The Ultimate Children's Design Resource


DIY: “Stained Glass” Banner

For my oldest son’s first birthday, several years ago now, I created a “stained glass” banner. You’ve probably seen this kid’s craft project before—small pieces of tissue paper on clear contact paper to create a stained glass effect when you hang it near a window. I applied the same technique to letters to create a Happy Birthday banner. I decided to revisit this idea to create a heart garland for Valentine’s Day, but really, you could do any shape for any celebration.

DIY Stained Glass Birthday Banner - Project Nursery

Materials: card stock, clear contact paper, tissue paper (assorted colors), adhesive (glue or double-sided tape), scissors and string or ribbon

You can make this banner using any shape. I used my Silhouette paper cutter to cut the letters for the Happy Birthday banner, but you could also cut the letters by hand. For my heart garland, I cut the hearts by hand.

Hearts for Tissue Paper Stained Glass Garland - Project Nursery

Once you have your letters or shapes prepared, cut a piece of contact paper to fit behind each one. You can just cut a square or rectangle; it doesn’t have to be exact yet. Tear or cut up your tissue paper into small pieces.

Tissue Paper - Project Nursery

There are two ways to attach your shape to the contact paper. You can either adhere it to the non-sticky side of the contact paper using glue or double-sided tape, or you can apply it to the sticky side of the contact paper. If you choose to apply it to the sticky side, remember that the non-sticky side is the front, so if you are using letters, be sure to place them onto the contact paper in reverse.

Heart Outline - Project Nursery

Peel the release paper from the contact paper and start applying the pieces of the tissue paper. Be sure to vary your colors and spread them around. Layer them to get differing levels of opacity.

Tissue Paper on Heart - Project Nursery

When you are finished, apply another piece of contact paper to the back, sandwiching in the tissue paper. Then trim around the edge of the shape to remove the excess contact paper. Attach the shapes to a ribbon or string to create your garland—I taped mine on.

Ribbon for Heart Garland - Project Nursery

Hang in a window or doorway to let the light shine through and reveal the stained glass effect. These banners are notoriously hard to photograph and so much more beautiful in person. I love how the different light throughout the day changes the effect.

Tissue Paper Heart Garland - Project Nursery

Like I said before, these make great craft projects for kids. Even the littlest of hands will have fun placing the tissue paper pieces on the contact paper.

  • Rachel Bell

    What a great idea! I love the colorful tissue paper simple yet creative!

  • Beth_PN

    Thanks. So glad you like it, Rachel!

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