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Stained Glass from Crayons

waxed paper
peeled crayons
crayon sharpener, hand-help pencil sharpener or old grater
an adult wielding an iron (set to "low")
optional: construction paper or cardstock to make a frame
making crayon shavings    making crayon shaving stained glass effect    stained glass from melted crayon shavings
First start by making crayon shavings. As you make the shavings, keep them sorted by colour if desired (a good idea with larger groups), or make the shavings right onto the waxed paper. Cut out 2 pieces of waxed paper to the same shape and size (you can further trim it later if needed). Lay one sheet of waxed paper on top of several sheets of newspaper. Sprinkle the crayon shavings in your desired pattern, keep int the layer of shavings fairly thin. Once you are satisfied with your pattern, carefully place the other sheet of waxed paper on top, and cover with several more sheets of newspaper. Ask your adult to iron the work. Keep peeking to ensure your crayon is melting, but not getting so liquid that it runs all over and makes a mess. Let it cool for a few minutes, then trim if desired.

To make a frame, take a large sheet of construction paper and lightly trace your stained glass work on it in pencil, preferably on the back side of the construction paper. Now make another slightly darker line slightly inside that first one for the inside of the frame. You can make this a basic rectangular shape, or shape it as desired. If you will be making separate panes for your work, trace them out as well, and mark the sections to be removed with an "x" to help keep them straight. You may wish to use the full size of the construction paper for the outside dimension of the frame. If not, make another darker line on the opposite side of the first light line (that you used to trace the stained glass work), for the outside edge of the frame. Using scissors, cut out along the outer dark line then punch a hole and cut out along the inner dark line, being careful not to cut across any pane lines you may have drawn. Once it has been cut out, place the frame over the stained glass art to line it up properly. Glue into place. To make a frame that shows on both sides, make the frame in the same way, but use and cut two sheets of construction paper at a time. Glue one to each side of the stained glass work.

Stained Glass from Tissue Paper

tissue paper of various colours
white or school glue, with a little water mixed into it to thin it slightly
construction paper or cardstock for the frame or a clear glass jar or vase

There are a few ways to make stained glass from tissue paper.
To make a jar or vase, cut out small pieces of tissue paper. Apply a coat of watered-down glue to the glass, then place a piece of tissue on the jar, ensuring all parts of the tissue make contact with the glue. Repeat with more tissue, slightly overlapping the pieces. Let dry. You can do this on a vase, or make a votive candle holder by using a small jar (baby food jars work well). This makes a great teacher or holiday gift.

To make flat stained glass with tissue paper, begin by making a frame from paper (see above "stained glass from crayons" for instructions). Use scrap paper to plan your pattern before you start cutting out the tissue paper. Be sure that you cut pieces of tissue slightly larger than you want to end up with so that you will have an edge left for gluing. Once you have your plan and have cut out your tissue, you can start gluing it into place, starting with the outside pieces and working your way inward.
Try and keep your tissue paper stretched flat as you glue it. If you have used the kind that is colourfast , you can wait until the glue is dry, then lightly mist it with water. To test if it is colourfast, sprinkle a drop or two of water on a scrap piece of tissue paper--if the colour runs, do not mist the work or the whole thing will also run. This kind of tissue paper is great for use in dying eggs (see below). When it dries, the misted tissue will shrink slightly and pull tight thereby removing any leftover wrinkles.

Egg Dying

eggs, preferably white-shelled
white vinegar
one of the following options:

liquid food colouring, hot water and white vinegar
non-colourfast tissue paper, white vinegar and water, and a wide-bristled paint brush
natural dye bath

several bottle lids or an egg carton for drying the eggs
several spoons for stirring the dyes and inserting and removing the eggs from the dye

To boil the eggs, place the eggs in a pan of cold tap water deep enought to cover the eggs. Add a splash of white vinegar to the water. This helps keep cracks from forming. Place on the stove and heat on medium-high until the water comes to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to medium and boil for a further 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool by draining the water and rinsing twice with cold water. Refrigerate until ready to use.

naturally dyed eggs
For the natural dyes, follow the instructions here, making 1/2 recipes for each dye bath.
Set the eggs into the dye and let remain in the dye until the desired colour is obtained.
If you use onion skins, you can wrap the eggs individually with the skins, homemade natural egg dyesholding the skins in place with elastic bands, and return them to the boiled water (with the heat turned off) and let sit for about 5-10 minutes. Unwrap the eggs and you will have a patterned yellow-brown egg (the egg at 2 o'clock in the photo to the left, and on the upper right-hand side in the photo above have been dyed this way). The dyes used in the photo on the left are, starting at the top and working clockwise: grated beets, vidalia onion skins, grated beets, carrot peels, coffee and in the centre, blueberries. In the photo above, moving clockwise are blueberries, onion skins, carrot peels and coffee.

