Friday, February 28, 2014

Dale Chihuly-Inspired "Glass" Sculpture

I've seen loads of melted bottle Dale Chihuly-esque art projects for kids on Pinterest that looked amazing, but this project really piqued my curiosity. My son and I HAD to try it.

If you're not familiar with Dale Chihuly, the world renowned glass artist, spend a few minutes with all the eye candy Google can locate. His works of art are almost surreal. If you don't drop a few "oohs" and "aws," I'll be shocked.

I showed my son some of Chihuly's work and we got started making our own translucent sculptures.

Our Supplies
12-gauge aluminum craft wire
Klutz Window Art paint

Needle nose pliers
Plastic sheet protectors

I cut down a few pieces of cardboard and slid it inside the plastic sheet protectors. This was our work surface.

Then we used the scissors to cut sections of 12-gauge wire, long enough to form an oval that would fit on the sheet protector. We twisted the wire around each other to close the loops. I used the pliers to tuck the ends under.

We made three loops. And then we bent them into random amoeba-like shapes and flattened them so that the wire touched the plastic sheet protector as much as possible.

Now came the fun part: the paint! My son and I squirted the paint heavily along the inside edge of the wire shape. NOTE: It's important that the paint touch the wire. If it goes over, that's fine; you can always trim the excess when dry.

Then we worked to add LOADS of paint to the interior of the shape. We blended colors with a paint brush, making sure the paint was thick enough to be puddling in all places.

When our shapes (his, mine, and ours) were done, we gently moved the pieces (which is why you need a hard work surface) to a place where they could dry for 24 hours.

And we waited.

The next day when my son came home from school, we were brimming over with excitement. Before we got back to our art project, we watched a video about Dale Chihuly, his studio, and the amazing works produced there.

Then he peeled the now dried painted wire forms from the sheet protectors and then embraced his inner sculpture, to shape the malleable piece into a standing form.

We shaped and reshaped. It was so fun! I placed our glass-like sculptures on the window sill where they pick up the light beautifully.

This idea came from Dick Blick Art Materials. Check out their video tutorial!


  1. This is so amazing! Does it harden completely or can you continue to reshape the pieces?

    1. You can reshape it over and over again, although with lots of movement the plasticized paint may begin to pull away from the wire frame.

  2. WOW this is stunning work indeed.So glad I dropped over to check out your blog again!!

  3. What a cool art project for kids!

  4. this is beautiful and so kid friendly as well as adult. one question, if after pieces are dry i would like to punch a hole in painted area so as to stand sculpture vertically using a dowel through it for example is that problematic or the paint 'sheet' will stay firm with hole?
    thank so much for great idea

    1. I'm not sure the hole will hold firm. The paint is like a thin moldable plastic that's pretty flexible.

    2. Unknown I would make the initial wire longer and twist it to create two circles, only filling one with paint. The when dry use the other to create a stand.