Friday, July 22, 2011

2011: Art Project 6--Chihuly Inspired Sculpture

I first heard about Pinterest a couple months ago. Heard it was awesome, but didn't feel like I needed one more thing to be obsessed about on the computer. Then I came across an art blog where the blogger was talking about Pinterest. I decided to check it out and had a friend of mine "invite" me to join. Oh my gosh! This website is awesome!! It's a super easy way to bookmark ANYTHING on the internet into categories so you can remember it and come back to it. I've been addicted to it all week; found new recipes to try, new activities to do with the kids, AND new art projects! I came across THIS Dale Chihuly-inspired art project.

I had a completely different project planned for the girls' art journal this week. But once I saw this and how easy it is to make it (shrinky dink paper, permanent markers, and a glue gun!) I scrapped the original project idea and we have spent the last three days working on this:
The girls and I actually started this before I showed them images of Chihuly's work. When I finally got around to showing them images they LOVED his stuff! I got all of these images as screen grabs from Google Images. But you can find good information about Dale Chihuly on his website.
The girls immediately picked this one (above) to see larger. Then I told them it was on the ceiling in a hotel in Las Vegas and they thought that was sooo cool!The one above was Ella's favorite. I could have have called that, it has her favorite colors of lime green and blue. And Lily really liked the spiky ball below. I could look at Chihuly's work all day long. It's so interesting and beautiful.So we set out to make a sculpture inspired by his work. We each made a larger shape that I planned to use as the base. And then we used the scraps and colored strips to make curlicues.

I usually just let the girls do their own thing with my guidance for our projects. But I was sooo excited about this project I had to join in so my piece is below. :-)

We cut around some of the shapes hoping they would have a more organic shape after we baked them.

We figured out that it worked well to make thin stripes (coloring both sides of opaque white shrinky dink paper) and cut them up. Once baked, they made fun curly pieces.

Above: Some random shapes and colors Lily decided to try. :-)
To bake them, I used parchment paper on cookie sheets. I figured out quickly it was best to bake only one piece at a time so I could watch it and quickly remove it, mold it if I felt like it and put it aside to cool. The girls obviously didn't really participate in this part. But they loved watching through the oven window to see when the pieces started to curl.

Last step--Gluing the sculpture together:
Step one: a solid base using the larger pieces.
Step 2: Adding the medium/thicker curlicues.
Step 3: All the little curlicues left!
I let the girls pick out which pieces I should glue next and
give me their opinion on where they thought the pieces should go.
The FINISHED product!

Honestly, this project took forever! Hours! BUT, I LOVED it! The girls liked it a lot and we're all very proud of our masterpiece. They even had to bring it over to Gramma and Grandpa's house tonight to show them they were so proud.


  1. These sculptures are FABULOUS!! They are sumptuously beautiful and gorgeously textured. WOW! What a project!

  2. Holly, this is so unbelievably amazing. I really love it. I think it is way too difficult for my little man but I will 'pin it' on my Pinterest boards to remember for much later on :)

  3. Your piece turned out GORGEOUS!Those added curlicues really make it. I'm sure it wasn't easy glue-gunning it all together. :) But the results are fantastic.

  4. I just found your blog today & I LOVE what you've done with your girls. My daughter is only 2 1/2 years old, but I'm definately keeping these ideas for when she's a little older. Keep up the beautiful work!
    P.S. How did you get on pinterest? I signed up on their waiting list 2 months ago & I'm still waiting?!? Reading so many people's posts on how fabulous it is, I'm can't wait to try it out!

    Thanks again for the ideas!

    1. Molly,
      I sent you an invite to Pinterest... I hope you enjoy it...
      Yvonne Dyche

  5. trying this in my art class....what glue did you use? and did you find you only cooked it for a ShorT time?

  6. Hi!

    I used a hot glue gun to put all the pieces together. And yes, I baked them for a very short time. In fact, I stood and watched them through the oven window. As soon as they started to curl, I took them out. I followed the directions on the shrinky dink paper box for the oven degrees.

