Stained glass luminaries are a perfect craft to celebrate Candlemas. With simple materials and a stunning effect, they’re a great activity for the family and home. The soft glow of candlelight provides an opportunity to teach about the prophecy of Simeon, that Jesus would be the light to all nations.
For more on Candlemas and the traditions surrounding it, see yesterday's post: What is Candlemas and how to observe it.
The following materials should be easy to find, either in your home or at any major craft store.
- Mod Podge glue - This glue comes in glittery or non-glittery varieties depending on your preference.
- Paint brushes - Brushes with a wider brush size and a larger handle may be easier for little hands to use.
- Tissue paper - Choose whatever colors of tissue paper you like. The key is to have a variety of three or four colors to get the “stained glass” effect. Many crafting stores sell tissue paper in a variety color pack.
- Small glass jar - A washed Mason jar, spaghetti sauce jar, jelly jar or yogurt jar will do just fine for the luminary.
- Small votive candle - You may have some left-over, small votive candles from your Halloween jack-o-lanterns. This is the perfect time to use them again! If not, they should be easy to find at any major craft store. If open flames are a concern, LED tea lights are a fine substitute.
- Short printed scripture passage - Scripture is full of references to light. Take your pick! Here are a few ideas: Luke 2:29-32, John 1:9, John 1:5, John 8:12, Matt 4:16, Matt 5:16, 1 John 1:5-7. The prophecy of Simeon in Luke 2 is especially perfect for celebrating the Presentation of Our Lord! Print out the quote so that the size and shape fit the jar you are using. You can also hand write the quote on normal computer paper.
Making the luminaries
1. Tear up the paper - Select three to four colors of tissue paper you want to use for your luminary. You can cut or rip apart the tissue paper to get pieces about ½ square inch to 1 square inch. About five pieces per color of torn tissue paper should be more than enough for one luminary.
2. Paint glue on the jar- Using the paintbrush, paint the outside of the glass jar in a thin layer of Mod Podge glue.
3. Place the Scripture passage - Place your printed scripture passage, sticking it to the glue and wrapping it around the jar.
4. Place the tissue paper - Cover the outside of the glass jar with the torn colored paper, arranging it around the passage in a random pattern. Some overlapping of the pieces is fine.
5. Paint glue on the jar a second time - Once your pieces are placed, coat the outside again in a thin layer of Mod Podge glue, covering the pieces of tissue paper. Don’t worry if it looks pasty at this point. The glue dries clear.
6. Dry - Wait for about 30 minutes for the glue to dry completely.
7. Light - Finally, place your small votive candle inside the jar and light it! As always, use extra precaution with open flame. An LED tea light makes a fine substitute.
You can use this craft to introduce the practice of praying Night Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours. Night prayer is one of the simplest hours to pray, and it contains the Canticle of Simeon. Use your luminary to wonder as a family at the light of Christ revealed to us each day.