Protractor Art: Window Transparencies

Protractor Art: Window Transparencies

So much can be learned when making art, so today I have a project that will not only brighten your winter windows but will show your child how to use a math protractor to make beautiful artwork.

Note: This project can be adapted for those under 12 by doing the calculations to make the template ahead of time. Working on a light table that shines through the papers makes this a visual delight!

Protractor Art: Window Transparencies

Materials to make a star transparency:

  • 2 sheets of black cardstock 8.5″x12″
  • A variety of colors of kite paper* including white (found here)
  • Drawing compass with pencil
  • Protractor
  • White pen
  • Scissors
  • White glue/toothpick
  • Optional: Light table

*Tissue paper may be used but may tear easily. Iron tissue flat before using.

Protractor Art: Window Transparencies

– Draw a 7 3/4″ circle with your compass on a piece of scrap cardstock.

– Draw a 5″ circle in the center of the first circle.

– Cut out the circles to create a donut shaped template.

– Trace the pattern onto the black cardstock and holding two sheets together, cut out two identical frames.

– Mark the following points onto the black frame with a white pen: 0, 30, 60, 90, 120, 150, 180. Turn the frame 180 degrees and repeat so that you have marks all around the circle every 30 degrees. (the marks should resemble a clock)

Protractor Art: Window Transparencies Protractor Art: Window Transparencies

– Using a toothpick, dab a few tiny dots of glue onto the frame and attach the sheet of white kite paper. Trim the edges.

– Cut 2 sheets of kite paper into thirds.

– Thinking of the frame as a clock, glue one strip of paper across each of the following points: 12:00 to 5:00, 5:00 to 10:00, 10:00 to 2:00, 2:00 to 7:00 and finally 7:00 to 12:00. Trim the edges.

– Place your work on a light box or hold up to the window to experiment with blending colors using different colors of kite paper. See how adding another color can change the effect.

– Once you have your transparency to your liking, glue the second black frame to the back to conceal the raw edges.

Take it further:

Protractor Art: Window Transparencies

Experiment with different shaped frames, calculate the angles for a 5, 6, or 8 point star, use different angles or adhere other shapes and patterns behind the kite paper. Here I have tucked a paper doily and a paper cut out behind the frame.


Fold a kite paper circle into sixteenths and cut a “snowflake”. Iron flat and glue to the frame. Layer with other colored sheets or trim papers to fit behind the cut out spaces creating a multicolored mandala.



Enjoy the holiday season with your children by making something special together!

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