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Picture of Packing Tape Masterpiece Window Art
packing tape art MadeByBarb.jpg

Yes, you read that right; this is nothing but PACKING TAPE on glass!

Have you ever seen some awesome stained glass? 'Packing Tape Art' works along the same premise. It completely boggles my mind! AND whenever I see something that is really innovative I do what I do best; take on the challenge!

Check out how a simple roll of packing tape and an old picture frame became my 'masterpiece' without any drawing whatsoever. Just think of it like a colouring book but using tape...


Lesson plan ( How to work with Values in Art):

Students are asked to choose an image and during each class will cover one of the following steps. Each student will have their own image and thus individualized challenges. These lessons will enhance their ability to see values and then apply them to creating a piece of art in a simple easily adjusted way.

How it went:

During the Introduction to painting course this exercise gave students ways to simplify images into smaller amounts of colour and tone. Prior to the complications of mixing paint, the simplicity of this lesson/method of applying value using the effects of light and layers with the packing tape students learnt the importance of mapping value. Small inexpensive frames and available windows allowed each student to easily work with the tape stressing that small details were not that important. Stopping and accessing the progress made them see if certain areas needed extra layers = darker, or taken away = less layers. Students were quite surprised at how the values built up which is compared to the way watercolour or any transparent media functions. It's an easy and inexpensive lesson for future art students and does hold their attention quite well.

Step 1: The Image:

Picture of The Image:
Screen Shot 2019-04-27 at 4.05.06 PM.jpg
Screen Shot 2019-04-27 at 4.09.22 PM.jpg
Screen Shot 2019-04-27 at 4.05.36 PM.jpg
Screen Shot 2019-04-27 at 4.10.04 PM.jpg

Supplies Needed for this project:

  • A good digital image that is not too detailed and has a good range of dark and light tones
  • Digital image editing software that can make vectors and posterization (Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator is best)
  • A roll of packing tape
  • xacto knife or scalpel and extra blades
  • source of light like a light table or a window
  • an old picture frame with glass
  • basic printer to print black & white images (letter size is ok)
  • a bit of masking tape
  • light table or window

The Image:

Choose a good digital image when making this type of art and consider the size of your frame. You do not need to draw anything but you need some ability to follow lines with a knife (easy). This can be tedious if you pick an image that has too much small detail. Simple backgrounds are also a good idea.

This image is planned for a 16" x 20" piece of glass as I had an old metal picture frame.

This wonderful special friend is Lisa MacIsaac; my favourite musician from the awesome Madison Violet (Talented Canadian Band); who can play a fiddle + & sing like no other! 'And it is such a lovely pose with perfect lighting showing the magical fingers....

Using the Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop & Illustrator) these are my steps:

  • Adjust the 'levels' ('image' > 'adjustments' > 'levels') in PS to give a good range of light and dark
  • Change the image to be in 'Grayscale'
  • Under the 'Image' > 'Adjustments' > 'Posterize' the image
  • I chose 10 levels to have a bit of flexibility (if the outcome is lacking definition then go back and adjust 'levels' and redo the steps)
Dumbphone1 month ago
This is fantastic! What a super cool Idea, and the result is incredible. Wow.
MadeByBarb (author)  Dumbphone1 month ago
Thanks! 'An easy lesson for value...
It was a very successful work. I will definitely use in my projects
Ham-made4 months ago
Hey Barb! Beautiful work! Great way to get students to understand values! Have you thought about adhering a piece of Mylar or tracing paper to the back of the piece? This would to diffuse the light and prevent you from being able to see completely through the lightest parts of the work.
Mr. Ham
MadeByBarb (author)  Ham-made4 months ago
Ah, yes I just had that discussion while sitting in the room where it currently 'shines'. But it's kinda cool how some parts are so transparent... Thanks for the input!
Hey Barb!
I agree that it is cool, in fact, I was thinking...what if you exploited that transparency in your composition. Say you create a landscape in which you use the tape to create only the foreground, and placed against the window, the background becomes the actual background of your view from the window!
Mr. Ham
AndyCallaway4 months ago
Cool project. A novel use of packing tape.
MadeByBarb (author)  AndyCallaway4 months ago
If you are old enough you may remember Letratone, a graphic design/illustration product that was way more expensive than this but pretty well the same principle.
Oh, yes. I remember it well. Letratone, Letraset, Pantone. We used them all in our drawing office.
XTL4 months ago
You can also use Inkscape (Opensource vector illustration package) and use its internal Trace Bitmap function to do the same job as in the more costly Adobe program.
If you create a canvas the same scale as your final drawing, you can export as PDF. Printing it in the Acrobat viewer in Poster mode will make it fit perfectly across multiple sheets. Inkscape runs on Windows and Mac (and linux)
MadeByBarb (author)  XTL4 months ago
Wow, perfect! Thanks so much for providing an alternative & taking the time to explain it! I'm fortunate to have access to Adobe through my job so it's my go-to software but I knew there are cheaper versions.
chikid684 months ago
I found this useful for helping me create coloring pages.
Thanks for the information
LeslieGeee4 months ago
Barb, I have been following you and your wonderful tutorials for a few years now and find what you do to be not only amazing but magnificent and magical. I am wondering where you found the colored packing tape the ones I have seen and bought are transparent. Thank you for sharing not only a beautiful piece of artwork but your tutorial on how to do it :)
MadeByBarb (author)  LeslieGeee4 months ago
Oh, aren't you nice! I was blessed to have a super ingenious mother who never let any barrier stop her from what she wanted to accomplish! That packing tape is what is readily found here, even at dollar stores. It's about the colour of packing paper, a nice beige colour. It should be easy to find and is super thin. The roll hardly even diminished!
JAMESM4664 months ago
This is amazing. I forwarded it to our Art teacher to see if she's interested in doing something with her students.
MadeByBarb (author)  JAMESM4664 months ago
As long as they can handle a knife. It could be adapted to use scissors if the image is large enough. I can imagine a huge window and a collaborative venture! ohohoh I have an idea for the college!!!
Dwargh4 months ago
Amazing work! I voted instantly!!
kiel8144 months ago
Looks awesome! But I don't understand how to cut each little piece of tape. Do you cut a big piece, paste on "something", cut it, take it off and then paste it on the actual "painting"?
MadeByBarb (author)  kiel8144 months ago
Paste on the glass and use the outlines to cut the shape. Peel off extra. Note background areas are still the wide strips.
Mimikry4 months ago
This is truly impressive! What a way to use tape!
MadeByBarb (author)  Penolopy Bulnick4 months ago
Thanks! It was so much fun and I love working with light! It just glows!