This afternoon, Kaspar and I made a "stained glass" luminary for the DIY-fly mantel display we've been pulling together over the past several weeks. It was a perfect after-school, pre-holiday project, offering a variety of high-tactile tasks to keep my busy big-man interested and absorbed, but not with so many steps that I lost him along the way. He loved every minute of it -- all twenty or so. This project could work with younger toddlers, too, as well as bigger big-kids, who could experiment with creating actual shapes and images with the paper collage portion of the project. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's take it from the top:

Materials for this project are simple, green, and probably items you already have on hand. Gather up some tissue paper (just whatever you've amassed over birthdays and Christmases past... recycle!), a mason jar, and some Mod Podge and you're good to go. (Regular Elmer's glue might even work, but I haven't tried it.) Oh, and a big paintbrush, or something else to apply your glue with; we used a sponge already glittered from another craft project... and our hands.
Tear up the tissue paper into pieces of various shapes and sizes. Then, apply a first layer of Mod Podge/glue all over the mason jar.
Apply your tissue paper to the outside of the mason jar, adding as many layers as you'd like, and applying more glue over each layer. Be sure to flatten your paper out as you go; it can fold over onto itself in all kinds of messy ways, but flattening it so it's flush against the jar will make for a better-looking final product.
Finish with a final layer of Mod Podge/glue -- we also added some glitter for holiday sparkle -- and let dry.
Voila! You're finished! Just add a tea-light candle and some old-school Gene Autry tunes and boom: instant Christmas magic.

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