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Monday, March 21, 2011

Chihuly 'Glass' BOWLS and Forms!


1st grade is making Chihuly 'Glass' bowls/forms!! We looked at how Chihuly makes his beautifully colored glass bowls, sculptures, and alien like forms. So beautiful!  I showed students how he likes to put some of his glass bobbles in boats to float around  in the calm waters to have the sunshine show the brilliance of the colored glass & reflect off the water. 5th grade grade concentrated on making glass 'blossoms' like Chihuly's that cover the ceiling of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas but we used another method in making those. I'll get to the different options later! Here are some finished Chihuly bowls. Students simply used colored permanent Sharpies to add lots of color, line, and pattern on clear Graphix Shrink sheet (very close to clear shrinky dinks). It's basically a shrinkable, clear plastic sheet that thickens when it shrinks.

After students applied these elements and principles of art, I took them home, heated the oven to 300 degrees and placed a small glass in the middle of the sheet on a cookie sheet that you don't care if sharpie gets on it :). Then watch as the Shrinky dinklike sheet wraps around the bottom of the glass, but work fast. I then yank it out of the oven using pot holders, and push and mold it around an old mug to quickly mold it to keep it's shape before it cools. You have to work fast and be wearing pot holders, but they turn out awesome (more examples at the bottom of the page!).

students using markers to apply color and pattern

adding pattern

adding lots of color and line!

I had students work on tablecloths just incase it went off the table
My friend Jenny who is an elementary art teacher as well, found a great inexpensive way to make Chihuly 'glass' forms. She has students use Sharpie markers on solo clear punch cups. She then puts it in a toaster oven on BROIL for just seconds! Then pulls them out fast! When you take them out you have to let them cool.
student cups from Jenny:)

Voila! After being in the oven it creates a glass like form.

String them together and hang them as one of chihuly's chandiliers near a window
where there's lots of sun light to shine through and bring out the bright colors!

...more glass forms from SOLO clear punch cups

 Here are some of my students 'glass' Chihuly BOWLS below!

Here's what my 5th grade did for our Chihuly unit. We looked at the famous Bellagio ceiling and it's blossoms and tried our own take on the concept. We used clear, empty, plastic flimsy water bottles, cut them into different pieces and cut slits into the pastic pieces. Then using some scissors as a pair of pliers, hold on to plastic piece with them and hold them in front of a heating/embossing tool or gun. The heat makes the plastic piece almost dance as it's warped by the heat. We of course go over safety rules before any of this but the students see that it's almost like 'blowing the glass' before their eyes!

Then mixing paint and gloss medium together so it has a transluscent quality, paint plastic forms and let dry. Then we add all kinds of colored wire and straws with a glue guns to make some funky looking flowers and blossoms. Each piece can be looked at as a sculpture or strung together as a multi media installation!


  1. Thanks again Becky Brandt for teaching me this lesson along with almost everything I know!

  2. I love this! I never thought of using the plastic punch cups or the water bottles! I know what we are doing next.....!

  3. I just came across your blog, it's great! Love the Chihuly ideas too! If you have time,check out my blog

  4. Why number plastic are the punch cups? I can't seem to get the same results you did. I have tried two different types of plastic cups. One melted down to a disk and one barely melted at all even though did the exact temperature and time you suggested. Thanks so much! I love your idea and wanted to replicated it for my own children.

  5. these look lovely but i am concerned about the plastic punch cups as some plastics have dangerous chemicals released when heated ......

  6. You're right Gail, some do depending on the number on the bottom. I like to do them with a heavy duty extension cord plugged into a toaster outside on the sidewalk away from students on my own time.

  7. AWESOME!!

    We used to live in St. Louis, where there are Chihuly sculptures at the botanical garden. We will definitely be doing this!

  8. We did this art project after reading "Elena's Serendae", a story about a little girl who wants to be a glassblower! I blogged about it and included some pictures at my blog! I linked back to this post. You can check it out here!


    Third Grade's A Charm

  9. My daughter is a future art teacher preparing to student teach in the fall. I'll be passing this site on to her. There are also so many wonderful ideas to bring a little more interest and sophistication to my summer campers. I can't wait to see more and more and more...

  10. I loved this idea! I did something similar with my niece using plastic silverware, and it turned out really cool! I wrote about it in my blog Preschool Playtime, and I sited your post. Thanks for the great idea!
    You can read my post here-

  11. I love this!! Thanks so much for your good instructions- can't wait to try this :)

  12. My son and I tried it out today! Using the cups for our ocean installation!!

  13. I appreciate your works very impressive. A different designs of glass eventhough it seems like plastic.-etched glass-

  14. I am an art teacher and we are getting ready to have an art extravaganza! I decided to use to hooleys as my children call them as one of my projects. What we used were old transparencies and I used a heat gun. First you lay the transparency on top of an old flower pot preferably clay and let it melt I tried to wrap a rubber band around it but it was popped off so you really have to work fast and let it melt totally awesome.

  15. I used the short clear solo cups and mine turned out white

  16. I have organized my strips in plastic wrap in the registrar office! It crosses my mind when I began working a few months ago. Solid, but I still have a little mess. While looking color ... Straps "escape" on one side of the foil. :))) Maybe I thinks something more practical for hours while I cut the paper.
    Custom Corrugated Plastic