For the food colouring method, fill a small container (coffee mugs work well) with about 1/2 cup hot water, 1 teaspoon vinegar and 6-10 drops of food colouring. Set the egg into the dye and remove when desired colour intensity is reached.

For the tissue paper method, first be sure that your tissue paper will bleed the colour out. You can test this by placing a drop of water on it--if the colour runs, it will dye eggs. Mix the water with the vinegar, about 5:1. Cut out small squares of tissue paper, about 2 cm. Paint the mixture on the egg, then place a square of tissue on it. Brush a little more on top, then repeat with another square. Overlap the squares slightly, and double-layer a colour to make it slightly more intense. Carefully peel off the tissue while it's still wet.

Other techniques to try:

  • use candle wax or crayons to draw a pattern on the egg before dying, or between dips. The wax will keep the dye from soaking into the shell.
  • Wisk a few drops of cooking oil into the dye, then swirl our egg in the dye to make marbelized eggs.
  • Tie-dye eggs by soaking torn rags in various dyes and wrap them around the egg. Hold them in place with elastic bands or string for 10 minutes or so, then untie.
  • If you use red cabbage (or blueberries, but the effect is a bit less dramatic) to dye your eggs, try making two additional mixtures: 2:1 water and vinegar and dissolve 1 teaspoon of baking soda to 4 tablespoons of water. Dye your egg in the cabbage bath and let dry, then paint some patterns onto the egg with the two mixtures.

  • Remember that you will need to keep the eggs refrigerated if you intend to eat them later.

    Click here for the disappearing eggshell experiment
    Click here to learn about unboiling an egg
    Click here to find out how eggs can be used to insulate ice cream for Baked Alaska

    Spring Blossoms

    tissue paper of various "blossom" colours, cut into 1" (2.5 cm) squares
    white or school glue
    a pencil
    a sheet of construction paper or similar for the background
    India ink
    a thin straw
    contrasting coloured or patterned paper for a vase

    The beautiful branches of this blossoming tree are made with India ink that is blown into branch and twig patterns.
    Start by cutting out a flower pot or vase shape from your contrasting paper. Place this in the desired finished position. Lightly mark the top of it on the background paper and remove it. Drip a little India ink slightly below the mark you made. Using the straw to direct your breath, blow the ink upwards and away from where the vase or flower pot will be. Chase branches off of the main branch to make it look more realistic. Add another drop or two and continue as desired. Once you are satisfied with your branches, let the ink dry. Glue the vase or flower pot into position. It should slightly overlap the bottom of your branches.
    Now you will add your blossoms. Place the unsharpened end of your pencil in the centre of a square of tissue paper. Scrunch the paper around the pencil, being careful not to rip it. Dip the covered end of the pencil in a little glue, then apply the tissue onto the branch while still on the pencil. Remove the pencil leaving the tissue blossom behind. Repeat, covering your branches with blossoms. Let dry and display.

    Sprout Heads

    sprout head guy

    quick growing seeds, such as grass, alfalfa or watercress
    potting soil
    paper cup, eggshell or other small round container
    markers, paint, construction paper, glue and assorted craft supplies for decorating

    If you are using an eggshell, remove the top 1/4 of the shell (ragged edges are ok) and place it in an egg cup, egg carton section or toilet paper roll to make it easier to work with.
    Decorate your container so it has a face on the front. The sprouts will become the hair for this person. Be creative and have some fun with it!
    Fill your container about 2/3 full with potting soil. Add a sprinkle of seeds then top with a light coating of potting soil. Lightly sprinkle it with a small amount of water each day and place in a sunny window. Within a few days, your person will no longer be bald. Soon he or she may even need a haircut!

    Coffee Filter Chromatography Butterflies

    coffee filter chromatography butterflies

    -large round paper coffee filters
    -old-fashioned wooden clothespegs
    -colouring medium (water-soluble felt markers, diluted liquid food colouring, watercolour paint, coloured candy, such as Skittles, M&Ms or Smarties)
    -paint brushes
    -hot glue gun (for adult use)
    -green, brown or black pipecleaners

    First, decide on your method. You may use wet or dry paper techniques, or combine each.
    Try wetting then wringing out a filter. Slowly brush on diluted food colouring. Clean your brush, then add another colour. Allow the colours to swirl and blend together for a tie-dyed effect.
    Try making some dots or lines with the marker, then drip water onto the filter letting the ink spread into patterns.
    Or, place a candy on each half of the filter, then drip water onto it letting it flow off the candy and onto the fliter.

    Once you have finished your creations, let them lie flat to dry overnight. Once dry, accordion fold the circle and slip it into the clothespin slot. Cut two lengths of pipecleaner and curl for the antennae. Hot glue to the head. Glue on "googlie eyes", or draw on eyes, body stripes, etc. with the markers. The use of a liquid to separate colours in this way is called chromatography and is used by scientists as one way to determine the components of a substance. How many different colours did you see separate from the original colour? Which markers or candies produced the most colours?