How to Make Stained Glass Kids’ Art With Fall Leaves

Do your kids like to collect pretty autumn leaves?

Looking for a way to bring the warmth of fall’s colors indoors?

Want to plan a fun family activity that only takes minutes?

Turn mementos from a fall nature walk into a lasting memory you’ll enjoy through the winter with a 10-minute project you and your kids will love.

In this article I’ll show you how to create homemade “stained glass” from colorful fall leaves in 3 easy steps.

How to turn mementos from a fall nature walk into a lasting memory you'll enjoy through the winter with a leaf project you and your kids will love.

Why Make Stained Glass Leaf Art?

There’s something fascinating about autumn leaves: to see something that was verdant just a few weeks ago magically transformed into bright yellows, deep oranges, rich reds and dark browns is mesmerizing to a child—or anyone, if you stop to think about it for a minute.

It’s great fun to take a walk with your family in search of the prettiest fall leaves, hearing the dry ones crunch underfoot as you look up into the canopy.

Fall leaf stained glass gives you a way to preserve the lovely leaves you gather and enjoy their colors long after the trees have gone bare.

It’s also a great way to get rid of those little scraps of broken crayon!

In this project, you’ll spend just minutes gathering a few items you probably already have at home.


Gather a few supplies from around the house.

You’ll enjoy a nature walk with your family.

collecting leaves

Have fun collecting colorful leaves.

And you’ll nurture your kids’ creativity with a simple craft project that yields beautiful results.

leaf stained glass

Leaf stained glass is surprisingly easy to make.

In 3 easy steps, you’ll be enjoying beautiful homemade stained glass.

You Will Need

  • A basket or bag to collect leaves in
  • Fall leaves
  • A roll of wax paper
  • Multiple crayons of different colors (This is a great way to use up the broken ones!)
  • A rolling pin or hammer to crush crayons
  • A clothing iron
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • A rag towel

Preparation Time

  • 15- to 30-minute walk outside to collect leaves
  • A few minutes to gather your materials

Activity Time

10 minutes to complete the stained glass project


Your neighborhood and home

Gather the supplies above before you go on your nature walk so your kids can jump right into the project after collecting the leaves.

#1: Get Ready… Gather the Leaves

The hunt for the best-looking leaf is an adventure all its own.

It’s a good idea to gather lots of leaves. You don’t have to use them all.

basket of collected leaves

Take a basket or bag on your walk for collecting leaves.

Try to make sure you have several different colors of leaves and a variety of sizes. It’s ok to include some green ones along with the reds, yellows and oranges.

Just for fun, take some time during your walk to play in the leaves.

kids in pile of leaves

Playing in the leaves makes great memories.

Make piles to jump in, cover each other up or just throw them in the air to enjoy a fall leaf shower. It’ll make great memories for your kids.

#2: Get Set… Set Up Your Work Area

Once you have gathered your leaves, get ready to make some homemade stained glass.

Peel the wrappers off of the crayons. If you’ve got tiny broken pieces of crayon floating around in your crayon box, this is the perfect time to use them.

remove crayon wrappers

Remove the paper wrappers from the crayons.

Place crayons between two pieces of wax paper.

crushing crayons

Crush the crayons between two pieces of wax paper.

The crayons need to be crushed down in size so they will melt more easily. Use a rolling pin or hammer to crush the crayons to pea-sized pieces or smaller.

Time-saver tip: You can turn on the iron while the kids are crushing the crayons. Be sure that the cord is not somewhere that children could trip over it. Always follow safety precautions so no one gets burned.

#3: Go… Make Stained Glass

Cut two sheets of wax paper to the same length.

Lay down a work towel (one that you won’t mind getting melted wax on).

Place one sheet of wax paper on the towel. Wax paper doesn’t have a “right” side, so either side will work the same.

arranging leaves on wax paper

Arrange leaves on the wax paper. Keep them away from the edges.

Here’s the artistic part: Arrange some leaves on the wax paper in a pleasing pattern and then sprinkle with crushed crayon.

crushed crayon

Add more color with bits of crushed crayon.

Make sure your leaves and the crayon bits are not too close to the edge of the paper. If they are, the stained glass will not seal properly.

Cover your creation with the second sheet of wax paper and press gently with the hot iron. Be sure to turn off the steam function.

ironing leaves

After ironing, the leaves and crayons will be “laminated” between two sheets of wax paper.

It’s interesting to see what the crayons look like when they’re melted into bright bursts of color.

Your autumn leaves will be pressed flat and preserved between the two sheets of wax paper so you can enjoy them all winter.

leaves preserved in wax

Nature’s beauty, preserved in wax.

Trim to desired shape. Be sure to leave a small border of wax paper around the leaves so it will stay stuck together.

trimming edges

Trim the edges off or cut into interesting shapes.

Tape to a window. You’ll be able to see the light shining through the melted colored wax. Voilà—you have a fall leaf stained glass masterpiece!

Try these variations:

Get creative with your shapes. Cut out your stained glass into hearts, diamonds or leaf shapes.

cut into different shapes

Cut into different shapes.

