Despite the weird temps we’ve had around here, it’s definitely the middle of winter. The skies have settled into a comfortable shade of grey and the daylight hours are short. With the Christmas decor down, I’m in serious need of some color. That’s why I created this little stained glass suncatcher craft. It’s a boost of color and an activity to keep my kids engaged in something other than screens. Win-win!
I’m going to be super honest, you guys, and you can judge me all you want. You know all those crafts your kids bring home from preschool that they’re just so super proud of?
I love them. They’re adorable and I’m happy that my creative-ball-of-energy four-year-old has an outlet. But they’re not the kind of thing I want all over my house all the time.
Don’t get me wrong! They get their time on the refrigerator or on display in the play room. But mostly I feel like they make my house look messy. I know, it’s a personal problem.
So I like to come up with crafts that can be collaborative efforts between my kids and me that I don’t mind having around more long-term.
Stained Glass Suncatcher
Obviously this is not actual stained glass, but I wanted to make a sun catcher to hang in our window that had a stained glass effect to it.
I started off by making this printable outline to serve as a structure for the colored tissue paper.
- Black Cardstock
- Colored Tissue Paper
- Contact Paper
- Craft Knife and Cutting Mat OR Silhouette paper cutting machine
So you have two options for cutting out the outline here. You can do it by hand, taping the printable outline to black cardstock, cutting the small inner pieces first and working your way out.
This method will definitely work. If you enjoy working with your hands and find detail-type work soothing, this is a great option. But it will take some time, so be prepared.
The other option is much faster, but does require some special equipment.
If you’ve been around here for a while, you’ve heard me talk about my Silhouette machine. It’s an awesome tool if you’re someone who enjoys crafting. It can cut paper, fabric, and vinyl, plus it can draw and there are kits for all sorts of things– even screen printing t-shirts!
I have the Silhouette Portrait, which is the smaller model. It has the advantage of taking up less space, but you’re limited to making things no more than 12 inches wide. Their newest model, the Silhouette Curio, can do even more things including embossing metal. It’s definitely on my wish list!
One of the coolest things you can do with a Silhouette is that you can take any jpeg and turn it into a cuttable image!
Let me show you how to do this within the Silhouette software. It’s really easy! Follow the instructions below!
Start by using your File menu to open the Stained Glass Suncatcher jpeg.
Use the corners of the image to resize it until it fits in the cutting area.
Open the Trace Panel using the toolbar on the right. Select the "Select Tracing Area" button, then click and drag to select the entire image.
Select the "Outline" option. Zoom in to see the yellow line outlining the image clearly. Adjust the threshold as needed to get a clean yellow line around the entire image. A threshold of 50% worked well for me for this project.
Select the "Trace" option.
Once traced, you should be able to move the original image and see a red outline of the image.
Delete the original image. Now you have a cuttable image you can send to your Silhouette to be cut.
Putting it Together
Once you have your cardstock cut out (whichever method you choose) you’ll need to cut out a piece of contact paper a few inches larger than the outline. Lay the cardstock face down on the center of the contact paper.
Then you’ll need colored tissue paper. I opted to cut fairly small squares in a variety of shades for each area.
The kids did a great job, but bailed at about 90% coverage. Haha. So I finished up while they got a snack.
Once the tissue paper is all in place, stick another piece of contact paper on the back. Then trim the edges to about half an inch out from the outer edge.
Then it’s ready to hang! I dunno, guys. I’m really appreciating this little pop of color in my window during these cold grey days!
And hey– if this project is too much for you, this printable still works great as a coloring page!