National Gallery at Home: Wearable Viewfinder

While our onsite activities are reduced, our Education team are bringing some of their family and sensory workshops to you online so that you can get creative at home!

Follow this step-by-step activity to create your own wearable viewfinder, inspired by our Mondrian exhibition.

Dutch painter Piet Mondrian (1872–1944) was inspired by views of the world around him. He liked to paint the shapes and patterns he saw in the landscape.

We're going to make a viewfinder to wear on our head. It will help us to choose a composition to paint or draw, and to focus on the shapes and spaces and patterns we can see.

Let's get started!

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National Gallery of Ireland at Home

Make your own wearable viewfinder

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Materials:

  • A large piece of strong cardboard (at least 60 x 80cms)
  • A cereal box (flattened out and with the back removed)
  • A marker
  • Some thread
  • Black crayon
  • A ruler
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • A stapler

Instructions:

  1. Measure and cut out two pieces of cardboard measuring 18cm x 80cm. 
  2. Roll one piece up to make it flexible. Then wrap it around your head, like a crown, and tape the ends in place.
  3. Next, draw a rectangle, 9cm x 11cm, in the centre of the cereal box - at least 5cm from the bottom and sides.
  4. Make a hole with the scissors, and cut the rectangle out.
  5. Cut four 13cm-long pieces of thread. If the thread is white, use a black crayon to darken it.
  6. Lay the thread over the window in an even grid pattern - two pieces horizontal and two pieces vertical - and tape them in place.
  7. Then, staple the cereal box back together.
  8. Remember the strips of cardboard from earlier? You should have one left. Staple the ends of this piece to the top of the cereal box.
  9. We're now going to attach the crown you made earlier to this section of the viewfinder!
  10. Line up the cardboard arms so they overlap with the crown.
  11. Draw lines on the crown and on the arms marking where they overlap. You will use these lines to cut slits to slot the two pieces together.
  12. On the crown, cut slits from the top to halfway down.
  13. On the arms, cut slits from the bottom to halfway up.
  14. Then slot the arms down into the crown.
  15. Cut out a semi-circle from the bit of the arms on the inside of the crown. Put the viewfinder on your head to see if you need to cut out more. (Make sure to take it off before cutting it!)
  16. Then, cut a semi-circle out of the bottom of the cereal box.
  17. Try it on and see what shapes you can see! What view will you choose to draw or paint?

Credits: Devised by Elizabeth Archbold for the National Gallery of Ireland.

This activity, which would normally have taken place in the Maples Group Creative Space, is now brought to you online.

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