Make fall leaf suncatchers that look like stained glass! This autumn craft comes together quickly with five free printable templates and makes for an easy way to decorate windows in celebration of the season.
It has been a while since we decorated windows with our homemade imitation stained glass – a whole summer has passed by. Meanwhile, our old 1920s windows have been replaced. I often wondered how much sense it made to decorate them at all, but at least it served to distract from the cracking sills and scuffed frames. It sure is exciting to have new windows – and to decorate them!
Fall is probably my favourite season to inspire crafting, with all its vibrant colours, and I thought a wreath or a frame of stained glass leaves would look nice on the windows.
Most excitingly, my two-year-old decided to help this time and did an excellent job, so it was a project made with the cooperation of the whole family (dad changed the windows).
How to Make Black Glue
What is black glue, and how do you make it at home? The idea is to mix black acrylic paint with white Elmer’s glue and then use the bottle with a nozzle that the glue comes in. The combination of acrylic paint and glue results in a mix that flows smoothly (more so than if you used straight acrylic paint!) and dries into slightly raised lines (which are easy to colour inside). It’s a lot cheaper and better overall than the dedicated stained glass leads you can buy, but you can try those as well.
My recipe for black glue:
- Pour the excess glue into an empty yogurt container. The glue can be used later for a different art project or simply applied with a brush when you need to glue something.
- My proportions are approximately 1:1 – one part glue to one part paint. I pour half a bottle of glue out and substitute it with black acrylic paint by squeezing it right into the bottle.
- After that, I shake the glue bottle for about one minute, then squeeze a little bit on a scrap piece of paper to get rid of the white glue that could have accumulated in the nozzle.
If you make black glue, you can also try these crafts:
- stained glass heart suncatcher
- butterfly suncatcher
- shamrock suncatcher
- egg suncatchers
- unicorn suncatchers
How to Make Fall Leaf Suncatchers
Besides the black glue, you will need a piece of a transparent plastic sheet – use an empty plastic container from the store (the kind of clamshell package they sell fruits and pastries in), a plastic folder with transparent sheets or an empty laminating pouch that has been run through a laminator. You will also need a design – you can download our five free printable leaf templates at the end of the post.
1 — Print the designs and slip them under a piece of plastic. You can even tape the sheets to the plastic piece to keep them in place, which is particularly useful if a kid is doing this part.
2 — Now, draw the outlines with black glue. You can influence the boldness of lines by how hard you squeeze the bottle. And sometimes you don’t need to squeeze at all, but just guide where the line goes. Watch the video to see it done!
3 — Let the finished piece dry overnight or for about eight hours. The raised outlines created by black glue present very compelling borders, making it very easy for young artists to colour. They are also thick enough not to let the light through, therefore giving a convincing stained-glass effect.
4 — Now, how to colour the clear plastic? The easiest and cheapest way is to use Sharpie markers. Both my five-year-old son and my two-year-old daughter can do the colouring, using Sharpies. Any other alcohol-based markers should do the trick as well!
There are two ways of doing imitation stained glass with Sharpies. You can colour each element with solid alternating colours, as if using different shades of glass. This is how we coloured these leaves below.
Alternatively, you can mix Sharpies, like you would paint, creating even more shades. Interestingly, it was my two-year-old who invented this technique. I didn’t think it would amount to much, but the result is nice!
Note: In direct sunlight, Sharpie-coloured suncatchers will fade in about 30 days. Since we do this craft just for temporary decorations with my kids, this time frame is perfect for us to enjoy the suncatchers and then take them down! If you want something more permanent, use special stained glass paints. They’re also easy to use: we made a project with them here.
5 — After you’re done colouring, cut the shape out. Since the surface we painted on is transparent, you don’t need to cut very close to the lines. As a result, even children who aren’t experts at using scissors can do a good job!
6 — Use double-sided tape and stick the suncatchers onto the window. First, we arranged the leaves all over the window.
Then we tried a framed look.
Of all our stained glass suncatchers to date, fall leaf suncatchers turned out to be my favourites!
Get the Free Printable Leaf Suncatcher Templates!
Thank you for reading!