DIY Medieval Glass Stained Windows for Kids

Written by erica loop
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DIY Medieval Glass Stained Windows for Kids
Stained glass windows in a cathedral. (stained-glass windows image by Valeri Vlassov from

Stained glass is an art form that dates back to the artisans of ancient Rome. During the Middle Ages (the period from the fall of Rome in the 5th century AD to approximately the 15th century AD), stained glass became commonly used as a decorative part of churches and cathedrals. Traditional medieval stained glass was formed through an arduous process of blending and melting sand, wood, and metals into a liquid that could then be formed onto a drawn template and held in place with leaded metal. Children as young as seven or eight can make a faux stained glass window (minus the metals and molten liquids) using basic art materials.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 8 X 10 piece of black construction paper
  • Coloured acetate
  • White crayon or piece of chalk
  • Scissors
  • Clear drying, non-toxic glue
  • Marker

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  1. 1

    Draw a design onto the black construction paper with the white crayon or chalk using double (or at least 1/2 inch thick) lines to separate the different parts of the picture. Leave a minimum of a one inch border around the entire piece of paper. The black paper represents the leaded metal parts of a traditional stained glass window that separates the colours or pieces of glass, and will be used to secure the acetate on to the artwork. The result should be different segments or shapes of the image that are divided by thick black lines.

  2. 2

    Cut the parts of the picture that are in between the lines out with scissors. For ease of cutting, gently fold or bend the paper near the middle of each section and cut a small slit. Poke the scissors through the slit and cut out the shape/design. Parent or adult assistance may be needed for this step. The one inch border and thick line segments should remain intact on the black paper, with the shapes of the design now cut away.

  3. 3

    Choose different colours of acetate for each cut-out section. Place the acetate sheet over the space (cut-out section) that it will fill. Trace the shape on to the acetate using a marker, making it slightly larger than the actual cut out. Repeat this for each section.

  4. 4

    Squeeze thin lines of glue over top of the black construction paper segments working section by section. Apply each piece of acetate onto the glue of the corresponding section. Press firmly. Repeat for the other pieces of acetate and sections until all of the cut outs have been covered with acetate. Set aside to dry.

  5. 5

    Turn the construction paper with glued acetate over to reveal a faux stained glass window. The black construction paper will look like mock lead lines and the acetate will represent glass.

Tips and warnings

  • Younger children may have a difficult time creating an intricate design pattern. Instead of attempting to make a scene or themed image, try drawing simple shapes such as triangles and rectangles that are separated with thick lines.
  • If you find that the paper is tearing easily, you can use card stock or another thicker paper.
  • Cover the back of the faux stained glass with a cut piece of cling film to hang or display on a window. This will let the light shine through the colours.
  • Children should always be supervised when making this (or any other) craft project by a responsible adult. Never leave the child unattended.
  • Only use art materials that are labelled non-toxic and safe for children.
  • Acetate may have sharp corners or edges. Instruct children on safe handling before beginning this project.

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