Friday, October 25, 2013

Stained Glass: Kids Medieval Project

When I visited Europe as a child, I remember being struck by the Gothic stained glass windows, and particularly the rose windows found in so many cathedrals- for their symmetry and massive scale.  So this year as we've been homeschooling through the Middle Ages, I found myself wanting to help my children interact a little with the beauty of Gothic stained glass somehow.  

I liked the way this project allowed my children to do their own work but create pieces that were unique and presentable.  I had envisioned helping them a great deal, but found that the the art mediums at both stages of the project were very forgiving.  My six-year-old and four-year-old made their windows almost entirely on their own. I think an older child could include finer detail and could maybe be more creative with the project.


Glass rectangle from a small picture frame 
Black fabric puffy paint with a fine tip
Acrylic paints
Clear liquid glue


1. Find a simple outline of a rose window online (a google image search produces lots of options), resize it to fit your glass rectangle, and print onto paper.

2.  Place the paper with the outline underneath the glass rectangle.  Trace the outline of the rose window onto the glass using the black puffy paint.  There will probably be more detail on the outline than is possible to include in the tracing.  I let my six year old decide which lines to trace and which to ignore.  

If you do a little research you can easily find the technical terms to describe the different kinds of shapes in your particular rose window.  For example, my six year old's window included a central roundel, and trefoils around the outside of the wheel.  

It's ok if your child doesn't have a perfectly steady hand with the tracing or if the lines run together at some places.  The black puffy paint looks like lead between the panes of glass, and wobbly-ness is actually a pleasing effect here.  Also, you can touch up major mistakes with a paper towel.  

3.  Allow the puffy paint outline to dry.  (At least three hours). Mix acrylic paints with clear gel glue on a palette.  There is no exact ratio to follow.  The finished color on the glass will be more or less opaque depending on the amount of glue.  Different amounts of transparency in the same window can be pleasing.  Just make sure the glue is thoroughly mixed with the glue before painting with it.  If you paint with a little bit of paint that has no glue mixed in, the finished product will have brush marks instead of the smooth look of stained glass.   Make sure all the panes in the window are thoroughly filled with paint for best results.  Allow to dry overnight.

I love these!  

They cheer me in my kitchen as the light shines through them on the window sill there.  The fact that stained glass is beautiful only when light shines through it reminds me of this fact:

 "God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all.  If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin."*

They are a gentle reminder to me to stay in fellowship with Christ during the day!

I John 1:5-7

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Chavon Roman said...

Do you think this would work on Acrylic "Glass"? I have some from some old IKEA picture frames that ended up in the trash and for some reason I saved the plastic out of them. My two boys would love doing something like this.

Chavon R.
The Roman Household
Elgin, TX

Havingfunathome said...

Yes, I think it would work just fine with acrylic. Can't think why not! Good luck!

Jennifer Walsh said...

"Stained Glass: Kids Medieval Project" is a fantastic blog that introduces children to the art of stained glass making, sparking their creativity and imagination. The writer's kid-friendly approach makes it an enjoyable and educational activity. By the way, if you're a parent planning creative projects with your kids, don't forget to check out scheels cyber Monday deals for potential discounts on crafting supplies, making your family bonding time even more special.