Chihuly Art Lesson

11 Jul

Dale Chihuly is one of my favorite glass artist.  You see his work a lot here in the Northwest.  He even had a piece on the Frasier TV show.  But not all of us can do blown glass.  I really like what Lilli Lackey came up with for her art students.  The lesson is well thought out and can be done easily at home.  There are not very many instructions, but if you read through the material I believe you will be able to make your own Chihuly inspired work.  (I am sorry the Lilli Lackey link no longer works, please check comments for a couple of different ideas~Marla)

I came across this idea at the Washington Post for using plastic bottles to get a Chihuly type design. (10/2/2014)162ecf6736b4a615acb0aa3a861ffff2

This idea came from a comment by jmik.(you can read her comment below)  Great idea.  Here are a few examples that might work.  One is made with clear contact paper, but you could use laminated sheets too.  It is from Sturdy for Common Things.


And if you wanted to play around with the tissue paper here is a fun idea from Kids Play Box.



20 Responses to “Chihuly Art Lesson”

  1. suzanne January 5, 2014 at 7:52 pm #

    Hello…I am an art teacher in Phoenix..I am going to take my 5th graders on a field trip to see the botanical garden to see the chihuly exhibit. How did you do your acetate paper project that looks like sculpture..I cannot find the directions…thank you

    • Marla's Art Page January 6, 2014 at 4:18 pm #

      Hi Suzanne: I didn’t realize that the link wasn’t working anymore. Here is another one to try from Dick Blick. Hope that helps and that your class has a great time.

      • Ashley January 29, 2015 at 8:01 am #

        Hi, I’m a bit confused. Did you use acetate sheets or plastic bottles? Did you heat them or just cut and twist them and attach them to the dowel? Thanks, I really want to do this with my 8th graders. Just trying to figure it out.

  2. Chris Lincoln January 14, 2014 at 9:38 am #

    Hi Suzanne,
    Did you use the same materials as described in the Dick Blick plan? Thanks, Chris

  3. Marla's Art Page January 14, 2014 at 2:12 pm #

    Here is another page that might help. The students used clear chinette plates. The is from Art in Middle School.

  4. Marla's Art Page January 14, 2014 at 2:24 pm #

    You can use plastic containers that have the number 6 in the triangle. This plastic acts like shrinky dink.

  5. Nancy February 28, 2014 at 7:06 pm #

    Marla —

    Could you send me directions along with a materials list, please? Email is

    Thanks –

  6. Molly March 7, 2014 at 9:07 am #

    I’m curious about the process of painting these – what kind of paint is used? How do you get it to stick to the acetate? Everything else about it makes sense to me from the image.

    The Dick Blick lesson is painted AFTER the shapes are formed, but these look like they’re painted before and then cut & arranged.

    Can you give me tips/info about the paint process? I would love to do these with my 3D Design and Sculpture students.

    • Marla's Art Page March 7, 2014 at 11:22 am #

      We had luck using a permanent marker, like Sharpies. I would think alcohol inks would work too if they are older students. Apply ink to and pad and press it on the acetate. ~ Marla

  7. Lauren Fowler November 22, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

    Hello, Looks like stand for the original sculpture was a tube cut in half, anyone have tips for cutting the heavy weight tubes?

  8. Susan Wedemeyer November 24, 2014 at 10:30 am #

    Is the stand a wooded dowel and heavy weight tubes? Would paper towel tubes be strong enough? And did you use any type of adhesive to get acetate to stay put on the dowels/sitck thing?

  9. Marla's Art Page November 24, 2014 at 10:44 am #

    The acetate has slits in it to slide over the doweling. If a little glue is needed I would use E6000 glue. (available in big box stores and craft or hardware stores) If you are working with young children an adult should use this glue. I don’t think the paper tube would be strong enough. If you have a way to get the ones from industrial boxes of kitchen plastic wrap they may work. And I would use my Dremel to cut the tubes. Down side to that is it will take time.

  10. Marla's Art Page January 29, 2015 at 9:25 am #

    For eighth grade I would use the acetate sheets and cut the slit to fit over the dowel. It is fun to heat them to get the twist, it will shrink the acetate too, so you may have to drill the hole to go over the dowel. I am in the planning process of making a video to show this technique. I made things up as I went along as there really is not tutorial for this process. Hope to have the video up and running by the end of February. Cutting the bottles is easier for younger students as you don’t have to heat them to get a twist.

    • Ashley January 29, 2015 at 12:11 pm #

      Did you paint the acetate before you cut and heated it? Did you heat it before or after putting it on the dowel?


      • Marla's Art Page January 29, 2015 at 1:59 pm #

        Paint before heating and heat it off the dowel. Which is why you may have to rework the hole. Acetate becomes more ridged as you heat it. You can use alcohol to move around the markers ink by drop onto the piece or using a q-tip to smudge the ink. Gives it a fun look.

  11. jmik February 3, 2015 at 7:48 pm #

    Try laminated Madras tissue paper. Any age can cut it and clear tape holds it together. It is lightweight, strong and flexible. I buy the tissue in packs and laminate the sheets on our school laminating machine.

    • Marla's Art Page February 4, 2015 at 9:16 am #

      Thanks, that is a great idea. I added more information to the blog using your idea. ~ Marla

  12. Susan September 14, 2016 at 3:35 pm #

    My students and I made curtains for our Art Room by spray painting 2-liter bottles and spiral cutting them. We wired them to a skinny PVC pipe. Then we put warm colors across one large window and cool colors across the other. i love seeing what you did with this idea!!!!

  13. Lynn August 15, 2017 at 7:08 pm #

    Where did you get the stands?

    • Marla's Art Page August 16, 2017 at 9:42 am #

      Hi Lynn, I did use the stands in the picture. I made my own from a block of wood, drilled a hole and glued a dowel in place.

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