Stained glass is most commonly associated with the windows of the Renaissance cathedrals of Europe, which often featured Biblical scenes. If your middle schooler would like to try her hand at making stained glass, start her off with some simpler crafts that approximate the beauty and warmth of these works of art without specialized equipment.
Faux Stained Glass Window
Sticky contact paper and translucent tissue paper combine to create a stained glass effect. Have your middle schooler cut a 10-by-12 inch sheet of contact paper and lay it on the table with the sticky side facing up. Ask her to cut various colored pieces of tissue paper into shapes and press them onto the contact paper to form an image. Suggest that she start with something simple, such as a butterfly or a moon until she gets comfortable with this medium. Once she affixes the main image, have her fill in all the blank spaces with a single color of tissue paper to create the background. When she fills up the entire sheet of contact paper, flip the stained glass over and hang it in the window.
Transform old jam jars into colorful lanterns with glue and multi-hued tissue paper. Have your kiddo choose three complimentary colors of tissue paper and cut them into one-inch squares. Dilute some non-toxic school glue in a one-to-one ratio with water to create a sticky liquid. Tell your middle schooler to use a paintbrush to cover the jar with the glue mixture and then press the squares of paper onto the entire surface, overlapping each one slightly. When she is done, have her gently paint a layer of glue on top of the paper, turning it translucent. She can place a small electric candle inside for a colorful glow.
Melted Crayon Window Hangings
Fuse wax into a stained glass type of window hanging. Begin with a sheet of black card stock and have your middle schooler trace around her hand, a leaf or another interesting object on the paper and cut out the resulting shape. On another part of the table, show her how to shave crayons with a cheese grater, reminding her to keep her fingers clear of the sharp holes, and place some shavings onto wax paper. Place another piece of wax paper on top of the crayon pieces and use an iron set to low to melt them. Attach the wax paper art to the back of the card stock with tape and hang in the window.
Quick Stained Glass
Create stained glass images with only colored permanent markers and a sheet of the kind of transparency film used for overhead projectors. Have your child draw the outline of her picture with a thick black marker and then fill in the blank spaces with the other colors, making sure to fill the entire page. Cut the transparency film into hearts for Valentine's Day or eggs for Easter to make seasonal stained glass decorations. Suggest to your middle schooler that she cut the film into the letters of her name for a one-of-a-kind piece of art to hang in her bedroom window.