How to Make Stained Glass – DIY Project With Kids

This past weekend the kids and I attended a weekend camp with the local children’s hospital for Gabby.  It’s our annual camp and each year they surprise us with new crafts.

We each made a stained glass window out of a glass photo frame.  Not only was it a lot of fun, it was fairly simple.  This was one project I can’t wait to try again over the summer.


  • Photo Frame with Glass Front
  • Acrylic Paints in Various Colors
  • Design Template Printed on Paper
  • Paint Brush
  • Cup of Water for Cleaning Brush

Step One

Gather all the needed supplies for your craft.  The size of the photo frame does not matter.  We created 8×10 stained glass, however 4×6 and 5×7 sizes may be more ideal for little ones to create just for fun.  If you want to make one large stained glass together as a family you could even purchase 16×20 and let everyone take part with their own section.

They offered us numerous designs to select from that were printed on regular paper.  You can print a design to use for your stained glass or freehand a picture.  A creative option is letting the kids add their hand prints out of paint.  You can put their hands in the design of a flower or just get creative with finger painting.

After gathering your supplies make sure your workspace is clean and ready for you to paint on.  I suggest laying down newspaper if you are working at the kitchen table.  Kids may spill paint and you don’t want anything ruined.  It’s also smart to wear play clothes during craft time.

Step Two

Carefully lay the glass on top of your printed design template.  When we created our stained glass we took the glass out of the photo frame.  I think the next time we do it we will leave the glass in the frame and turn it upside down and paint it.  This way is much safer and you aren’t handling the glass.  One of the camp counselors cut her finger and one of the pieces of glass actually got broken when placing back inside the frame.

Remember when using a template you will want to paint everything backwards.  You want the paint to be on the inside of the photo frame therefore if you paint letters or numbers you need to mirror the image using the flip option on your printer.  This option is available for printing t-shirt transfers.

Step Three

Start painting!  Acrylic paints do not dry immediately so if you make a mistake no worries, you can easily wipe off with a damp paper towel.  Make sure the glass is completely clean before painting again.  Have fun with it.  The paint will wash off hands so let the kids get messy and add some finger painting to your stained glass.  Noah used a paint brush to create his cross and then added multiple colored finger prints to give more color to the glass.  The finger prints looked like dots and turned out better than trying to make dots with a paint brush.

Always buy an extra photo frame or two for mess ups or in case a child drops one and it breaks.  You don’t want anyone to be left out when doing a fun family craft.  I suggest trying the Dollar Store to get less expensive frames.  You will throw the back away and only use the frame and glass.

Step Four

Once the painting is complete lay the glass somewhere safe and flat to dry.  This is another time that having the glass still in the frame will be more useful when moving from the work table.  Picking up a sheet of glass off a table is not the easiest thing to do.  Make sure the kids know not to move the glass and always let an adult move things around.  While you are laying out the stained glass to dry let the kids play in the sink washing paint brushes.

Step Five

Once your stained glass is completely dry you are ready to set it out.  I put ours up in my office window so it shines through while I work.  It’s really that simple and the kids had a blast painting them.  They make perfect gifts for Mother’s Day or even for their teacher during Teacher Appreciation Week.


Have you ever made stained glass before?   What’s your favorite DIY family craft you’ve done?


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