Friday, May 11, 2012

Finishing Touches!


My wonderful little helper is the absolute BEST. This awesome 4th grader frequently comes in from the aftercare program and asks what she can do. Today she put the finishing touches on the Chihuly Rainbow Tower, matched name labels to projects, took down a bulletin board, painted the ground under the caterpillar, offered practical advice, and was just generally all around good company for a harried art teacher.

16 comments:

  1. That turned out so beautifully.

    Do you have a link to a post that shows the whole process?

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    1. No link, but I'll briefly explain below.

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  2. This Chihuly Tower is seriously one of the coolest projects I've ever seen!

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  3. I love the tower!! How did you make it!! I want to make one :)

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    1. I will leave a comment explaining basics of process.

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  4. What a great, crowning achievement for the art show, Phyl. You and your students and your special helper should feel very proud!

    :)Pat

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  5. How we made the Chihuly tower. We collected water bottles, about 250 to 300 of them I think.

    I had the 4th graders paint the bottles with acrylics. I had the paints set out in trays of analogous combinations, so the bottles would fit into the rainbow theme. Each bottle was painted with colors that were all on the same tray. When dry we put on a coat of Mod Podge to add shine. Kids were able to paint 2 or bottles in one class which was good because the 4th grades were sparse, as they were really hit by the stomach bug. Dry bottles were cut into thick spirals, which were then cut again to give double spirals. Again, due to sickness, a few kids cut a LOT of the bottles.

    The 5th graders covered their bottles with tissue paper and gloss, using a process that Mr. E described in a post on his blog a while ago. We struggled with it. I found another blogger who covered them first with foil and then with tissue, and I thought maybe they'd hold up better that way so we tried that too. It was also a challenge. Maybe I had the wrong kind of tissue paper or something, but Mr. E said it was easy but it was a disaster for me. The tissue paper fell apart in the kids' hands as they glossed. I tried different brands of gloss and nothing was easy.

    The core structure was another challenge, as the technology ("shop") teacher told me he'd build it and then he told me he was too busy after I already had a couple hundred bottles in my room. So I brought my ideas to my husband and the 2 of us explored Lowe's until we found what we thought would work. We used "cage wire" which holds the shape really well and it seemed the bottle necks were a perfect fit. But it turned out to be harder than I expected to get the bottles in - their neck sizes are NOT universal. The kids tried to put them in unsuccessfully, but I got the process so that it was routine and quick, so I put all the bottles in myself. The color arrangement on the tower was my idea. I was thinking a great way to put on the bottles to make it easier could be to use a giant cardboard tube or wooden pole for the central structure, and then stick little dowel rods or meat skewers out of it so that the bottles can just be slid onto the dowels. It would be so much easier if you can get some sort of cheapo dowel pieces.

    In the end we didn't use every bottle we collected and we recycled the rest. The kids were getting sloppy with brush washing and I just called a halt to making more bottles. My helper fringed some tissue paper in assorted colors and stuffed it into any bare spots. Now our only challenge will be to MOVE the tower for our art show. Yikes.

    A lot of people have posted awesome Chihuly towers and chandeliers they've made. If you follow me on Pinterest, I've got a bunch saved there.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and insights! That was really helpful information and greatly appreciated! I love your final project!

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  6. Happy Mother's Day, Phyl!!!!

    :)Pat

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  7. Can't wait to see this show in it's full glory! I think we should all take a trip up. This is a once in a lifetime event. . . Doing a show like this is insane hard work. Keep it up not much longer and you will be giving birth to it:) Happy Mother's Day!!!

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  8. I know you were a bit frustrated with it before Phyl...but it is BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!! Great job to you & your kiddos!!!

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    1. Thanks! It means a lot hearing that from the Chihuly KING!!

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  9. Pour diluted acrylic into bottles and shake" the kids love it. Take cap off and the next day, begin cutting the spiral from the top just enough to let air in....it dries much faster. When dry finish cutting spiral. The acrylic in the bottles makes them look so shinny. They look great. Thread the cut bottles through a long piece of wire and hang it vertically from the ceiling. We made three huge ones. My principle liked them so much she hung them in the front entrance of our school.

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  11. This is an amazing art project. I am so glad I found your awesome art project on Pinterest! And Bythelight, I thought about using the paint inside as well...not need to gloss it up!

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  12. I did a Chihuly tower with my fifth grade this year. We were inspired by yours but here is my process:
    Kids took turns spray painting recycled water bottles, then when dry, they cut them into spirals and inserted them into a big loop of metal fencing that I had saved from a different project. The metal fencing was then attached to the outside brick wall by maintenance. You can see a pic on my website:
    http://samandmark.wixsite.com/somerville/blog

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