Stained Glass

parenting advice

Warning: this is a messy one! It is an appropriate activity for children 6 years old and older.

Materials Needed:

  • Tissue paper of many colors, some pre-torn into bits, no smaller than 1″x1″.
  • Liquid starch or school glue diluted with water.
  • Glass bottles, cleaned, with labels removed (baby food jars work great. Salad dressing and wine bottles too)
  • Brushes (short stiff ones are best)
  • Protective covering for the worktable and smocks. This is very messy. When the tissue paper comes into contact with liquid, the colors of the paper bleed onto anything they touch. And it stains, so cover up!


Pre-tear the tissue paper. Once you start the gluing, fingers are too sticky to tear and it can get frustrating for the children. Adults can pre-tear for young children, but children 5 and up can pre-tear (or cut shapes with scissors) themselves.

Getting started:

  • Paint a small section of the glass jar with liquid laundry starch, or instead of starch you can use a solution of school glue diluted with water (about one cup glue to ¼ cup water). It won’t give you quite the same glossy effect, but it’s close. You can experiment and even mix the starch with the glue and water!
  • Start placing the torn bits of tissue paper on top of the wet area.
  • Brush more starch on top of paper.
  • Work small areas at a time, continuing to layer on starch and paper, overlapping occasional sections and edges of paper.
  • You will need to watch and make sure that not too much starch is used, or the colors will all bleed together.
  • When finished, don’t touch the jars until they dry completely.
  • After the bottles/jars are dry, you can finish it off with a coat of varnish to make it glossy and have it last a bit longer.