Faux Stained Glass Table Numbers a la Frank Lloyd Wright

Friday, June 27, 2014

Last weekend was the beautiful wedding of two of my very favorite friends and former roommates, Hallie & Matt. Because I live 2 blocks from Hallie, am overly organized, and am a bit of a bridesmaidzilla, I was pretty involved in the wedding planning.

Their theme was Frank Lloyd Wright, which seemed strange at first, but it turned out beautifully and perfectly suited to their personalities. My favorite project, which somehow sprung from my brain, were the table numbers.

Hallie and Matt have traveled extensively and lived in faraway places, so we decided that the table numbers wouldn’t be numbers at all, they’d be places. So, after making a list of 18 cities that were dear to them, off I went!

I used these faux stained glass instructions for inspiration, but ended up making a few tweaks, mostly because I didn’t read the directions carefully. Oops.

We found plain, black 8 x 10 frames for $2 a piece at Walmart. We’d also found this Frank Lloyd Wright memory game.  Hallie picked out her favorite 6 stained glass designs, and I went to work modifying them for stained glass.

I cut out apiece of paper to be 8 x 10 and then used a ruler to blow up and simplify the design. I left about a three-inch space at the top of each design for the city. This was the most creative part of the process and definitely the part I loved the most! I’m sure you could print off designs from the internet, but creating my own allowed me to give it my own touch.

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I made 6 different designs, which gave us three repeats for each design. Then, I found a modern stained glass font, and traced the city names into the blank spaces I left. I used this font.

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Next, we removed all the glass from the frames, cleaned it, and sprayed it with a clear acrylic spray. After letting it dry overnight, we started to trace the lines.

After placing the glass on top of the template, we used black puffy paint and a steady hand to trace all of the lines. Let this dry at least overnight.

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Now, it’s time to paint! Basically, you’re painting with clear Elmer’s glue tinted with a few drops of acrylic paint. I used a mini muffin tin to mix my paints.

Mix 2-3 tablespoons of clear glue with 3-4 drops of acrylic paint. Since Hallie & Matt’s wedding colors were purple and green, we chose 2 dark shades and 2 light shades of those colors.

Then, it was up to us to be creative! We really had to glob on the glue/paint, but make sure to stay in the lines! Otherwise, it will start to bleed over to the other boxes. Frank Lloyd Wright usually uses a lot of empty space, so I didn’t try to overload the glass with colors.

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Beware! There WILL be bubbles. It’s unavoidable, so just accept it now. I tried everything from stirring the glue super slowly to popping bubbles with toothpicks. Real stained glass has bubbles anyway.

Once the glue was dry, I sprayed them again with the clear acrylic spray.

Then, I used super glue to glue the glass into the frames. This was the most annoying part and I never really figured it out. The glass and the frames kind of refused to stick, even after using Gorilla glue! If anyone finds a better way to stick them, leave a comment!

For the reception tables, Hallie’s mom bought plate stands, which were a beautiful way to display them. They added so much to the space and brought the Frank Lloyd Wright theme to every table.

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If you try this out or make it your own, link back to this tutorial. There are so many ways this could be modified for all kinds of occasions.

It was such an honor to be a part of the entire wedding process for Hallie and Matt. The weekend couldn’t have been better! And, just for good measure, a picture of the family at the wedding!

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Trust

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

My grandparents lived in Middletown while Danny and I were growing up, which is about a 25 minute drive from Dayton. We frequently spent the night at their house, and while my mom usually drove us down there, every once in a while, Grandma would come pick us up in her Cadillac with maroon interior and seat belts that didn’t go across your chest.

One afternoon, Grandma drove us back to her house in a serious rain storm. Like one of the worst I can ever remember. Danny and I crouched down in the back seat having the time of our lives. We were giggling and singing and watching the rain beat at the windows. It’s one of my most distinct memories from growing up.

I didn’t find out until years later that my grandmother was terrified that entire car trip. Even with the windshield wipers on high, she couldn’t see 10 feet in front of us. She was so afraid of driving off the road or into another car, but Danny and I had no idea. We felt entirely safe with Grandma at the wheel.

Sometimes I don’t realize how much my students trust me. They believe me when I tell them that the project is worth 100 points. They believe me when I say I’m taking away participation points (that may or may not exist).

A few weeks ago during my notoriously small 8th period class (we average about 4 students a day in that class), we heard what sounded like 4 or 5 gunshots outside. Immediately one of my students grabbed her purse and stood up saying, “I’m getting out of here.” I calmly told her, “No, you’re not. Just take a deep breath and sit down. You’re safer in here than outside.” And to my astonishment, she did it. She sat down and continued reading about photosynthesis. My words alone convinced her that while I was at the wheel, she’d be safe.

I’m amazed at how much my students have grown this year…how much I have grown. My classroom has moved from being a place where fights took place to a place where kids can take refuge.

I look back to that day with Grandma and Danny in the car. We were oblivious of the dangers. My students are not oblivious of the dangers in their neighborhood and their school, but the least I can do is give them a safe, predictable place where they can learn.

P.S. It wasn’t gunshots we heard, just some poorly timed fireworks.