Saturday, April 2, 2011

Craft Project: Stations of the Cross Prayer Gems

I was brainstorming an interactive way to pray the Stations of the Cross with my very antsy 8-year-old daughter.  I love the Stations of the Cross boxes described by Lacy on her Catholic Icing blog but I was also looking for something my daughter could quietly use at the Stations of the Cross devotion at my church on Friday nights. 

While pondering this, I saw the bag of clear glass gems sitting on my desk, waiting to be used for a yet-unknown craft project.  I wondered:  could I decoupage small stations of the cross pictures to the back of the stones?  I quickly googled some images, pasted them into Microsoft Publisher and sized them to fit behind the glass stones and printed them out. I cut them out in circular shapes then placed them behind the glass stones.  I loved the dimensional effect that the glass gives the pictures!

A few hints, if you would like to make these yourself:

1) You can purchase a bag of clear glass gems at many dollar stores. Look for larger, round shaped gems.

2) Use brightly colored, crisp images.  I experimented with several different drawing types and found that the duller colors did not pop as much. You can use black and white images but they aren't as impressive. The traditional images on this page worked best for me.

3) If you are printing the images from an inkjet printer, allow the images to dry completely and then seal them with a light coating of hair spray. Inkjet images tend to run when exposed to Mod Podge and other decoupage mediums. The hair spray (sprayed on front and back of image) seems to prevent image bleeding.

4) I attached the image to the glass gem by applying a light layer of Mod Podge to the back (flat side) of the gem, then gently pressing the image side into the Mod Podge. Rub your finger along the back to remove any air bubbles.

5) After the image has dried to the glass gem, apply 2-3 additional coats of Mod Podge to the back of the image to seal it to the gem.

6) I printed the station's number on the back of each gem with a permanent marker. (If you have sealed it well with Mod Podge, the permanent marker does not bleed through to the image.)

7) I printed out some small Stations of the Cross cards that my daughter can use with these prayer gems. I found the cards at Kathryn's The Bookworm blog here. (Thank you, Kathryn!)

8) You will probably want some sort of simple carrying case for the prayer gems and cards. I originally planned to store the gems in a small black bag that I already had, but instead purchased some canvas pouches that my daughter and I dyed purple. (I'll try to post photos of the completed bags later.)

Here's a larger view of the completed gems:


  1. These are true "gems" you've created! Love this idea and thank you for sharing. I've just discovered your lovely blog and now a new follower:-) God Bless!

  2. These are beautiful! I bet they look really neat through the glass, since they are glued to the back?

  3. Thanks also for the hairspray reminder to prevent bleeding of the images. Good tip!

  4. Thanks for stopping by, Tiffany! And for "following" me!

    Monica, yes, the glass gives the images a very unique look. Hard for me to describe or to photograph to catch the true effect. It reminds me of a glass paperweight that fascinated me as a kid. My dad kept it on his desk. It was a simple drawing of the Niagara Falls but the glass did something to the image to really make it pop.

  5. This is great! Thanks for sharing.