This is a lovely Christmas art activity to do with children. Triptych panels (3 panels which are hinged so it can open and close) were often found in Churches during the Middle Ages. They depicted biblical scenes and were either carved from wood or painted with egg tempera using fine pigments on a gesso ground the base being wood. The Church congregation back then were often illiterate, so painting scenes from the Bible helped to explain the Christian message to them.
This project uses a thick white board, wide masking tape, powder paints (fine artists pigments are expensive and the preparation they require for use is not suitable for children), egg yolks and a drop of water. Begin by drawing a Church window shape on the board and cut it out using a craft knife (adults must do the cutting here). Trace around your shape on another piece of board and cut it out. One of these shapes must now be cut in half, this will give you 3 panels for painting.
For the tempera paint – crack open the egg and separate, keep the yolk for making paint. Use a teaspoon to place some egg yolk into a palette, add some powder paint and a tiny drop of water and mix.
When all of your painting is completed, tape the half panels either side of the whole one to form a hinged triptych.
The children who painted these triptych panels told the Christmas story. They worked in groups of three, each painting part of the panel.