I'm not an artist. When my son asks me to draw an elephant, it looks more like a mouse crossed with a moose. I can't even cut a straight line on paper without a guide. However, my son loves to craft, and I love to foster that creative side of him - so a few times a week, I put aside my artistic insecurities and get to it. Because, honestly? Our kids don't care what we think that we can or can't do. They just want to DO things with us!
As Miss Frizzle says, It's time to Take Chances, Make Mistakes, and Get Messy!
Stained glass window projects have been a favourite of mine lately. They're easy to do, and they do double duty: Craft for the kids - Check! & Halloween Decorations for the front windows - Check!
We use construction paper, clear contact paper, & coloured tissue paper. That's it! Well, and scissors. No glue! And, here's a secret to making these stained glass window projects virtually no-prep: Dollarama sells coloured tissue paper, pre-cut & packaged into ~2"x2" squares. Just take out the colours that you want to use for your project & voila! You're ready to go! :)
Clear Contact Paper (I get mine from Dollarama, in the Office & School Supplies aisle)
Coloured Tissue paper, cut into small squares (Pre-cut squares from Dollarama, baby!)
1. Decide with your Little One what shape of Stained Glass to make. Some ideas: Leaf, Pumpkin, Acorn, Ghost, Witch Hat, Cauldron, etc. Whichever shape you choose, it should be symmetrical, since you'll be drawing half of it & cutting it out on a fold.
2.Choose the appropriate colour of construction paper to go with the shape. Personally, I like the look of Black outlines on all of our projects best, but we've used orange for pumpkins & red for leaves, just because we ran out of black. It still works & looks great.
3. Fold your construction paper in half - if you're doing a pumpkin, you'll want to fold it in half along the long edge of the paper, so that you can get a wider pumpkin. Leaves generally work best folded along the short edge.
4. Using a pencil, sketch out a basic outline of half of your shape. As I stated earlier, I'm not an artist. Just do your best! Google search for "Line drawing of a leaf" or whatever, and then imitate it as best as you can. I end up with pencil marks all over it (all of our erasers are stale & don't really work), but do you think that my Little Guy cares? He doesn't even notice! Just make sure that you're starting & finishing your drawing of the half shape on the fold. Otherwise, you'll just end up with two halfs of a shape. Which is cool. Just not what we're going for here.
5. Cut out your outline.
6. From the fold in, cut the inside of your shape out, so that you have a 1/2"-2" outline of your drawing. The width depends on your preference. I like an outline of 1/2" on leaves but closer to 1.5" on the pumpkins.
7. Unfold your cutting - you should have a whole leaf/pumpkin/ghost/etc now with a hole in the middle.
8. Cut a piece of contact paper roughly the size of your shape. (Square or rectangular is fine).
9. Peel back a corner of the backing, & tape the exposed contact paper to the table, sticky side up. Do the same with the other 3 corners.
10. Carefully place the outline onto the contact paper & smooth it down. If making a pumpkin or ghost, cut out some shapes out of black construction paper for making a face - let the older kids stick the shapes down, & help the Little Ones put them in the right spot.
11. Now for the fun part! Have your little one fill in the open space in the shape with different colours of tissue paper! Challenge your older kids to fill the whole shape, leaving no spaces behind, putting as little tissue paper on the construction paper as possible. Don't worry about the younger ones & how many squares they put outside of the shape, or how much they overlap or scrunch up. It'll all take care of itself in the end.
12. When the inside of the shape has been completely covered, cut another piece of contact paper to match the one taped to the table, & peel & smooth it out over the exposed project.
13. Cut the excess contact paper off of the shape.
14. Stick a bit of tape or sticky tac to it, stick it up in the window, & enjoy!