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Teaching Kids to Create Stained Glass

Hayley-Grinding-Stained-GlassI’ve had my grand-daughter Hayley visiting with me this summer. She is almost 12 (she will tell you 11 3/4) and she’s been sharing my studio space  with me since she was tiny. She used to just sit at my drafting table coloring patterns, finger painting or creating beautiful watercolor landscapes, but on this recent visit, she wanted to create her own “real” stained glass window.

I let her pick out the pattern, enlarge it, trace it on the lightbox, color it in with colored pencils to decide the color scheme, pick out her own glass, lay it out, square it up, cut, grind, and foil all the pieces herself…..well, with just a little bit of help from NiNi (that’s me) along the way……..but for the most part, this was Hayley’s project. (The only part I won’t let her do at this age is solder for obvious reasons, but she was good with that).

A fun way to use tools and math

I realized that with all the steps that go into making her own window, Hayley had to decide for herself what pattern to use, what colors of glass to use, how to read a tape measure, hammer in tacks to hold the tracks, and how to use a square. She also learned to adjust the amount of pressure she needed to cut each piece of glass…some are harder or softer than others and if cut the wrong way or with too much pressure can break.

Empower children’s confidence in themselves and their artistic abilities

Hayley learned that in foiling, you need precision so that the end product, when soldered, will be as close to perfect as you can get it. I will admit that at times Hayley was frustrated by a variety of the steps along the way…..however, when done she was SO PROUD to show off her accomplishment!


Take the time to create art and great memories at the same time

This project  empowered Hayley’s confidence in herself and her abilities as an artist. I will also admit, that it was sometimes a challenge in patience for NiNi as well, but what a great feeling to leave my grand-daughter with a skill she can hopefully pass on to her daughter or grand-daughter someday. If nothing else, Hayley and I created great memories of spending time together in my studio. That in itself  is a wonderful work of art!

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