    Good luck! I would love to see your results! Please come back and post a link to your project if you have a blog! Have fun!

  7. Love this project!

    Is your completed sculpture all 3 of your pieces put together?

  8. Great stuff! You have some great ideas! BTW are the winner of my craftprojectideas giveaway "Box of Projects"! Please email me your snail mail!

  9. Hi Holly. Planning our summer outings and I am excited to take the kids to the Dallas Arboretum to see the Chihuly exhibit. I just knew you would have a fabulous post for me to copy! Thanks for making our summer art projects ala Holly so fun!

  10. Maybe i missed it but: what are you baking? I can see that it is a kind of plastic...... intersting stuff for sure.
    Like your blog by the way!
    warm greetings,

    1. Hi Mincka!

      Thanks for checking out my blog! We used clear Shrinky Dink paper to make this sculpture. You can find it here, but the link is to frosted paper. I couldn't find a link quickly to the clear paper.


  11. How has your sculpture stood the test of time? I'd like to do a similar project for our school auction and want to make sure it would hold up well. I've seen similar projects done as a chandelier but love the look of a tabletop piece.


  12. Hi Kathy!

    It actually has stood up very well! I have it in our china cabinet and it's stayed completely together for a year and a half! I glued it really well to begin with. But it's definitely done well!

    Have fun with it!

  13. I'm the Editorial Assistant for Fun Family Crafts and I wanted to let you know that we have featured your project! You can see it here:

    If you have other kid-friendly craft tutorials, we'd love it if you would submit them. If you would like to display a featured button on your site, you can grab one from the right side bar of your post above. Thanks for an awesome tutorial!

  14. Congrats! I’m just stopping by to let you know that this post was selected as an Editor’s Pick for January over at Fun Family Crafts. :) You can see it here Feel free to grab a special button from the post that is only for those chosen for the Editors' Pick :)

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  15. Holly,
    I love this idea and am interested in doing this for my 6th grade class but I have 20 students. Is this process practical for 20 6th graders and one teacher? Will I be getting in over my head? The heating part is what I am concerned about. I could do it on my own but I would feel as if I am taking part of the fun away from the kids. Plus, the only access I have to an oven is in the school kitchen. Not sure how that would work. Any suggestions for doing this with a large group? oh, and what temp did you heat it? Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Kelli,

      Thanks for checking out our project! I'm sorry that I can't answer the temperature question off the top of my head. I used whatever temp it said on the box of Shrinky Dink paper. I think this would be doable for a class that large in two class sessions. I would have them color the various pieces of shrinky dink in one class. Then I would bake them on my own. And have them hot glue their sculpture(s) together the next class.

      Do your kids sit in groups at tables? Maybe you could have each group do a group sculpture instead of the whole class doing one? Not sure if you let them use the glue gun? Do you have access to parent volunteers? one for each table or two? My girls art teacher does ask for volunteers sometimes when something is a little overwhelming for her to get done on her own during the class time. Maybe if you had parent volunteers too, you could take the kids in groups with you to the kitchen to watch them bake?? I did learn it was easier to bake the pieces individually so you could watch each one and pull it out at just the right time. I think it would be pretty overwhelming to have 20 kids all standing around the oven trying to get a peek.

      But overall, I think the project is doable just might work best in smaller groups. Good luck! :-)

  16. How many sheets of paper did you use to make your sculpture? I am doing this with my class and am wondering how many sheets I would need per student to make a sculpture like this. Thanks!

    1. I think we used one sheet or maybe two for the smaller curlicues. We just made stripes on the paper and then cut them. I think we use 2 sheets for the larger base pieces. I would say we used 6-8 sheets total. I know we didn't use a full pack and I believe the full pack was 10-12 sheets.

  17. Hi- What did you use for glue? I tried hot glue as an experiment. It melted the base. Regular white glue? thanks!