The possibilities are endless. One idea is to create several small cathedral-style stained glass arches.


Cut into arches to mimic a real stained glass window.

Don’t limit yourself to windows. Use your stained glass as a colorful addition to craft projects and gifts. Include them in greeting cards or use small ones as bookmarks.

Some Final Thoughts

Make it educational. If you have a little extra time, there are many other activities you can add to this project, including:

  • Have a leaf-finding scavenger hunt.
  • Sort the leaves you gathered by color, shape or specific kind.
  • Make nature journals. Have your children draw what the tree and leaves look like and write the name of the tree in the journal.

    leaf journal

    Draw pictures of the trees each type of leaf comes from.

  • Talk about how the tree looks different in each season (fall, winter, spring and summer).
  • Draw and identify the different parts of a tree (trunk, branches, leaves, roots…).

For older children, have them:

  • Identify the leaves you gathered.
  • Make a nature journal and include specific information such as the tree’s scientific name.

    recording information in journal

    Record information about leaves and trees you see in a journal.

What do you think? I would love to see how your homemade fall leaf stained glass project turns out. Please leave me comments and pictures in the box below.

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About the Author, Sarah Shipley

Sarah Shipley is a homeschooling mom of four girls, part time employee and runs an urban farm. When she’s not milking goats or preparing school lessons, Sarah enjoys creative writing. Other posts by »

  • Jennifer Ballard

    Thanks, Sarah! I remember doing this when I was a kid. It was fun then and fun again when I did it this weekend with my boys. Thanks for the warning about using an OLD towel underneath. We got a little overzealous with the crayon bits! Less is more with the crayons.

  • henry

    thanks Sarah …. I was just wondering what to do with our leaf collection! Much appreciated.

  • Apryl Parcher

    This looks like a FUN project–can’t wait to try it out with my daughter’s kids. :) Thanks for posting, Sarah!

  • Sarah Shipley

    I’m glad you enjoyed this craft! I agree, less is more with Crayons and no one wants melted wax where it doesn’t belong.

  • Sarah Shipley

    Oh I’m so glad to hear your leaf collection will be put to a fun use. If a leaf is super dry it might break apart during this activity so be sure that you use some what fresh leaves.

  • Sarah Shipley

    Thanks Apryl! I hope you enjoy :)

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  • KJ Ammerman

    Great job, Sarah! This is so simple and only requires 4 easy-to-find items to make. That’s always a big plus around our house!

  • Michael A. Stelzner

    Here is what we came up with (I think we put too many crayons in there)

  • Sarah Shipley

    Thanks Kristin!

  • Sarah Shipley

    Oh no! I hope you had a large rag towel under your project. I guess with this craft less can be better.

  • Michael A. Stelzner

    It actually looks awesome up against the window with light behind it :)

  • Crystal

    My daughter and I had a great time trying this out last night. I have to say – such an easy creative project – thanks for sharing. Check out the Thanksgiving version in the middle. I cut a Turkey shape from paper and positioned the leaves and crayon bits around it. We’ll give him a face with markers, etc. I held them up to the light to take the pics. Love this!

  • Michael A. Stelzner

    Looks awesome!

  • KirstenNelson

    I remember doing this when I was a kid, too. It was so fun. We still have a few leaves lying around. Will pick some up for our long holiday weekend. Thanks!!!

  • Sarah Shipley

    oh good :)

  • Sarah Shipley

    Wow! This is super cute! I love it!

  • Sarah Shipley

    My mom did this project with my brother and I ever year. Such good memories that now we get to share with our kids :)

  • Sarah Shipley

    A friend of mine shared with me this last weekend that her family did this project but instead of taping the finished produc in a window she taped the ends of the waxpaper together, placed a candle in the middle and made lanterns. Just thought I’d share that fun little twist :)

  • Crystal Foth

    This was super fun and quick – great post!

  • Crystal Foth

    Thanks for the reply! I love My Kid’s Adventures – as a busy full-time working mom – I look forward to these ideas to share with my daughter! Thank you for creating it!

  • Eddie Treizman

    This activity was a total success with my kids!. We took them to a botanical garden as a surprise activity and gathered leaves for another “unannounced game” when we came back home.

    They had so much fun and certainly got a real appreciation of the beauty in the shapes and colors of the different kind of leaves we picked…and were also so amazed by the colors that came out from their stained glass projects. Thank you very much for sharing this idea Sarah!

  • Sarah Shipley

    Thank you so much for giving it a try! I agree! The colors that come through the melted wax are very pretty and create such nice silhouettes of the leaves. I’m so glad you had some fun, family time with this project :)

  • CharlieDog & Friends

    I did this project with my kids years ago, when they were little. Of everything we “crafted” together, this project is the one they remember the best — even down to the details of where they sat when they did it (it was a house we moved from many years ago). There must be something about the colorful transformation that really stuck with them. Awesome.

  • Sarah Shipley

    Charliedog and friends, thank you so much for sharing this comment :) My parents did it with me as a kid and it has stuck with me all these years to pass down to my kids too! I guess it’s a timeless activity.

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