Make a stained glass shamrock suncatcher with kids! Quick and easy craft in preparation for St. Patrick’s Day celebration, that you can make with nothing but black glue, sharpie markers and some recyclables.
We enjoy making stained glass suncatchers with kids. First of all, they really are easy and cheap to make. Then, they allow us to put up some decorations on the windows and feel like, “Seasonal decor? Check! We’re ready to celebrate!” And they do look festive and nice. If the sun is shining through the window, our shamrock suncatcher throws cheerful reflections on the walls and curtains.
The post contains Amazon affiliate links to the products we used.
How to Make Black Glue
What exactly is black glue and how to make it at home? It’s quite simple and cheap. 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 (easy to colour inside). It’s a lot cheaper and overall better than dedicated stained glass leads you can buy, but you can try those as well.
Here is the recipe I used.
- Pour the excess glue into an empty yogourt container. Glue can be used 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 bottle of glue 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:
Materials for Making a Shamrock Suncatcher
- black glue (white Elmer’s glue + black acrylic paint)
- clear plastic (from an empty plastic container, a plastic folder or an empty laminated pouch)
- sharpies (the more colours the better!)
- free printable template (download at the end of the post)
How to Make a Shamrock Suncatcher with Black Glue
Besides the black glue, you will need some piece of clear plastic – use an empty plastic container from the store (the kind of clam shell package they sell fruits and pastries in ), a plastic folder with clear sheets or an empty laminating pouch that has been run through a laminator. You will also need a design – you can download our free shamrock template at the end of the post.
1 — Print the design and slip it under the piece of plastic. You can even tape it to the plastic piece to keep them in place, which is particularly useful if a kid is doing this part.
2 — Drawing the outlines is relaxing. 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!
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.
3 — Now, how to colour the clear plastic? The easiest and cheapest way is to use sharpies. My son could colour with them without difficulty, and the result is vibrant and consistent!
NB: In the direct sunlight, sharpie-coloured suncatchers fade in about 30 days. Since we do this craft for seasonal decor with my kids, this time frame is just about perfect for us to enjoy the suncatchers, then take them down and make new ones! If you want something more permanent, use special stained glass paints. They’re also easy to use: we made a project with them here.
I made a green shamrock here, using just two colours.
My son insisted that his shamrock will be red. He has a lot of shades to choose from.
4 — After you’re done colouring, cut the shamrock shape out. Since the surface we painted on is translucent, you don’t need to cut very close to the lines.As a result, even children who aren’t expert at using scissors can do a good job!
5 — Use a double-sided tape and stick the suncatchers to a window.