tutorial :: transparency windows

The weekend before last, we attended a Holiday Fair at Waldorf School of the Peninsula. While there, I spotted a craft activity which we did not have time to try but which I knew I had to create at home.  I did not get the name of the person who originated this craft, but if you happen know the person at Waldorf School of the Peninsula who came up with this idea, please let me know so I can give them credit!



-- Window star paper (from here, here or here)

-- White vellum paper (like this)

-- Wooden frame (like these)

-- Wooden cut out shapes (check your local craft
    store or have a look at the selection here)

-- PVA or standard white glue

-- Glue stick

-- Scissors

-- A ruler

-- Watercolor paints & brush (optional)

STEP 1 :: Flip your frame over so that it is lying face down on the table (see photo above) and measure the opening at the back.  This measurement will be at least 1/2 inch (1 cm) larger than if you measure from the front i.e. your artwork will need to cover the 1/4 inch (1/2 cm) lip inside the window of the frame.  It is this lip which will hold your artwork in place.

STEP 2 :: Once you've measured the frame opening from the back, cut a few pieces of vellum paper to match the measurements.  You can trim your paper to fit perfectly inside the window, or wait to trim it until you've completed your artwork. (You will end up with some of your colorful paper overhanging the edges, and so you will have to do some trimming around the edge later anyhow.)

STEP 3 :: Cut up pieces of window star paper to create colorful collages on your rectangle(s) of vellum and use a glue stick to secure your collage to the vellum. (Warning: if you use PVA/white glue to secure the window star paper, it will wrinkle and buckle.)

STEP 4 :: Trim the edges of your collage so that it fits into the back of the frame. If your artwork is curling, you can press it beneath a heavy book for an hour or so to flatten it.

STEP 5 :: I had planned to leave the frames and wooden shape pieces a natural wood color, but my son wanted to paint his tree (he said he also wanted to paint the frame, but then changed his mind).  Painting your frame and wooden cut-out is optional, but as you will see, my son's transparency window with his painted tree is very beautiful.

STEP 6 :: Decide whether you want your wooden cut-out to be at the top or bottom, on the side or in the center, and use PVA/white glue to affix your wooden cut-out to the front of your frame.

STEP 7 :: Once the glue is dry and your wooden cut-out is secure, flip the frame face down and insert your artwork into the back.  Our frames have flexible metal tabs which can be pressed down to hold the artwork in place.

STEP 8 :: Hold your artwork up to the window so you can admire how nice it looks with light shining through the colorful, translucent paper.

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