Saturday, February 4, 2017

Stained Glass Windows-- Saints


The onset of Gothic architecture began in the 1100's in France and spread throughout northern Europe. With its innovations such as flying buttresses, which allowed for taller, thinner walls and bigger windows, stained glass became a popular art form

Stained glass windows told stories of the faith, making these stories accessible to the largely illiterate public.

One popular subject was saints.  Saints in art are identified by their attributes, which are objects or characteristics that are associated with the saint.  For this project, students will, either individually or in small groups,  research their chosen saint and make their own faux stained glass window depicting them.

St. Christopher


Introductory Slideshow Presentation


-acrylic sheet (plexiglass) I used 12"x 24" sheets: Source
-Krylon Crystal Clear acrylic coating (optional)
-elmers's school glue (white)
-clear Elmer's glue
-black acrylic paint
-acrylic paint (colors that you want to paint the glass)
-exacto knives
-metal rulers (optional)
-toothpicks (optional-- I didn't find them that helpful)
-cupcake tins for mixing paint


Phase I: Research/ Design

First, choose a saint and conduct some research on how they are depicted in art.

Some helpful websites for this:

For expanded version open this slideshow:

Slideshow--Stained Glass Saints

For abbreviated version keep reading.

My references:

Image result for St. cecilia art


Image result for St. cecilia art


My study:

Phase II: Execution 

Enlarge your drawing so that it is the six of your sheet of plexiglass and tape it to the back.  Optional: spray your plexiglass sheet with acrylic spray so that the glue has something more to adhere to .

Mix black acrylic paint into the white school glue until it is a smooth black.

Apply the black glue "leading" to the glass, tracing your pattern.

Once dried, you may trim the black glue leading with an exacto knife.

Trace over your fine details with a fine tipped permanent marker, such as a sharpie.

Mix just a little bit of acrylic paint with the clear glue.  It doesn't take much paint to color the glue.

Mix the glue mixture and apply thickly to the plexiglass, dragging the paint to the black glue lines.

Embossed Bible Covers


Embossing (also known as repousse) is a technique in which malliable metal is shaped so that parts of it "pop out" to make a design.


Introductory Slideshow Presentation 


-grid paper
-tracing paper
-paper for sketching
-pencil/ erasor
-fine marker/ art pen
-carboard (regular thickness)
-wood skewers
-masking tape
-thick foil to emboss (I bought Tooling Aluminum 36 Gauge Sheet 12 inch wide by 1 yard roll  Item n. AF-1YFC from
-embossing tools (I used the ends of paintbrushes to indent the foil) 


To guide students through initial design process, refer to this document:

Student Handout-- References

For expanded version showing the process in detail open this slideshow.

Slideshow-- Embossed Bible Covers

For abbreviated version, keep reading.

Phase I: Research/ Design 

First conduct some research and plan out your design incorporating an animal with Christian symbolic value, another more abstract Christian symbol (such as a cross, Celtic trinity knot or letters) and a border.

Work out the final version of your design on grid paper.

Cut your foil a little bit bigger than your cardboard rectangle so that you'll be able to wrap it around the edges. Outline your cardboard onto your foil using a skewer.

With tracing paper trace over your design.

Position your traced design so that it's positioned over the cardboard how you want it, then trace the edges of the cardboard onto your tracing paper.

In a similar way, line up your traced design onto your foil, positioning it so that the lines you traced onto the tracing paper and the lines you previously traced onto the foil line up.  Tape down your traced design. With your skewer trace over all your lines.

From the back, your foil should look like this:

With the end of a paintbrush or another rounded tool, from behind push out the areas you'd like to protrude by rubbing.

Wrap your foil around the edges of the cardboard to attach it.

From the front, if there are any areas you'd like to go in you can rub them with the end of your paintbrush as well.

If you'd like, you may color in your embossed bible cover with markers.



For this project we will be working in small groups to make a medieval- style triptych.  A triptych is a series of three paintings that go together, attached by hinges so that it can open and close.  Triptychs were used by priests to say Mass and also as private devotional objects.


Introductory Slideshow Presentation


-sketching paper
-pencil/ eraser
-scissors (heavy-duty such as kitchen scissors)
-fine point black marker or art pen
-art board...I recommend  Canson Montval Watercolor Art Board 16" x 20"
-guache watercolor paint in tubes
-aluminum foil
-watercolor brushes, round tip
-gold paint marker (I recommend Sharpie brand). Note: this is different from a regular gold sharpie. 


Students may refer to this document to help them with this research and planning phase:

Student References

For expanded version with all steps, open this slideshow:

Slideshow--Triptych Altarpiece

For abbreviated version, keep reading.

Phase I:  Research/ Design

My example:

These are the references I drew from in making my own design:



Phase II: Execution 

Measure and cut out your art board into three panels that match up when folded closed. Re-draw a final version of your design and go over it with a fine, permanent marker or art pen.

Get set up to paint.


Separate your egg yolk from the egg white, discard egg white.

Measure about 1/2 egg yolk and 1/2 water into a cup.  Mix.

Mix a bit of watercolor paint with your egg mixture.  Stick with one color at a time as the paint becomes no good before long.

On a scrap piece of art board, practice making hatching and cross hatching strokes.  Be sure to extend your strokes so that lay flat and smooth.

Begin to apply your first layer of paint, one color at a time, using hatching and cross hatching strokes.

For lighter skin, apply a few layers of a red-yellow or brown mix, diluted way down with the egg mixture to make it lighter.  Darker skin doesn't have to be quite as diluted.  Be sure that before adding a second layer that your first layer is completely dry.  You may conservatively add some diluted down red accents to cheeks and lips.

Begin to apply your second layer of paint once first layer is dried.  If possible, go with an even finer brush and smaller strokes to give paint a more even appearance.   Either hatching (strokes in one direction) or cross hatching (strokes in multiple directions) may be used.

Here in Mary's red dress you can see the first and second layer of paint.  In her blue mantle you can see the second and in places a third, more cerulean blue layer.

For the background, use a gold paint marker to get a gilded effect.

With white duct tape, attach the back of your panels so that your triptych will be able to close.

From the front color your hinges with the gold paint marker so they blend in.

If you are ambitious, you may paint on the back of the panels as well.