Wednesday, August 10, 2011

2011: Art Project 9--Stained Glass Windows

Today we had an architecture lesson involving stained glass windows. First I showed the girls this window from Almudena Cathedral in Spain. We talked about what stained glass windows are used for.
Ella said, "Besides being pretty, they tell stories." I told her she was exactly right! I told the girls that there are some churches that are very, very, very old and that when those churches were built not everyone could read words so the windows told stories from the Bible. That way if people couldn't read, they could still know what the Bible said. I also showed them this more contemporary window I found in Google Images (have no idea the location).
This window is from a church in Germany, "Himmelfahrtskirche" Dresden-Leuben, (1901):
I asked the girls what the shape of the window looked like. Lily said it looked like a flower. I said, "Yes, this is called a rose window!" And many churches have variations of the rose window. Two more famous rose windows:
Chartres Cathedral north rose window, France c. 1235
Notre Dame north rose window; Paris, France c. 1250

We also talked about other examples of stained glass. I introduced them to the Midwestern architect Frank Lloyd Wright, showing them this picture of the Robie House in Chicago, Illinois (1909). We talked about the job of an architect and what they do. I pointed out where the stained glass windows were in the house and then showed them some interior examples.
This (below) was from the Coonley Estate playhouse designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1912. These windows were in a children's playroom so he designed them using bright colors which he didn't normally use. He called the windows a "Kinder-Symphony". The girls mentioned that this window reminded them of the Mondrian project we worked on last year.
And this last part of the lesson was just a fun way to show the girls how big a stained glass window could be and how it was installed (at least nowadays!).
The window exterior
Putting in the framing
A picture of the the front window in relation to the whole church.
The church is St. Mary's Catholic Church in Potsdam, NY.

I know that was a lot of images, but the girls really enjoyed them all so I thought I would post them. Now onto our project for today, inspired by this lesson from The Art Fairy's blog. I just googled stained glass coloring sheets and found a few images for my girls to pick from, then printed out the images they wanted. I had them use permanent markers to color them in. They always get excited whenever they are allowed to use permanent markers. :-)

All finished coloring in:

Next, I mixed black tempura paint with Glue-all (using smaller bottles so the girls would have a little more control).

The girls started outlining the black lines with black glue:

They both got a little frustrated though and were worried about "messing up" their projects so I finished up the black glue for them.

The only thing I found frustrating about this project is that the black glue had bubbles in it (not sure if that came from the mixing/stirring we did to create it). And they were difficult to pop right away. You had to wait for the black glue to harden up just a tiny bit before using a toothpick to pop them. Here's an example of one:

After the black glue dried, I folded black construction paper in half and used an Exacto knife to cut circles out. Then glued the girls' pictures inside.
Here are the finished projects hanging in my kitchen window with light shining through:
Lily's Fish
Ella's Flowers

Very fun project! I think we would do this again sometime. As the girls get a bit older, I think they'll be able to handle the black glue better and they will enjoy it more.


  1. Awesome projects to teach children about stained glass.

    I love your example images.

  2. NICE, NICE, NICE!! So good of you to do this with your kids Holly! Man, I wish I was so inspired to do that too!