DIY colored glue letters, numbers, and shapes for the light table

This is actually still kind of a work in progress that I started exploring last school year…

I was hoping to create our own letters and numbers for the light table – and for the most part, this worked very well but it does still need tweaked a bit…

Colored Glue

To start with, we made our own colored glue using a process that is just like this post from Almost Unschoolers….

Making letters, numbers, and shapes

To make our glue shapes, we started by placing letter, number, and other shaped cookie cutters on a sheet of contact paper. Place the contact paper sticky side up on your table, then firmly press the flat side of your cookie cutters to the contact paper. This does a good job of holding most of the cookie cutters in place – keeping the glue from leaking out of the bottom of the cookie cutters…

Next, begin filling up each cookie cutter with your colored glue. I suggest filling the cookie cutters up about half full…

Once the glue is added to the cookie cutters, set them aside to dry. The drying time depends on how much glue you use but it could be several days before the glue is completely dry.  Now keep in mind, the longer the glue dries, the harder the glue becomes.  For example, after one day of drying time, our glue was pretty dry and the objects were somewhat flexible or bendable. After the glue dried for several days, our objects became very hard and were not bendable at all…

While pouring the glue into the cookie cutter molds, don’t worry if the glue doesn’t spread all the way to the edges of the mold right at first.  As the glue sits in the cookie cutter mold – it will most likely start to flatten and spread throughout the mold…

We also made a few glue designs on the contact paper without the molds just to see how that would work out…

The glue spreads out more without the cookie cutter mold but it can work fine too for most basic shapes but for some reason, it was harder to get the shapes without the cookie cutter molds off of the contact paper after they dried…

Once your glue shapes are completely dry – then you can begin to peel them off the contact paper and out of the cookie cutter molds.  This is the tricky part. We broke some of our thinner glue shapes as we were popping them out of the cookie cutter molds…

The kids loved popping the shapes out of the molds, so I just let them go for it…

In the end, we didn’t end up with a full set of letters or numbers because we broke a few along the way but we still used what we had left to explore on our light table…

I still have quite a few left over that even after months of play, did not break. I am planning on making more but I like I said, this is a work in progress and I haven’t perfected how to keep them from breaking along the way – but what we did make turned out fantastic on the light table!  I think they just might make fun game pieces too!

Have you made something like this with glue? Got any tips to share? Leave a comment below!

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Check out all of the ideas you can do with Glue on Pinterest!

By |2012-08-13T07:00:40+00:00August 13th, 2012|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Kaci Lusk August 13, 2012 at 9:26 am - Reply

    Perhaps if you spray the cookie cutters with cooling spray, the glue won’t stick to the sides as much???

  2. Kaitlyn August 13, 2012 at 9:34 am - Reply

    Great idea! Maybe try rubbing some Vaseline on the inside of the cookie cutter before adding the glue, might help them pop out easier!

  3. Olivia August 13, 2012 at 11:57 am - Reply

    great idea!

    I’ve done a similiar thing making suncatchers to hang in the window. Just rubbed a lid with vaseline before adding glue and beads.

    • Michele August 14, 2012 at 10:05 am - Reply

      Guess I to my answer, did the leave marks on the windows?

  4. Kristah August 13, 2012 at 6:17 pm - Reply

    We use to make melted snowmen using glue. I put them on the extra portion of lamination that comes out of the machine when you first start it. They came off real easy, but I don’t know how it would help with cookie cutter ones.

  5. Amy M August 13, 2012 at 6:29 pm - Reply

    Another great idea!! Even without a light table these could be fun. 🙂

  6. Mary August 13, 2012 at 7:56 pm - Reply

    I love this idea. Still don’t have a lightbox or a black light for that matter (seen so many wonderful things with both…gotta try them) but like Amy said, I think we would have so much fun with these even without the lightbox. Thanks for the idea (pinned it).

  7. Km August 13, 2012 at 9:57 pm - Reply

    I bet the non stick cooking spray would help! LOVE your GLUE ideas!!!!

  8. E.T. August 14, 2012 at 7:47 am - Reply

    This is such a fun idea! For the ones where you are not using the cookie cutters, wax paper works well and the glue images come off easily.

  9. Amanda Carman August 14, 2012 at 8:13 am - Reply

    I love your blog!

    We made blue ponds for our Going on a Bear Hunt project in a similar way.
    To make the ponds, we poured small piles of Elmer’s glue on a plastic bag and mixed in a little blue food coloring with a Q-tip. After they dried, we peeled them off. I am eager to experiment more with this technique.

  10. Michele August 14, 2012 at 10:03 am - Reply

    Thanks for the fun idea!

  11. Michele August 14, 2012 at 10:04 am - Reply

    The remind me of window clings, has anyone tried them on windows?

  12. Susan Case August 14, 2012 at 11:51 am - Reply

    Very inventive. I’ve never seen anything like this before. Love it and love the light tables.

  13. Bec August 20, 2012 at 5:46 am - Reply

    What a fantastic idea!

  14. Charmaine August 23, 2012 at 1:33 pm - Reply

    I just wanted to give you an idea for the removing the letters from the cutters. If you put vasaline or shortening on the inside rim of the cookie cutters it should come out easier. I do this when I am using a form for paper mache or anything else that uses a form.

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