Create your own Chihuly-like sculpture
Inspired by Royal Blue Mint Chandelier by Dale Chihuly that hangs in the Carroll Gallery at Mint Museum Uptown, this project incorporates layering and mixing colors while using recycled materials from home. Watch how Royal Blue Mint Chandelier was moved to the Mint Museum Uptown.
- Old wire hanger (the thinner the metal, the easier it is to bend)
- Recycled plastic bottles
- Paint brush
- Scissors (pointed tip work best)
- Corks (optional)
- Pliers or metal snips (optional)
NOTE: This project is geared to older children and teens. To simplify this for younger children, precut the plastic bottles and begin at step 4.
1. Begin by removing the paper rod from the hanger. Either bend or snip off ends of the hanger so that the corks can be attached. If you don’t have any corks or wire cutters, just bend the two ends of the hanger in opposite directions. This will create the bottom of your chandelier and keep the plastic bottles from falling off the hanger. Option: If you don’t have a metal hanger, you can create a sculpture that sits flat.
2. Using scissors, cut off the tops or bottoms of the plastic bottles. Squeezing the bottle flat makes cutting easier. Once that is done, cut on a spiral or in straight lines stopping near the top. Leave enough of the top or bottom of the bottle so that they can be stacked together. Alternating tops and bottoms will create space between layers. Play with both options to see which one appeals to you before cutting all your bottles. (The thickness of the plastic bottles varies by brand; you may need to ask someone for help with the cutting).
3. If you are using the bottoms of the bottles be careful not to make the hole too big or it will not stay on the hanger. (See lower part of the photo). If you are using the tops of the bottles, cut just below the mouth of the bottle where the plastic becomes thinner. (See upper part of the photo).
4. After you have decided how many bottles you want to use and how you will stack them, paint them any way you like. If you want the bottom of your chandelier to be seen, paint or decorate your corks. Make sure the paint is dry before assembling.
5. Slide each bottle over the top of the hanger, stacking one inside the other. Bending or rolling the plastic strips in the opposite direction will take out some of the curl and create a straighter piece. Have fun creating your own unique work of art!
Challenge: Build a wire armature to create a larger piece. Be sure to watch the video below to see how Dale Chihuly built his chandelier. Add a strand of battery operated mini lights to make this project shine!