Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Dale Chihuly Sculpture

With the criteria of teaching the 2nd graders the difference between Geometric and Organic Shapes, we made a sculpture in the likeness of Dale Chihuly, with recycled plastic bottles. 
Day 1:
Talked about the differences between Geometric and Organic Shapes, then designed our pop bottles using shapes and patterns.

Day 2:
Talked about the artist, Dale Chihuly and his method of glass blowing. Then the students each painted one bottle. 

Day 3:
The students cut their bottles into a spiral shape (leaving the cap on, to help me hot glue them together on a paper towel tube), then made eye-patches to help remind them of the artist's name. 

Here's the video!


  1. Looks like a lot of fun!! Did you use acrylic paint or something else?? Also, were your 2nd graders able to cut the bottles in spirals on their own or did they need help??

  2. It was SO much fun! Great questions! Yes, they used acrylic paint.. I found that tempera was too watery and didn't stick.

    I would say about 97% of the classes were able to cut the bottles into spirals. However, I did have to help them make the initial cut (to make a hole where they could get their scissors in) with an X-acto knife. They cut off the bottoms completely and then cut the rest into a spiral.

    There were many different shapes and sizes that came out of it and it make for lots of variety in the final piece.

  3. Thanks. Think I might give it a try next year!!

  4. This is terrific! THanks for sharing this project, I love the results. I'll be using this one this coming school year!

  5. I'm planning on teaching Chihuly next year and I really like this! I was planning on asking the same questions as Fine Lines :)so thanks for the answers. I couldn't get the video to go "whole screen" for some reason, so I am curious about how you hung them from the towel tubes. Thanks!

  6. Great question!

    I taped two paper towel tubes together so the ends met. I just used some 3M packaging tape.

    For me to see the progress as I was attaching the bottles, I used the 3M packaging tape again at the top of the tubes about 2 inches deep (wrapped around inside and out) and then punched a paper clip underneath where the tape ended. This helped me to hang it from a door. And putting the tape around the top kept the paper clip from ripping through the top.

    I would suggest having the students keep the caps of the pop bottles on to help make a space for me to use the hot glue gun. I found out that the plastic melts and bends really quickly when the hot glue is directly on the bottle and not the cap. :P

    Basically, I just staggered gluing the bottles starting from the bottom working up. I used the longer pieces on the bottom and some of the shorter ones towards the top to make it look more full.

    As for hanging it, I asked the janitor for some help, so I'm not really sure as to what he used to hang it from my paper clip.

    Hope this helps!

  7. I really love this project and would like to try it with my students. I understand everything you explained except for how you actually attached the spirals to the cardboard tubes. I really need a visual and was wondering if you could post a sketch or a more detailed explanation? I hate to ask but I really want to try it. Thanks so much!

  8. Sure, I'll whip something up today and post it!

  9. I have just come across your blog. Yay! You have made this look very manageable. Thank you. I will be giving this lesson a try very soon. We have a new library and foyer and I've been asked to get classes to make 3D work. This is perfect.

  10. I agree...I also need a more detailed description of how you attached the spirals to the cardboard tubes. Please and thanks!