4th Grade Stained Glass (Artist Study & Creative Process)

Prior to Winter Break (when I fell off the face of the earth), 4th graders made some incredible stained glass windows.  Yes, that’s right! We studied the work of Louis Comfort Tiffany and talked about choosing the path of design as a career.  We had a great discussion about how our ideas can turn into products that sell and not only become art but also a source of income.  To begin, students brainstormed environments that they could illustrate – it could be any environment they’ve experienced and had to include some depictions of nature.

In their sketchbooks, they drew out their ideas and developed them further.  Once they had a clear plan, they drew it out on paper using lines and shapes – just like you see in stained glass. I used regular paper even though they used watercolors, you’ll find out why soon!  After they drew out their idea and had a quick refresh on using watercolors and blending, the fourth graders painted in their drawings, completely.

After they painted their entire drawing, the students outlined each shape with black permanent marker to give the impression of pieces of glass being held together.

Here comes the fun part! How do we make it look like a window?! Well, very simple – Conola Oil!! Many people can guess this is similar to the baby oil technique but as a full time teacher with next to no money, that was just too much.  So I bought a gallon of Canola Oil and wouldn’t you know, it does the exact same thing.  Students “massaged” the oil into their paper, like they would lotion into their skin until it had a translucent quality.  They would then scrap the excess oil off their work so that it would dry, or at least semi-dry for the next step.

The students LOVED this portion! 🙂  From there, I laminated (yes, I did) their work to give it the illusion of glass, somewhat rippled like you woulds see with stained glass windows.  When they came back to school and saw their work after their step, they felt so rewarded!  They used brown paper to trim their work on both sides so that when you hang it in the window, the light makes it completely translucent!  Like the fifth graders did with their Looking Glass, the fourth graders then created museum labels for their art show that also served as a sort of post-test.

This was a great project for students to learn about a particular artist, use the creative process (knowingly), apply previous knowledge to current artwork, create their own individual artwork and experiences new and unique techniques.


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