"Stained Glass" Flower Activity

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Updated on Apr 3, 2014

The European artisans of the Middle Ages crafted intricate works of stained glass to light up windows in castles, cathedrals, and other special places. These amazingly crafted pieces were originally constructed from molten metal and other non-kid friendly items. Seize the spirit of these old-world treasures to design and create a mock stained glass masterpiece that stays true to the look of the art, but is easy enough to make with materials you've got around the home.

Treat Mom to a dazzling display of colorful light in her very own castle (her home!) this Mother’s Day by creating a faux stained glass flower. Choose one of her favorite flowers such as a rose, daffodil, or daisy as inspiration, and add on a special message that's just for mom.

What You Need:

  • Black construction paper
  • White crayon
  • Colored acetate or cellophane
  • Clear drying, non-toxic glue
  • Scissors
  • Glitter

What You Do:

  1. Once your child has decided what flower she's going to make for Mom, have her use a white crayon to draw the flower design onto the construction paper. Help her think of shapes that make up the flower such as ovals for the petals or a long thin rectangle for the stem. To create a leaded glass effect, each line outlining the flower shapes should be made into a double line that's at least one-inch thick. Be sure not to draw all the way to the edges of the paper. Leave at least a two-inch border.
  2. Help your child cut out the flower design. This is a great opportunity to discuss positive and negative space. Cut a small slit in the center of each shape that makes up the flower, and then cut with the scissors until the entire piece has been cut out from the paper. You should have one shape for each section that has been designed. For example, if you are creating a daisy you will have several ovals for the petals and a long rectangle for the stem. The resulting piece of paper should have empty (or negative) space where the flower design once was, outlined with the black lines of the construction paper (positive space) that are left behind. Younger children may need a parent to help with this step.
  3. Turn the construction paper over to the back side, the side that doesn't have the white crayon lines. This will now be the front of your stained glass flower.
  4. Cut different colors of acetate or cellophane to fit each empty space flower segment. Decide which parts you want to be which colors. Make sure that the cut-outs are big enough to cover the entire part of the flower that will be colored with the cellophane, but also small enough so that the colors won't cross over into different parts of the flower. 
  5. On the back side (the side that had the white crayon lines on it) glue the acetate/cellophane to the thick paper lines that separate the different shapes of the flower. Set aside to dry.
  6. Once the glue has dried, turn the paper over to reveal your "stained glass" work of art! For a special touch, ask your child to write a special message to mom such as “I Love You” onto a remaining area of black paper with the white crayon.
  7. Help your child outline the letter lines with glue lines, and sprinkle a small amount of glitter on top for a sparkling sentiment.
  8. Allow the glitter glue to dry, and then shake the excess glitter off.
  9. Display in a sunny window for mom to see on Mother's Day morning!

Not only is this project a great lesson in some basic art history, but it will help your child practice some basic geometry and spacial awareness skills.

Erica Loop has a MS in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education. She has many years of teaching experience working in early childhood education, and as an arts educator at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.

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