Thursday, July 29, 2010

Third Grade Illuminated Letters

Materials Needed

• copper foil
• graph paper
• pencils
• craft sticks
• permanent markers
• magazine/newspapers
Magic in the Margins: A Medieval Tale of Bookmaking-W. Nikola-Lisa
Marguerite Makes a Book -Bruce Robertson
Bestiary: An Illuminated Alphabet of Medieval Beasts -Jonathan Hunt

Third grade read Marguerite Makes a Book by Bruce Robertson. We discussed the process of book-making in medieval times and compared it to how books are made today. We focused on the illuminated letters that were created and what characteristics they had.

We then looked at a variety of relief sculptures and noted how parts of the sculptures stood out and parts of them receded. They then started their own relief sculptures, using their initials and embossing a piece of copper foil.

First, they drew their initials on a piece of graph paper. I had them use graph paper to help them with measurement. It made it much easier for them to make their letters thick, using the grid. I have used a variety of different sizes, but have found that the smaller grids are more difficult for the students to use.

After they had their design ready on graph paper, they transferred it to a piece of copper foil by placing the paper over the foil and carefully tracing the initials with a pencil. I had to remind them to place a magazine or stack of newspapers under their copper so that the pencil would leave an impression.

They used popsicle sticks and their pencils to press their designs into the copper.

When their entire design was complete, we used permanent markers to add color. Pin It