Mini Museum/Project No. 3: Hundertwasser Fabric Buildings

​For the third Mini Museum, I was inspired by the artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. I discovered

his art while stumbling upon his museum Kunst Haus Wien in Vienna. For me, it was instant love. His blend of bright colors, organic curves, and mismatched lines in both his paintings and buildings was visual harmony.

Since Hundertwasser was both a painter and an architect, I thought it would be fun to create a project that involves both painting and structure. I actually have two projects in mind, but for this first one, we painted and sewed one of his distinct onion domed towers.

I'll be honest, this was not an easy project for my girls. It is hard to paint small Hundertwasser details using acrylics on canvas. I tried a variety of materials and mediums, but the acrylics and the unprimed canvas had the best results. I would love to hear if anyone finds a better medium/surface combo for little ones.

In my end, my 6 year old was happy with her tower, but this project is best for older children (9 and up). There are several steps that take about 3-4 hours to complete.

ABOUT FRIEDENSREICH HUNDERTWASSER:

  • Hundertwasser was born in 1928 in Vienna Austria

  • Hundertwasser rejected straight lines in art, finding them lacking in thought and feeling

  • Hundertwasser is known for his bold colored paintings and organic architecture

  • Hundertwasser loved nature. In his life, he lived on a farm in Normandy, a former sawmill in Austria, and in a self sufficient home on his property in New Zealand

SUPPLIES:

  1. Unprimed Canvas

  2. Acrylic Paint - We used Jo Sonja. It is soft and buttery and waters down nicely for smoother painting

  3. Black Liquid Acrylic - We used Daler-Rowney FW

  4. Brushes - Small Rounds

  5. Paint palette - We used tinfoil for easy cleanup

  6. Polyfill for stuffing

  7. Sewing Machine/Needle/Thread/Embroidery Thread (optional)

STEP ONE: TRACE TWO ONION DOME TOWERS ON UNPRIMED CANVAS

  1. For this step I created an onion dome tower template with extra space on either side of the tower. This space allows for details like trees, grass, house, clouds, sun, land etc

  2. Trace one set of towers and draw in a 1/4" to 1/2" seam allowance around each piece (one tower will be painted, the other tower is the back and can be plain or painted)

STEP TWO: SKETCH DETAILS IN W/ PENCIL

Review the features on Hundertwasser's paintings and buildings. Emphasize that the details should include some of the following:

  • Concentric Circles, Squares, Lines for the sun, land, and trees

  • Onion domed towers

  • Mismatched windows

  • Rows of houses

  • Checkerboard land and buildings

  • Uneven lines

STEP THREE: PAINT IN THE DETAILS WITH ACRYLICS

Use small round brushes and add a little water or medium (10%) to the acrylics so they spread more evenly onto the canvas.

STEP FOUR: ADD IN BLACK OUTLINES WITH LIQUID ACRYLIC

This final painting step helps to make those concentric circles, checkers, and lovely organic lines pop

STEP FIVE: CUT OUT THE TWO TOWERS (DID ANYONE ELSE THINK LORD OF THE RINGS) AND SEW TOGETHER

  1. Once the paint is dry, add embroidery or beads before sewing. This step is optional, but a adds a little extra texture. When ready to sew, place the two right sides together (paint on the inside) and sew along the seam allowance leaving about a 1" opening at the bottom to invert and stuff

  2. Invert the tower so that the right sides are now showing. Stuff and hand sew the 1" hole

  3. Add string and a few beads for hanging your Hundertwasser Tower. Yea! One more piece added to our Mini Museums!

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