One beautiful new design, coming right up! Today’s project is a creative merging of two things I love: stained glass art and birds! Read about what prompted this stained glass blue heron piece, and make one for yourself with just a few simple tools/materials.
It’s no secret that I’m not a big fan of winter: the cold weather, the darkness, the overall wet/muddiness of it all…pretty much any of it. And since I don’t ski or snowboard, I’m left feeling trapped inside all winter long, which doesn’t really help my mood.
This year, I resolved to change my attitude (at least a little bit) by finding one outdoor, winter activity that I could do with my family. Utah is known for its recreation; and, one of those recreational activities just happens to be birding! The great thing about birding is that it can be done year-round, it doesn’t require expensive equipment or lift passes, and even if you don’t know all that much about birds, you can still have a good time.
So, that’s how I came to discover my newfound winter (and hopefully year-round) hobby of birding. I bought a pair of binoculars, and a nifty little Birds of Utah Field Guide, and we were on our way!
After a few birding excursions, we’ve seen more species than I could have imagined, including some amazing blue heron. I had never seen blue heron before, and I was completely awestruck when we saw dozens of them amongst the frozen, foggy landscape of a local bird refuge!
While contemplating what type of design to do next, my mind just kept coming back to these stunning creatures, and that’s what spurred me to create this stained glass blue heron design.
When I first conceptualized this piece, I imagined that I would do layers of cardstock, like usual, but two things struck me: (1) if all of the colors were cut individually out of cardstock, they would come out super tiny and be hard to work with, and (2) wouldn’t it be awesome if this could actually be translucent (like an actual stained glass window)!?
That’s why I decided to utilize vellum for the “glass” piece and reserve cardstock for the “metal” outlines.
I’ve never experimented with printing on vellum before, but I was extremely happy with the results! I was also nervous that the “print then cut” feature wouldn’t work properly because of the translucent quality of the material, but my Cricut kicked butt, as usual.
Note: if you’re planning on utilizing Cricut’s “print then cut” feature to do this project, make sure to ungroup all fo the layers first; then select everything, besides the “outline” layer, and hit flatten.
Once I had my vellum piece printed and cut out, along with my cardstock outline, I just attached them with a little hot glue, and voilà!
I use Adobe Illustrator for all of my designs, and a Cricut Maker to bring my creations to life. For tips on creating fun paper cuts like this one, see the FAQ section on my website. Also, be sure to check out the other awesome freebies available on my blog!
Enjoy making this lovely stained glass blue heron craft! What is your favorite bird to see in the wild?
*This post contains affiliate links. By clicking through my links to make a purchase, you are supporting this blog and the hard work that goes into providing free, quality designs.
Helen RobertsFebruary 13, 2020 at 6:25 am (3 years ago)
Gorgeous! Thank you for sharing.
MandeeFebruary 13, 2020 at 8:25 am (3 years ago)
Thanks Helen! So glad you like it. 😊
MargaretFebruary 13, 2020 at 7:41 am (3 years ago)
Wow! You continuously amaze me! This is really stunning! I’ve never used print then cut with my Cricut and have no ink in my printer. My mind is trying to contrive an alternate way to make this happen.
MandeeFebruary 13, 2020 at 8:26 am (3 years ago)
Aww, thank you!!
I didn’t try it, but I was thinking of possibly just cutting the pieces out and then painting or coloring the vellum by hand—you could try that!! And if you do, be sure to let me know how it turns out. 😀
Patti SchaferFebruary 13, 2020 at 8:31 am (3 years ago)
This is gorgeous. What a beautiful way to capture nature!
MandeeFebruary 13, 2020 at 8:44 am (3 years ago)
Thank you Patti! ❤️
Charlotte SilberFebruary 13, 2020 at 10:03 am (3 years ago)
this is a gorgeous design. Thanks for sharing. Have a great day.
MandeeFebruary 13, 2020 at 12:23 pm (3 years ago)
Thank you Charlotte! Wishing you a wonderful day as well!!
CarmenFebruary 13, 2020 at 10:55 am (3 years ago)
Beautiful!!! Thanks for sharing this with us!
