Monday, December 21, 2015

Wax Paper Stain Glass

Stained glass window crafts are always a winner with kids. I've had my students sandwich colored tissue between two pieces of clear contact paper or color with sharpies on scraps of laminator plastic, but this time I took the melted crayon craft from my childhood.

I always start my lessons talking about how this project fits into the art world. There are beautiful stained glass windows in the European cathedrals of the 13th and 14th century that are still bathing its viewers with intense colors. Tiffany lamps illuminate front he inside out. Frank Lloyd Wright windows with geometric shapes to go in his buildings.
With real stained glass, some of the coloring is anti-intuitive. copper oxide produces a turquoise and gold makes the glass red. When it comes to melting crayons however, what you see is what you get.

We used a hand-held pencil sharpener to sharpen crayons. The colored shavings were arranged on a piece of wax paper, and then covered with another piece of wax paper. It's important not to get the shavings too close to the edges or the crayon may leak out. 

We discuss how crayons melt in hot cars and dryers, but this can can work to our advantage if we want to them to change their state to create an image with a technique other than coloring. An old towel or sheet can be placed under and over the wax paper-crayon sandwich, and rubbed gently with an iron. I used a medium setting. The fabric did get stained quite a bit.

After the colors melt, we created contraction paper frame. This was done by putting two pieces of paper together, folding them in half, and cutting out half a shape starting and ending on the fold side. The edges can be cut to the desired shape as well. The "glass" part is glued between the front and back of the paper frame and taped to a window to let the light shine through. This can also have a ribbon added and hang from a branch of a Christmas tree. As long as there is a light source it will glow. Color can't exist without light after all. And art can't exist without someone making it…so what are you waiting for?

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