Rainbow Hanging "Blown Glass" Sculptures Kids Art Lesson

Rainbow Hanging
Rainbow Hanging "Blown Glass" Sculptures Kids Art Lesson

I have to start off this post by stating that I am in love with the art of blown glass. It fascinates me. I only wish that a nearby college or art school would hold such a creative class.

A lesson that I used to do with my students (via DickBlick.com) based on the glass artist,
Dale Chihuly got me as close to the real thing that I could get. Personally, I worked at a school where the materials they requested just didn't fit our budget. Honestly transparency sheets (what's that Mrs. Electronic Whiteboard??) and acrylic paint and markers work just as well as you will see in our "blown glass sculpture" below.

Dale Chihuly  is mainly famous for his macchias and their free organic form. I personal love his hanging chandeliers and wanted to create a lesson that would reflect the beauty and free flowing forms as the artist himself had captured. I also wanted it easy enough for my three year old daughter to do (who LOVES art) with little help from me!

Classified: Hard and is suitable for preschool and up with special help from an adult and slight modifications. Just like cooking in the kitchen- supervision is required and only an adult should touch any heat source!

What you need:
  • Transparencies!!!
  • Acrylic Paint- the colors of the rainbow
  • Scissors
  • Paintbrush
  • Blow dryer- or pot of hot water- this is where you need the adult part.
  • Yarn, thread, fishing line.
  • Tape
  • Hole puncher
  • We used the handle of a rubber mallet- but any thick wooden dowel would suffice. Just make sure it is wood and NOT metal or plastic!

What to do:
1. {Please Note: This is where you can turn this lesson up a notch for older children.} My daughter is three and LOVES to get her hands into her artwork. Literally. Since we have been on the subject of color and rainbows, I asked her how she wanted to paint her rainbow and she replied "with my hands, of course!" {With older children you can have them develop some type of pattern and such- till then!} Allow the paint to dry completely!
Painting Rainbows on transparency paper

rainbow hands craft

2. Using child scissors we cut 6 organic looking strips and painted each one the color of the rainbow and let them dry completely.

3. Using the wooden handle of your choice- have your child (student) wrap the painted organic strips and tape them into place.
Wrapping plastic film around a wooden handle
Wrapping plastic film around a wooden handle

4. This is where you need to decide your heat source. Transparency sheets will conform to just about any shape using just a little bit of heat. A blow dryer does work, however it takes a lot longer that some hot water. I had my daughter watch as a placed the rubber mallet handle over a pot of hot (near boiling) water. I then gently poured the hot water over the painted plastic that is tightly wrapped around a wooden handle with a laddle.

5. Once the plastic cooled we removed it from the wooden handle and it made a swirl. Repeat with each organic plastic strip until all are formed. Have fun with it- chose different thicknesses and objects to conform!
Fake Glass Sculpture
Our melted "glass"

6. For my daughter's top part of the sculpture, we simply stapled the two opposite ends together and then brought in the third. For my example I rolled it around a rolling pin and melted it. We then punched one hole at the top to loop some yarn to hang and 6 holes along the bottom to hang the organic shapes.
Preparing top part of hanging glass sculpture
Preparing top part of hanging glass sculpture

7. Punch holes into the organic painted strips and attach the yarn (or thread) to it and tie it to the main part of the structure. This is great for fine motor skills practice for children of any age!
Tie together the hanging sculpture
Tie together the hanging sculpture

Final hanging pieces

Wouldn't this be fun with fishing line to look as though the organic shapes are floating in space............


  1. So colorful! Loving this idea - never heard of it! You just taught me something new


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