Thursday, December 2, 2010

Student WiPs: Faux stained glass panels - "Scripture in pictures"

Last Spring I got the crazy idea to do stained glass art with the 2D students.  It seemed the ideal project for them to flex all of their visual art know-how with regard to most of the elements of art and principles of design they were learning and the timing the project ended up falling perfectly with the Spring choral concert at our school.  It seemed like a real win-win project overall.

We used sheets of acetate (called Dura-lar) and painted them with acrylics to achieve the colored glass effect and then we outlined the pieces of color in solvent-based paint marker (Sharpie Oil paint markers and Elmers Painter markers - both in black). We hung them with double-stick scotch tape to the windows down the student gallery hallway and they were very well received.  Overall, the end results were pretty good but I was not entirely satisfied with them because though they were in the style of stained glass they lacked the presence that REAL stained glass has.

After we finished the project, I mulled over what could have been done to make it different and better for weeks.  Materials and tools to make real stained glass just wouldn't fit in the budget and my classroom is shared with another teacher so I didn't want to do something that would result in shards of glass everywhere that would be dangerous for her/her students to contend with.

This school year started and I had no plans to do stained-glass again but after I took the student work down in the gallery, I couldn't shake the urge to try it again and make it better.  I knew there was an answer to how I could imitate real stained glass and it just so happened that the project could fall appropriately around the time of the Christmas music concerts which would make it perfectly align with the rest of the fine arts program.

After about three hours of walking aimlessly in brainstorm mode around Michael's and a good number of hours online researching options, I finally came across the perfect alternative on instructables.  I quickly ordered the necessary supplies of solvent based markers in a broad array of colors (Bic brand over Sharpies this time because they were cheaper), mini glue guns, and mini sticks of black hot glue for the faux leading work.  I had the students pay $1.06 for me to get them 8x10 frames at the local Dollar Trees OR bring in their own 8x10 frames to use.

Then we went about the design process...

We followed the directions almost exactly as instructables stated in the link above and so far the students have said it's their favorite activity.  Here are pictures of them going through the drafting/design process...

And here are pictures of them transferring their designs to the glass from their frames with the black hot glue as their medium...

And the final step was when they did the fill color on the reverse side of the glass (from the piped glue) and did touch-ups of the color fill.

The students are still working on their pieces but they should all be done by next week some time.  I will (of course) post pictures of the finished pieces.

Tips that we've found during the project are as follows:
  • Simple shapes work the best and if you're short on time, use prefab coloring pages instead of making your own
  • Slow and steady is the best way to go when drawing the glue lines
  • Start from the center of the design and then move out as the glue cools/dries/sets
  • Color fill on the reverse side from the glue but then touch up and even out the coloring on the same side of the glue side to make the color more evenly saturated and reduce the appearance of coloring lines


  1. Hey..this is Mr. E from art with Mr. E I know there aren't many men art ed bloggers...I have a couple on my list. Love that your blog has a faith base...awesome!

  2. Thanks for sharing! Wonderful ideas here!!

    1. If you ever use any of the ideas in your classroom let me know! I would love to see how other teachers/students do them and reshape them. :)


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