I get up in the middle of the night almost every night to let out my geriatric dog who doesn’t have the same bladder control he once had. He’s also half-blind, so I have a couple nightlights lining the path from my bedroom down to the backdoor. Safety first, folks. I’ve developed an odd love for nightlights–they come in so many different and creative styles–and I’ve been slowly collecting them. Here’s my attempt to make a faux stained glass nightlight. This is a pretty involved craft project, but I found it very satisfying and fun.
1 sheet vellum (this is translucent paper, found at any craft store)
1 sheet black cardstock
1 Exacto knife (and surface to use knife on, like self-correcting mat)
Multi-use glue (for paper and wood)
1 small embroidery hoop (found at any craft store)
18 gauge wire
Basic nightlight with removable front (I got mine at Home Depot)
Glasses of different sizes or compass to draw circles
Step 1: Trace the outside of the embroidery hoop onto both the cardstock and the vellum, so that the circles are slightly bigger than the hoop. Cut out the cardstock only.
Step 2: Find a stained glass pattern online that you like. I wanted something that I could freehand easily so I used this pattern (I also like this one). I traced a series of different sized glasses to make the circles within each other, and then I free-handed the straight lines.
Step 3: Use an Exacto knife to cut out the negative space. This requires a little forethought because you need to have black lines that interconnect the entire pattern and separate the sections, so you can’t just cut along the lines. I cut a few millimeters on either side of the lines to accomplish this. You can make these lines as thin or thick as you want, but if you want the next step to be easier, make the lines thicker (I found this out the hard way–my lines were pretty thin).
Step 4: Next up is the coloring. Lay the vellum circle on top of the black cardstock. Using regular markers, color in sections of the vellum that correspond to the sections cut out in the cardstock. You don’t want to trace those sections onto the vellum and then color, because you’ll be able to see the pencil lines when you finish. So you have to keep the vellum in place while adding color to each section.
I think an alternative method could be to glue the vellum to the back of the cardstock and then add color. I didn’t do it that way because I was afraid the errant marker strokes would show up on the cardstock, but now I’m thinking that would have worked fine (and been much easier than keeping the vellum positioned on top of the card stock). Another option is to use colored tissue paper instead, gluing it to the vellum–if you choose this approach, you may find it difficult to keep each section a separate color, but it would still look pretty. When you’re done applying your color, glue the vellum to the back of the cardstock. I ran glue around the outside circle, and then around the innermost circle.
Step 5: Embroidery hoops have a screw to pull the hoop together or apart. Remove by unscrewing. Using pliers,bend the two pieces of metal that are now sticking outside the hoop, inside. You may need to manipulate a little to get the hoop as tightly together as possible.
Step 6: Thread the wire through the two inside holes. You want the wire to be as flush as possible to the bottom of the hoop. This may take a bit of working. When the wire is through the holes, bend it horizontally away from the hoop. If you’re having trouble working with this gauge of wire, you may want to try a thinner gauge (remember, the larger the number, the thinner the wire).
Step 7: Glue the cardstock/vellum to the hoop using wood glue, on the side away from the where the wire is sticking out.
Step 8: Bend the wire around the nightlight–there should be a groove above the base, where the original front attached. Bend around the back, pressing close to the nightlight. And you’re done!
Keep an eye on the nightlight the first few times you use it. I’ve been watching mine to make sure the bulb doesn’t burn the paper. I don’t think it will–the bulb hardly generates any heat–but just to be on the safe side.