Thursday, April 25, 2013

Building a Chandelier

I love working on light projects with the kids so I decided to scout out the displays at Somerset Mall last weekend with my daughter in search of ideas. While we were out I came across a really cool bamboo light fixture with Christmas lights wrapped in the center of a circular bamboo tube. It was thinking it would make a great base for a weaving project so I snapped a picture of the marvelous thing even though my daughter ridiculed me mercilessly for it. Over the weekend I thought about how we could use Christmas lights to make a chandelier of our own. 

This is what we came up with using some of the things we had kicking around our room.  

Materials: Clear Tube (from Lowes), Christmas Lights, Ribbon, Packing Tape, Scotch Tape, Tubes (from Arts N Scraps), shower curtain rings, and lots of imagination!  

Our set up looked like this:

I wanted the kids to come up with the design so I explained that a chandelier is a fancy light that hangs from the ceiling. Then I gave them a little time to look at the acrylic tube stuffed with Christmas lights and offered them materials to experiment in their own way. 

The kids got to work with the scotch tape, scissors and ribbon. For those of you who have never turned a room full of two year olds loose on scotch tape and scissors you are in for a treat! Scotch tape was hanging from every surface and fingers were tangled up everywhere.

There are lots of problems to solve, lots of ideas on how to get the sticky tape free from everything it got caught up on and lots of opportunities to practice patience! Over all they did really well. The children took turns helping each other, studying each other’s ideas and experimenting on their own. 

As they worked, everyone had a different strategy for getting things to stick on the acrylic tube. Some wrapped ribbon around the tube many times only to have it all unravel and fall to the floor, others tried to stick ribbon to the tube only to discover that they had misplaced the tape or that the tape had no stick left to it because they had repositioned it too many times.

There were a lot of failures and some successes but all of the work belonged to the children. 

Somewhere along the way Will remembered a project we had done a while back where we used tape to pick up glitter and paper scrapes. He used that method with wide strips of tape and created long strips of tubes that he had carefully collected and positioned closely together. The rest of the children collaborated with him to fill his strip and started strips of their own. 

When it was finished we all stepped back to admire their handy work. Doesn’t it look beautiful? 

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