Strained Glass Art Project

stained glass fish

"Stained glass" art is a popular activity created by the Arctic Refuge. This art project was specifically produced for early elementary students but it has proved of interest to all ages. We've had babes-in-arms, youngsters, teenagers and adults all drawing with focused concentration, and everyone's results look great.

"Stained glass" Instructions: 

These "stained glass" designs were created by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Use of these drawings for education and non-profit purposes is authorized and encouraged. All other uses, please contact Arctic Refuge at

There are presently 14 images in the set. View and download the complete set (430 kb PDF file).

Print the designs onto "letter" size paper (8.5 by 11 inches). It is best to print these images on only one side of the page: don't print double-sided because ink will show through.

Photocopy each page onto transparency film (the type for overhead projectors). I use 3M "904 Highland transparency film for dry toner copiers" because it's the only product I've found where each sheet is backed with a complete page of white paper. I prefer this because otherwise it is difficult to see what colors are being drawn onto the sheets when the color of the work surface shows through.

Color the "stained glass" sheets using colored "Sharpie" markers or any other permanent markers. Water-based markers bead up on the plastic sheets and don't fill in well.

Tear off sheets of aluminum foil slightly larger than the stained glass sheet. Lightly crinkle the foil between your fingers. Beware - if you crinkle too tightly the foil will tear when you try to flatten it back out.

Flatten the foil back out to it's original size. Fold the edges of the foil to match the edges of the stained glass sheet and tape the foil (shiny side facing the stained glass sheet) to the back of the sheet.

Admire the beautiful results.

stained glass artists