Glass and children are not a happy combination, so the stunning art of stained glass making is usually ignored as a suitable craft for kids. However, there are ways to make this skill child- friendly. We traditionally think of stained glass as something very beautiful we are used to seeing in churches or on front doors but with these simple and safe ideas it can be used in a whole range of arts and crafts ideas for kids.
Stained ‘Glass’ Panels
For this project, younger children will need some grown up help as there are scissors involved.
Take a sheet of thick black paper or card. Black gives the finished item more impact. Draw a design onto the paper; children might like to draw a flower, simple shapes or animals.
Cut the shape from the paper and glue squares of colourful tissue paper onto one side of the card. You can use as many colours as you fancy. Make sure the tissue overlaps with no gaps.
Now fix the panel to a window with tape or suspend it from the window frame with some cord. Ensure the front of the design is facing inwards to the room. With a little light from the window shining through, kids will be delighted by the simple stained glass effect they have created.
Melted Crayon ‘Stained Glass’
Rummage down the back of the sofa and you’re sure to find stubs of broken crayon, so put them to good use with this great stained glass project.
Start by cutting out two equally sized squares of wax paper. Place one square of wax paper on an ironing board protected with a thick towel. Make sure the paper is wax side up.
Now ‘shave’ pieces of the old crayons onto the paper. You can use different colours or one shade; this is a chance to experiment. When the paper is covered with the shavings, place the other square of paper over the top so you have a crayon sandwich.
Now gently iron the ‘sandwich’ until the wax has melted. The finished result is a beautifully coloured, stained glass panel.
You can either cut shapes from the finished panel and string them together to make a homemade sun catcher or make a frame from two squares of dark coloured cardboard to make a little window.
Edible stained glass
Imagine creating stained glass that’s good enough to eat? It’s easy with a simple pastry recipe that uses boiled sweets.
Buy a packet of ready rolled pastry, available in any supermarket. The children can either cut shapes from the pastry freehand or use shaped cookie cutters. When they have the shapes they want, place the pastries on a greased or lined baking tray and cut a small hole from the centre of each shape using a small cookie cutter.
Unwrap the boiled sweets and place in a small polythene bag, you can keep different colours separate or combine them together. Kids love the next bit! Use a rolling pin to smash the sweets into large crumbs. Now pile the crumbs into each hole at the centre of the pastries. Finish the goodies with a dusting of icing sugar or caster sugar, so they have a nice sweet glaze.
Bake the pastry for the required time as directed on the packet instructions. Leave the pastries to cool completely. Now kids can safely eat their very own, handmade edible stained glass.
These can also be adapted into amazing, hanging Christmas decorations which look fabulous against fairy lights by adding a small hole to the top of the pastry before baking. This is used to hang the pastries.
You can also adapt this activity by changing the pastry for a simple, shortbread biscuit recipe.
It’s surprising how easy it is to adapt a traditionally grown-up craft into activities that produce equally beautiful results with none of the danger of handling ‘real’ glass.