MandeeFebruary 13, 2020 at 12:26 pm (3 years ago)
You are very welcome. I’m glad you like it! 😀
Bethany AllieFebruary 13, 2020 at 10:56 am (3 years ago)
My Cricut Maker is on order as a Valentines Prezzie from my hubby. I want to make this heron for my mother in law. I’m not sure where to start with accessing your free cut files in Cricut Design space. Any tips?
MandeeFebruary 13, 2020 at 12:29 pm (3 years ago)
Ooo, what an awesome Valentine’s Day gift! I’m so excited for you!!
This project doesn’t have too many components, but setting up “print then cut” files can be a little tricky, I would maybe start with a more “standard” design first. OR, just go for it! There’s really no wrong answer—just follow your creative heart. 😊
Martha BFebruary 13, 2020 at 11:15 am (3 years ago)
Love this! Reminds me of our cabin by the lake. We get a lot of Herons there. Thank you
MandeeFebruary 13, 2020 at 12:29 pm (3 years ago)
Really? How awesome—they are such beautiful birds!!
KathyFebruary 13, 2020 at 12:02 pm (3 years ago)
This is an absolutely wonderful idea! It’s beautiful and I want to thank you for sharing with us.
MandeeFebruary 13, 2020 at 12:30 pm (3 years ago)
Thank you Kathy! I’m so pleased that you like it. 😊
JeanetteFebruary 13, 2020 at 1:29 pm (3 years ago)
This is soooo lovely! Thank you
MandeeFebruary 17, 2020 at 12:16 pm (3 years ago)
Thanks Jeanette! Glad you like it. 🙂
nadiaFebruary 13, 2020 at 2:00 pm (3 years ago)
Wonderful project! I was wondering… do you use a laser printer or a ink printer to realize it?
MandeeFebruary 17, 2020 at 12:17 pm (3 years ago)
Good question! I just used my inkjet printer for this, but I’d be curious to see if it would work with a laser printer too.
CindyFebruary 13, 2020 at 10:22 pm (3 years ago)
The whole time I was reading, I thought it was a stained glass piece! I was so surprised to read that you printed it on vellum!! Very clever, creative and beautiful!
MandeeFebruary 17, 2020 at 12:19 pm (3 years ago)
Aww, thank you Cindy!! I really love the look of stained glass, so this is how I decided to bring the style into “my medium.” 😊
Judi JohnsonFebruary 13, 2020 at 11:11 pm (3 years ago)
I Love Love this pattern. But if you need another bird idea, How about a FLAMINGO! Using this same idea it would look fabulous. Just an idea for you in case you needed one. I love your work and so glad I found you.
MandeeFebruary 17, 2020 at 12:20 pm (3 years ago)
Thanks Judi! With how well this turned out, I’m definitely considering making more, so thanks for the suggestion! A flamingo would definitely be pretty!!
Catherine McCroryFebruary 14, 2020 at 5:38 am (3 years ago)
I love this! I hope you don’t mind, but I changed the colors on it and changed it to a white egret. I love it both ways. I live in Myrtle Beach and see both birds all the time.
MandeeFebruary 17, 2020 at 12:21 pm (3 years ago)
How awesome!! I haven’t seen a white egret yet (they are only here in the summer), but I’m hoping to see one for myself soon—beautiful birds! 😀
Martha BFebruary 27, 2020 at 5:29 pm (3 years ago)
My Explore Air 2 can’t seem to read the sensor marks on the printed vellum. I’m using 30lb. vellum. What weight did you use?
MandeeFebruary 28, 2020 at 8:20 am (3 years ago)
Darn! I’m so sorry to hear that. It sounds like the vellum I’m using is quite similar: 29lb. I wonder if it would help to add some small pieces of white paper behind the registration marks and then tape down the edges on your cutting mat.
Otherwise, you could always print the outline of the PDF version, place it behind your vellum sheet, trace around it, and cut it by hand.
Martha BFebruary 28, 2020 at 11:34 am (3 years ago)
Good idea. Thanks
CindyFebruary 28, 2020 at 9:47 am (3 years ago)
Love it! I just made it using the vellum and print and cut as you suggested, it’s gorgeous! Plus I have a huge roll of vellum and never knew what to do with it.
MandeeFebruary 28, 2020 at 11:14 am (3 years ago)
Yay! I’m so glad it worked for you!! And that you found a good use for that vellum of yours. 😉