Busy 'illuminating'
Busy ‘illuminating’

This week we begun our study into the illuminated letter.  This is as a prelude to our artist study on the Limbourg brothers.  I shall be doing a full post on Friday, but today we made our own illuminated letters and had loads of fun.

Yesterday I had prepared them for this activity by reading through and letting them flick through some of our books.  The children paid particular attention to the various individual letters which were illuminated.  These were the books we had on hand:


Everyone, including me, decided to illuminate their own initials.  First we copied our letter from the illuminated alphabet book and then transferred it onto some extra thin copper sheets I had bought for just this purpose.  We then decorated them, using ideas we had found in our earlier research.  We used the corner of a plastic shape for any of the bigger designs:

L10 scraping her design using a plastic shape
L10 scraping her design using a plastic shape

And a tooth pick for the more delicate work:

C10 tooth picking her way to much detail
C10 tooth picking her way through all her design ideas

After we had all finished our designs we coloured them in using permanent pens, concentrating as much as possible on making the letter stand out:

T11 just beginning his colouring in
T11 just beginning his colouring in

This was such a fun relaxing thing to do on a Tuesday afternoon.  There was much chit-chat and banter going around.  A really, really chilled afternoon, which produced some enjoyable results.  The girls in particular were pleased and are going to pin their illuminated initials on the pin boards in their room:


I particularly liked working with the copper and I could literally feel the cogs going round inside my brain plotting and planning for using this medium in future projects (whether they call for the use of copper or not!)

39 comments on “Creating an Illuminated Letter

  1. Wow, they look amazing!

  2. Gracegirl

    REALLY beautiful! Love the Peacocks one one of the girls’ ones and the trailing vines are so pretty!

    • Hello!! I missed you! I keep thinking about you and how excited you must be getting! I mean, it must have reached titanic proportions as the time draws nearer. You are into weeks and days now, rather than months and weeks…deep breath!

      • I am into days my sweetheart! And you have NO idea! I cannot wait! 😉 Just to have him home and I can see him and talk to him and hear his calm voice giving me such good advice… And my little man has a list of things as long as that same Titanic that we are going to do with Daddy! Happy times!

      • I hope and pray they are everything you want them to be and more. I don’t know how you’ve managed over the year or so without him.

  3. Wow! They are beautiful. You are ahead of us in history so I am saving all these wonderful ideas for us to try. I am so glad you are going to display them in their rooms. I love to see the children’s work being displayed throughout the house. You all are so creative!

    I do wish you would send some of your chilled weather our way. We are expecting 90 today:( I am ready for fall.

    Praying you have a blessed day, Claire.

    • We are having beautiful weather at the moment. Not too hot, not too cold and lovely sun shiny skies. Definitely can’t complain. A huge improvement on the Emerald Island weather! I can’t believe you are hitting 90 in October!

  4. Using the copper sheets was a great idea. They really look nice on them.

  5. Glad you are back and safe! Looks like you had a wonderful time :)-This is super cool-would love to have them come do my kitchen backsplash with that! Glad you are home safe!-Tonyia
    p.s.-I am behind!

    • Oh, Tonyia, I’m always behind so don’t worry!!
      LOL at the kitchen splash backs. The children, I’m sure would oblige, but we only own those three pieces of copper. They are itching to get their hands on more though because it was a seriously cool medium to work with.

  6. The illuminated letters are Beautiful! The details everyone used to embellish look incredible – and the copper is just perfect! (I could continue gushing, they are gorgeous!)

  7. Mama Goose

    Love this project, and the medium you chose to work with. I know exactly what you mean about the project being so relaxing…there’s something so beautiful about everyone working side by side on an art project, each exploring their own creativity.

  8. Wow! Those turned out really great!

  9. I love these! I think we may have to try them! I just love reading your blog so much – I always get fabulous ideas!

  10. Using the thin copper plates really make the illuminated alphabets stand out. Really gorgeous!

  11. This so takes me back, I remember doing this at school! Popping by from Entertaining and Educational

  12. Emma @ P is for Preschooler

    These came out beautifully!

  13. This is such a creative way to make illuminations come alive to your kids! We finished a unit not that long ago, but I like your illuminated craft better – maybe we’ll have to do it as a review =)

    I features this at TGIF today (http://www.123homeschool4me.com/2013/10/tgif-linky-party-99.html) Thanks for linking up and sharing your creativity with the rest of us! I hope to see you linked up again later today!

    Have a GREAT weekend,
    Beth =)

  14. Susan W

    Beautiful! Your projects are very inspiring! Thanks for linking up at Finishing Strong.

  15. Christina Gillham

    This is a beautiful project! Do you happen to know what gauge of copper you used?

  16. just checking, .05 mm and not .5 mm?

  17. Where did you purchase the copper? Would love to do this with my students but having trouble finding the correct material. Thanks!

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