Totally 70s Acrylic Room Divider

For our very first project, we have this totally swingin’ acrylic room divider. The utter absurdity of this thing can’t be overstated. What we have here is a set of four 7-foot-tall acrylic panels, attached to nothing, ready to fall over in a good breeze and crack your minimalist Scandinavian furniture.

Volume 1: Acrylics: Room Divider

The instructions for the acrylic room divider are authored by Eddie Grinsberg, a professional architect who was no doubt very annoying at parties.

Volume 1: Acrylics: Room Divider

And I cannot possibly improve on the Family Creative Workshop introduction to this material, so I’ll just quote it here:

Acrylics certainly fit the now generation. Hard as rock music, brilliant as a poster, and with no ties to the past, this laboratory miracle really does its own thing. Chemically speaking, acrylic materials are a sort of one-man band – they show up in so many forms. Spawned in the chemical lab, acrylic is a mixture of a liquid monomer with a powdered polymer. When these are combined into a loose muck, or slurry, and subjected to heat, one final result can be hard, flat, crystal-clear sheets like the ones used for the room divider project shown here.

Volume 1: Acrylics - Room Divider

The instructions for the project also start out with an admonition to “handle acrylic plastic like the art object it is”, and a claim that the acrylic room divider becomes a “sculptural form” when closed.

But sadly, I am not an artist who plays jazz piano and lives in an airy NYC loft worthy of a giant spray-painted acrylic box. So how to translate this acrylic craftsmanship into something relevant and desirable?

When we started this site, we decided that while we had to complete every skill presented in The Family Creative Workshop, it was both impractical and no fun to replicate every project exactly. We’d put our own spin on each project, so we’d still learn the technique, but end up with something desirable… if all goes well.

In this case, a room divider that would immediately fall on or be knocked over by my kids was right out. So I decided to create a small-scale Christmas decoration instead, keeping the acrylic panels but adding Christmas lights to create a lantern for my porch.

The result… the Acrylic Christmas Tree Luminary!

source: The Family Creative Workshop, Volume 1: Acrylic Room Divider (1974)