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This simple fall "stained glass" leaf project is not only fun and inexpensive for your time and effort you will get great results!



Step 1: Materials Needed

Leaf pattern printed on construction paper or tag board
Markers
Coffee Filters
White Glue
Scissors
Small spray bottle of water
Towels

Step 2: The Colors of Fall

 Depending on the size of your coffee filters, you may need more than one to fill the leaf pattern.  When I drew my template, I used a coffee filter in the staff lounge as a guide.  One filled the entire leaf.  When I went to my local discount store to buy filters for the project, I bought the biggest they had.  Alas they were not as big as the filters I found in the staff lounge, so it took two to fill the leaf.  Keep this in mind for how many filters you will need to add color to so you fit the pattern.

Take your coffee filter(s) and add color by using markers and coloring directly onto the filter.   There is no right or wrong way to do this.  I would suggest using fall colors, but if you want a pink, blue and grey leaf go for it!

The more color you put on the coffee filter, the more color you will end up with to spread out on your filter.  Leave white space, you will have some light color or white in your leaf.  Feel free to color more filters than you need to play around with the color as you make your decision on what you would like to see as your end product.

Step 3: Bath Time!

When you are done with the markers, spay the filters with water.  Its ok to be heavy handed with the water.  If you want less mess, put the filters on paper towels first then spray.  If you spray to much water and its soaked and you aren't sure you can pick it up.  Go ahead and blot the tops with paper towels.

As you spray your colors will run.  I am not using washable crayolas I'm using traditional crayolas.  So the colors still run, but I get much brighter colors than using the washable.

Step 4: Template Prep

To give your filters time to dry and allow your colors to spread, sit them to the side and start work on your template.

Fold your paper slightly (I do not create a crease).  Cut a triangle out of the middle.  Open the template out then cut out the interior of the leaf. 

Step 5: Glue!

You can glue the coffee filters on wet, but if you want it to dry to ensure you do not bow your template paper, wait for the filters to dry.

When you are ready to glue your filters on, turn your template over so the design of the leaf is face down.  Using a thin line of glue go around the template of the leaf.  Get close to the edge of the leaf leaving only a 1/4 of an inch space.

Step 6: Adding the Filters

Lay you first filters down onto the glue, spread it out so it's tight across the opening.  Lay the second filter down over the top and do the same taunt surface.  If using more than one filter they should over lap.  Left the excess filter and place a thin glue line and lay it back down to ensure the two filters stick together.

Step 7: Flip It Like a Pancake

Turn your leaf over.  Find the over lap on this side of the leaf and add a thin glue line then lay it back down.

Turn it back over so the top of the leaf is laying on the table.  Ensure the students name is on the back then let it dry completely.

Step 8: Display It!

Once dry the leaf an be hung in a window so the light shines through giving it a stained glass feel.  If you want it to be a free standing leaf, you can cut around the outside of the black line so you only have a small frame of the construction paper left. 

I did this as a grandparents day project at the school i worked for, they really enjoyed it.  It took about 30 mins from start to finish.

Step 9: PoofRabbit's Tips & Tricks!

  • The hardest part about this project for young children is cutting out the interior.  You may need to help them make that first opening cut so they get the hang of it.
  • Do not feel limited to a leaf, imagine the possibilities of this method with other object.  Snowflakes, apples, turkeys, peacocks, windows, bubbling cauldrons and more!  You are only limited by your imagination.
  • This is very easy to do with a large group, just post the instructions and float around.  When I did this at grandparents day I saw over 300 people, and just had to trouble shoot.
  • You can hit the filters with an iron to dry them out and make them very flat.
  • Permanent markers can work, but you have to spay with rubbing alcohol not water.
  • If you want to do this method to a tee shirt, you have to use permanent markers and rubbing alcohol, looks kinda neat.
  • Use only the primary colors with white space between each color and you can use the water to create a color wheel.
Great idea, and perfect timing, we need some new window dressing for the fall. Thanks for sharing!
You are most welcome, we have them hanging in our lunch room and I have started hanging them in my wall of windows in my classroom. I can't help but smile when I look at them. :)

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Bio: I adore instructables and use it when I'm playing with ideas for my students (I'm a certified art teacher and the Art Director ... More »
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