DIY: Stained glass.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Today I'm sharing a simple DIY project that my kids had so much fun with. This would make a perfect homeschool mini unit study on the history of stained glass or a lesson for a co-op! 
During the Gothic period and the Renaissance (1100s - 1500s), stained glass was one of the foremost painting techniques practiced in Europe. The process of coloring glass was probably invented in ancient Egypt, but it was during the Middle Ages that stained glass windows developed as a major art form. Stained glass windows were an important feature of Gothic-style churches, which first arose in the mid-1100's. The windows filled the interiors of the churches with light and color. They also served an educational purpose. During the Middle Ages, the church was the center of learning. There were few books, and only a few people could read. The designs in the first stained glass windows usually depicted stories or scenes from the Bible. Such scenes were important tools in teaching Christian beliefs to people who visited the churches.

The term "stained glass" derives from the silver stain that was often applied to the side of the window that would face the outside of the building. When the glass was fired, the silver stain turned a yellow color. Artisans of the Middle Ages perfected techniques for making stained-glass windows, many of which are still used today. On a large board, the artisan drew a picture the same size at the window. He numbered each section of the picture according to color. Over the drawing he placed pieces of glass that had already been colored while the glass was being made. Then, following the outline of the drawing, he cut out the shapes with a hot iron. Finally, the artisan cut strips of lead to fit between the pieces of glass. The lead did more than hold the pieces together; it became part of the design. Large windows were given a framework of iron bars for added strength.  

New methods have since changed the appearance of stained glass. But one thing has never changed: the magic effect of sunlight pouring through colored glass. 

Plastic box frame or frame glass (for older kids)
Glass paints (I found these at Hobby Lobby)
Small paint brush
Stained glass window template (find some here to print)

1. Place template behind glass or plastic frame and tape into place. 
2. Using puffy paint, trace the lines of the template onto the glass (may need mom or dad's help with this part). Hold the tip to the surface of the glass and squeeze gently.
3. Allow to dry completely, at least 3 hours lying flat.
4. Once dry, use a small brush and glass paints to fill in your design. Let dry overnight.
5. Enjoy your beautiful stained glass design near a window to allow the light to shine through the brilliant colors.

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