Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Stained Glass Selfies

Add some color and fun to your classroom with Stained Glass Selfies.  This blog post takes you step by step through the art project with full color photos.

Last week, I pulled out some pictures I had taken of my students toward the beginning of the school year and decided to use them for an art project to decorate our hall these last couple of weeks!

The project is actually quite easy if you have the materials.  For this project you will need:
1.  Transparency film.  My school actually had several boxes of these sheets gathering dust in a closet.  Now that many schools use document cameras, rather than overhead projectors, you might get lucky and find a box hiding away at your school!  You will need one sheet of film for each student.
 2.  Acrylic paint.  Nothing fancy, just several bright colors.
3.  Sharpie or other fine point permanent markers.  One for each student.  
4.  Plates to put paint on and Q-tips to use as paint brushes.
5.  Masking tape
6.  Photos of your students printed as full, 81/2 x 11, black and white sheets
7.  Plain white copy paper.  One for each student

Okay...  now that you have all of your materials, it is time for the fun to begin!  

It is always a great idea to try out the project yourself first.  This helps you plan your timing, work out any kinks, and it gives you a finish example to share with your students!  

I also always model for my students how to do the project.  for this project, first I showed students how to tape things down and trace their faces. 

Step #1 - Hand out the photos to your students and after the giggling has subsided, have them tape them down to their desks or table.  Just a little tape on each corner will be fine.  This is just to keep the photo from shifting.  

Step #2 - Now, distribute the transparency sheets.  Students need to tape the transparency sheets over the top of their photographs.  I suggest just taping three of the corners, leaving one of the corners untaped.  This lets students slide the white copy paper between their photos and the transparency to check their tracing.  

Step #3 - Students are now ready to trace.  I always tell my students to look for and trace around the big shapes.  They shouldn't trace every hair and line.  They need empty spaces.  Anything that you want black, such as the pupils of the eyes, should be colored in with the Sharpie marker.  


While students are tracing, I walk around and put blobs of paint on the plates at students' tables.  I usually put out two plates for a table of 4 with several choices of colors.  Along with the paints, give students several Q-Tips.  

Advice - I always tell my students to NOT mix the colors.  Only use the Q-tips for the colors they are for.  At the end of the project, when most students are done, I let students mix up the colors a bit for their backgrounds.  

Step #4 - without untaping the transparency film students begin using the Q-tips to paint in their shapes.  Students can use many different strokes:  dabs, swirls, contour lines, etc.  A suggestion is to use the darker colors first and let dry a bit before moving on.  The same for shapes that are directly next to each other; paint in one shape, let dry, then paint in the other shape.  If the paint is a bit dry, it is okay to go over the margins a bit.  This side of the painting is the backside.  When you turn the painting over, all of the marker lines will still show, so students shouldn't worry about covering the lines.  

Step #5 - Have the students add a background.  If you are going to let your students write something, remember that this is the backside of the painting and they will need to write anything in reverse for it to appear correct when displayed.

Step #7 - Let paintings dry.
Step #8 - Display the paintings in a window or on a white background for the colors to really POP!

My students really enjoyed this project!  Because of timing,  we only did the artwork, but I can see how this could lend itself to writing about themselves at the beginning of the year.  Another idea is to take the pictures on the first day of school and save them.  Bring them out at the end of the school year and have students write about how they have changed during the year.

Whether you plan on doing this project just for the sake of art or to integrate it into writing it will make a wonderful display and keepsake for your students!

I hope that this art idea is one you can add to your "toolbox".  If you have any questions or ideas for integrating this project into other areas of the curriculum, I'd love to hear from you!  Just leave your comment below in the comment section.

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  1. What a good idea for making use of those old transparencies. The pictures look very artistic!

    1. Thank you, Sharon! They sure do get a lot attention in our hallway. :)