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Project Sheet

Make Your Own Stained Glass Window

No sharp glass required!

  • Difficulty Level: Beginner
  • Completion Time: 2 hours

Nothing adds vibrant, dazzling color to a room quite like stained glass windows; that's why some of the world's most famous buildings and cathedrals are full of them. One needn't be a skilled glass cutter to create these brilliant works of art, though. With a little creativity and an assist from MisterArt.com, anyone can create a unique sun-catcher that's sure to brighten up any window.

What you'll need

You'll need to gather a few supplies before beginning. These materials will be substitutes for the colored glass and solder used by professional stained glass artists.

1. Starting out

To begin, sketch out a design on to a piece of black construction paper. The design is up to your imagination; you can draw a picture freehand or copy a design from a magazine or album cover. For illustrative purposes, we're keeping it simple, starting with a traditional stained-glass window shape.

2. Getting snippy

Now it's time to cut out the sections of construction paper in the middle of our design. These portions of construction paper will be replaced by translucent tissue paper to catch the sunlight. Scissors are the ideal tool for the job, but for more intricate designs, a precision knife such as X-acto may be easier to manipulate.

3. Pass the tissues, please

Next, cut or tear shapes and strips out of the many colors of tissue paper. We'll be gluing these inside of our window to catch the sun. Cutting the tissue paper into shapes makes for great geometric designs in your windows; tearing the paper creates ragged edges that are perfect for more abstract designs. You can match colors that blend well together or just throw them together in a random collage, depending on what kind of look you want your window to have.

4. Delicate composition

Once our tissue paper has been cut or ripped into smaller pieces or shapes, it's time to arrange them on the back of our construction paper. This will give us a chance to experiment with the tissue paper's placement until we're happy with the composition. It's best to experiment with the arrangement before we start gluing, because it's difficult to change the placement or correct mistakes once the glue begins to dry.

If your window design is symmetrical, you may want to place your tissue paper on the side of the construction paper that you sketched on to. This way, no pencil lines will show on your finished piece.

5. Sticky situation

Time to start gluing! With the glue stick, give a nice coating of paste around the edges of your cut-out and on any crosspieces you may have designed. Start sticking the tissue paper scraps on to the construction paper. By overlapping and layering of the different colors of paper, you can achieve cool color mixing effects.

You can use other glues if you prefer them over the glue stick, but take care not to use too much. Dried globs of glue can block light from passing through the tissue paper.

6. Let it bleed

Once the glue is dry, it's time to have a little more fun with our window's colors. With tissue paper, you can add a little water using a paint brush, cotton swab, or syringe to create cool color bleeding effects. Don't be afraid to experiment on scrap tissue paper before trying this technique on your artwork! All kinds of effects can be achieved, from washes to tie-dye blends.

7. Display away

When everything is dry, it's time to show that baby off! Using sticky tack, hang your stained-glass masterpiece in a window at home, the office, even your car to add colorful light to any environment.

8. Experiment

As always, never be afraid to experiment! Daring designs and simple scenes alike come alive with a little sunlight. The possibilities are limitless! Adding some illustration using markers or poster paint can make your piece something special.

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