How to Make Stained Glass Windows with Children

Written by aletha reil
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How to Make Stained Glass Windows with Children
Children can help design stained glass window projects. (stained glass image by pearlguy from Fotolia.com)

Learning the craft of making stained glass is a way to use your creative outlet to create beautiful and artistic designs. Making stained glass window panes and window decor isn't something that only adults can do; kids can join in on helping create beautiful stained glass as well. By choosing a simple pattern and having them help you along the way, making stained glass windows and window hangings with children can be a fun learning process that draws on the creative processes of both the adult and the child.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Glass saw
  • Stained glass
  • Protective eye glasses
  • Pattern
  • Water
  • Ammonia
  • Towel
  • Glass marker / permanent marker
  • Copper foil
  • Table foiler (optional)
  • Burnisher
  • Glass iron
  • Solder
  • Zinc frame
  • Finishing compound
  • Soft brush / rag

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Choose your stained glass window project. When working with children, the simpler and more basic the project, the better. One simple project is the stained glass window pattern, which can have any type of design, is one-dimensional, and can be designed in many colours and glass textures.

  2. 2

    Choose your pattern. Patterns can range from a picture in a colouring book, to an illustration in a children's book, to something you and the child design yourself. Have the child play a big part in choosing the final pattern.

  3. 3

    Pick your glass. Glass types range from transparent glass, to textured glass, to stained glass sheets. They come in a variety of colours, which the child can help choose from.

  4. 4

    Create your template. Trace your pattern piece onto the glass using a glass marker or a permanent marker. Have the child practice tracing while you hold the pattern in place over the glass.

  5. 5

    Put on a pair of safety glasses prior to cutting the glass. Put safety glasses on the child as well.

  6. 6

    Cut your glass. Use a glass saw to cut out the shapes of your pattern on the smooth side of the glass, holding the cutter vertically, as you would a pencil. Make sure that your glass is at room temperature, your work surface is flat.

  7. 7

    Wash your glass pieces. Fill a bowl full of water and a dash of ammonia, and place each piece of cut glass into the water. Remove it and then dry it. Continue until all the pieces have been washed and dried.

  8. 8

    Cover the edges of each piece of glass with copper foil using your hand or a table foiler. Press the foil onto the edges, and then burnish the foil onto the glass with a burnisher. You can have the child help you test the security of the foil's adhesion onto the glass.

  9. 9

    Solder your glass pattern pieces together, using a glass iron and soldering tool. Have the child watch you during this portion of the craft.

  10. 10

    Frame your window with a zinc frame. Attach rings to the back of the design so that it can be hung accordingly. Have the child help locate a place to hang the stained glass window.

  11. 11

    Polish the glass. As soon as the solder on your window has dried, pour a small amount of finishing compound on the glass and rub it in lightly with a rag. When a white film appears, the compound is dry and can then be polished. Have the child remove the white film with a small brush or soft rag.

Tips and warnings

  • Due to the potential dangers involved with soldering near a child, you may want to consider performing this step of the process without the child present, or while he is in another room to avoid any potential injury or accidents. Also, use care when instructing the child how to wash the pieces of glass, and never leave the child alone at any point of the process of making this craft. Although the craft can easily be done with a child, constant and careful supervision is recommended.

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