mixed with a gallon of Elmer's Glue-All)
-Strips of black paper
-masking tape
-Thick black markers

Like the previous project, I start with white paper.  I also give my students the plastic sheets to measure the size of their drawing on the white paper (marking the corners to size their drawing).  With the large amount of students and lack of time, I tell my students to choose a simple image, like a basketball or moon.  After the students finish their drawing, I tell them to trace it with black marker and tape the corners of the plastic to the white paper.

With the plastic taped to the paper, I do the opposite with this project from the plexiglass: I start with the tissue paper first instead of the black glue.  I show the students how to first paint the mod podge on the plastic, then to cover the plastic with their desired colors.  After a few class periods, they cover the entire plastic.  Once the tissue and mod podge is dry, I then have the students trace their plastic on top with the black glue.  After drying is complete all around, I have student volunteers help me to frame all the plastic sheets with black strips of paper before I display them in the glass windows.  I do not see the colors fading on the tissue paper, which makes the student projects more memorable!

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