Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Craft Project: DIY "Faux" Stained Glass Frames

Anyone who has followed this blog for any length of time knows we LOVE sun catchers or anything pretty and sparkly in a window. :-) A year and a half ago, we worked on a faux stained glass project with black glue and permanent markers. The girls' projects have been hanging in my kitchen window over the sink ever since. I decided it was time for something new to look at. :-) We had a teacher workshop (no school) day at the end of February, and inspired by this post at Play at Home Mom, I thought this would be the perfect project for the girls.
What you'll need for this project:
--pictures frames (any size)--I got ours at Dollar Tree, we used 8 x 10
--clear glue
--Glass mosaic tiles or gems--We used the glass tiles and gems shown below from Michael's at $2.99 a bag. I think we used 4-5 bags total with some of certain colors leftover). You can also buy glass gems at Dollar Tree. At our Dollar Tree, the colors are limited to blue and green and maybe clear. I wanted a greater variety in color for the girls so I shelled out for the Michael's brand. ;-)
--Gorilla Glue
--suction cups (also found at the dollar store)
--sorting dish (optional)--you can even have the children sort the tiles/gems by color as an added educational activity. I found my tray at the dollar store as well.
This project is GREAT for all levels as you can do as much or as little to help the kids with it. Since my girls are 9 and 7, I let them do most of it. If you are adapting it for smaller children you can just let them put the gems wherever, and either add the glue yourself or let them do it. I have somewhat perfectionist little artists, so I had them plan ahead.

Step 1) This is actually for the parent. I used gorilla glue to go around where the frame and the glass would meet to create a seal. This way, when the clear glue is applied, it will not leak. I didn't take a photo of this step before we were finished. You can see it below in the photo that shows the finished underside with the suction cups. I did this step the day before I wanted the girls to do the project so the glue would have time to cure.

Step 2)--for older (or more particular) children--I had the girls plan out their design on a piece of white paper.
Step 3) Spread a good amount of clear glue on the TOP of the glass in the frame. So the frame creates an edge for the glue. We put enough to cover the glass and then some. After squirting from the bottle, the girls used a foam brush to spread it around.
Step 4) Add your tiles/gems to the glue on TOP of the glass in the frame.
Step 5) We added a bit more glue over the top and between the tiles. Just to make sure everything was sealed for sure.
This step might have been overkill, but I plan to have these hanging in my window for at least a year. I don't want any of the tiles to start to fall out. My window does get some sun, though it is not direct light for the entire day, just in the morning hours. I'm hoping it holds with all the UV exposure.

Step 6) Let dry for several days. This step actually didn't take quite as long as I anticipated. After dealing with the cookie cutter suncatchers, I think these dried even faster than those. Two days maybe. Though I left them on the art room table in the sun so that may have sped up the drying process a bit.

Step 7) I used gorilla glue to secure suction cups to the back. I used larger ones at the top and smaller on the bottom. These 8 x 10 stained glass frames are pretty heavy so I wanted to make sure they would stay in the window.
I included a couple extra photos so you can see the seal I created under the glass and along the frame edge as well. It's not pretty on the underside. Remember gorilla glue will expand when it dries.
And here are the finished frames in my window! I LOVE these! They are so bright and fun. Just makes me happy to look up and see them in the window.
 My nine year old created the one below. In her words, "just a design":
And this is my 7 year old's. She called hers "Garden". You can make out flowers with a green leaf by each one. And there's a dragonfly in the lower left on the side. And a butterfly on the right side above the red flower.
This project is perfect for any child who likes a tactile experience. Also, it's a good sensory experience with putting the tiles in the clear glue. I tried to take a couple photos to show the depth of the tiles in the frames and the tactile nature.
Now, if you are worried about the weight of these in your window. Or you might like a less "messy" version. OR you are short on time for a gift idea, I have a SHORT-CUT to this project. This came about just this afternoon when my daughter had a friend over and they were looking for a project to do in the art room.

I quickly pulled out some 5 x 7 Dollar Store frames. Cut contact paper (you can get this at the Dollar Store too!) to fit the glass in the frame. Taped the contact paper down with the sticky side up. They cut out tissue paper however they wanted, in the shapes they wanted, and placed the pieces on the contact paper.
 My daughter used scrapbook punches to cut out these circles in the tissue paper:
Because both my daughter and her friend left "holes" where the contact paper showed through, when I turned it over it stuck to the glass. This was a nice way for it to be secured in place while I put it in the frame. I also trimmed any excess tissue paper that hung over the edge of the frame glass.

This can be adapted for different ages. If you have smaller children, you can cut the tissue paper yourself and just have them put the pieces on the contact paper. You can have them rip the tissue paper into small pieces first for a more organic feel to the work. They can practice using the scissors by cutting the tissue paper themselves.

Once the contact paper is covered with tissue paper, you can turn it over and put it on the BACK of the glass going into the frame. Then put the prongs down to hold it all in place. The contact paper stayed in place with the frame prongs. You could use tape to secure the contact paper more. I probably will glue it just to really secure everything. You can secure it however you like, depending on how much time you have. These would make fun gifts for Mother's Day or an end-of-the-year gift for teachers.
I think these turned out great! And are super fun in the window with the light shining through. The cool thing about these too, they look pretty neat in the window even when it's dark out. Sorry I don't have a photo of this. But the tissue paper appears opaque and you can still see the design when it is dark outside.

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