Create very nice looking decorative lights that resemble stained glass or rock candy using some inexpensive common materials. You will need a pack of small clear plastic disposable picnic cups, A few different colored sheets of tissue paper, a bottle or two of 3D paint, a small strand of 10 or so clear miniature lights, and a small bottle of Mod Podge Gloss Lustre waterbase sealant. This sealant is commonly used in schools, crafts, etc. for different projects and is easily found in most craft stores. An 8 oz bottle will go a long way and costs just a few dollars. You will also need a scissor, 1/2 inch paint brush, a hobby knife, and a cheap soldering iron. The picture shows the materials needed and some of the tools.
Step 1: X Marks the Spot!
Gather your materials needed and plug in your soldering iron. Using the soldering iron tip, melt five holes into the bottom of a plastic cup, forming a pattern similar to the 5 shown on a dice. The mark in the picture is to show you the pattern, but you don't want to mark your cups since the marks will show when your project is finished. Then using the hobby knife, start from each outer hole and cut a slit to the center. You should end up with an X pattern running to each hole. Do this step for each cup until you have one cup for each light on your strand.
Step 2: Apply the Tissue
You may want to lay some old newspaper down to keep your worksurface clean. Cut or rip some of each color tissue paper into 1/2 to 1 inch strips as desired. Some tissue will rip uniformly in one direction for a soft torn look. Use the tissue as strips, or cut into squares, or small shapes, or whatever else you imagine. Now using the 1/2 inch brush, apply the Mod Podge onto a small portion of the outside of the cup. I like to start at the lip and work toward the base of the cup. Now apply your piece of tissue onto the wet Mod Podge, then brush more Mod Podge over it to seal it down (it dries clear). Wrap the paper around the edges if you wish. Alternate colors to make a pattern, or stripes, or use strips of the same color to make a solid color. Use irregular peices to make rock candy. You can also try using different papers. I used some single sided Christmas character wrapping paper, and you could also try printing your kids photos on thin paper using your home printer, then seal the photo with hair spray before Mod Podgeing onto the cup. Once the cup is decorated to your liking, allow it to dry clear.
Step 3: Apply the Paint
Once the Mod Podge is dry, use the 3D paint to trace the joints on your stained glass, or outline your patterns, write messages, etc. Use gold for a nice Christmas look, or gray for stained glass "lead". Allow the paint to completely dry before touching it so you don't smudge your lines.
Step 4: Finish Up
Once all your cups are finished and dry, unwind your lights and gently press one light through the center hole in the bottom of each cup until only the wire is going through the hole. As you can see the lights on my strand were close together, you can find different strands that are spaced further apart if you wish. Allow each cup to hang from the wire strand, and hang the strands up where you want to display!