J E S U S Craft - Make an Optical Illusion

Given that the month of January is dedicated to the holy name of Jesus, I thought this would be a perfect Catholic craft for this month! If this only looks like an abstract mess to you, trust me- the picture below actually says Jesus 4 times:

This is supposed to be an optical illusion, but I'll be honest and say I can't not see the "JESUS" when I look at it anymore. However, for anyone who's lost, you have to look past the popsicle sticks to see the word "JESUS" in this craft. Look at the one below and see "JESUS" written in purple:

I hope I haven't lost anyone. :-) To make this craft, you'll just need some popsicle sticks, paper, glue, and scissors. Popsicle sticks actually cut nicely with a nice, sharp pair of scissors, and you can get colored popsicle sticks at the Dollar Tree. 

Start by gluing 2 popsicle sticks together long ways, overlapping the ends a bit. You will need to make 2 of these. Then cut 3 popsicle sticks in half (making 6 little half pieces) and glue them between the two long sticks like ladder slats. You need it to create 5 boxes total, one for each letter in "Jesus". It's best if the first box for the "J" is a little narrower than the rest.

Then glue on little pieces of popsicle stick in each square to create the letters J E S U S. The letters don't look perfect, but it is neat. I think the word actually looks a little digital.

I thought it would be cool to glue some colored cellophane behind this one and tie on a piece of yarn to create a Jesus sun catcher. Here's how it turned out:

Here's one that was crafted with multi colored popsicle sticks
and glued onto black paper. I think it's a little harder to
read than the others. My husband says he can't see this one at all!

It is easier to glue the popsicle sticks down onto paper or foam board then it is to create them "free standing". This craft is a little advanced, so I think it would be appropriate for middle school aged kids up to adults. It might be a great craft to do with a high school youth group. Speaking as a former art major, this craft would be an excellent art project for studying positive and negative space. You could also use this to study contrasting colors. I really like the one that is yellow and purple, and I'm willing to bet it looks good with other pairs of contrasting colors as well.

My daughter loves running her fingers through the popsicle sticks and tracing the letters in "Jesus". Could you instantly tell that it said "Jesus"? Was it hard to read? Please let me know what you thought in the comments. Thanks, guys! :-)

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  1. I saw it right away. I was kind of surprised when you said it was an optical illusion.

    This craft could probably be adapted to younger children if the popsicle sticks are assembled before hand and they are set to glue different colored papers or cellophane on to the back.

  2. I had to look twice at the black with multi-color sticks. I think using multiple colors for the sticks draws the eyes away from the background. Love it! Off to buiy craft sticks :)

  3. i think it's really easy to read. my one son loves popsicles, so we have a lot of popsicle sticks around here

  4. This is great....I hope to use this as our craft in our Kindergarden CCD class this month (Of course, the sticks all pre-ready). Love your website.

  5. I could see it right away, but the black isn't as obvious. I actually like the way the black name is more "hidden" so I think I'd be drawn to doing it that way.

    This is really neat and definitely a different sort of craft. Thank you!

  6. I could read it right away. Though maybe not if there had been a lot of the multicolor sticks on black. For some reason that's the hardest to see, probably all of the colors. This is a cool idea!

  7. The top two were instant for me and the other two I had to focus on to see it. Especially the multicolor one. I may try this one with my boys this weekend if time allows. It would also be good to file away for VBS

  8. Such a snazzy craft and colorful expression of Our Lord's Holy Name!

  9. I remember this as being very difficult to read in the one I saw as a child (made out of two different shades of wood)

    But I couldn't make myself NOT see JESUS on these :(

  10. Definitely the multicolored one is the more difficult one to read. As for the others, the name of Jesus just pops right out at you! Interesting craft idea.
    I love reading your blog, although I'm ashamed to admit I haven't actually found time to DO any of the crafts yet.

  11. Love this! Adding a link to this craft to http://www.squidoo.com/creative-easter-resources as a part of crafts from reused items (popsicle sticks)!

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Thanks for your comments! They're the icing on my cake ;-)