Stained Glass Window Design: How To Make A Stained Glass Window

Rather than spending money on a professional stained glass window, you can make your own using basic materials.

Stained glass windows have been gracing buildings with their colorful elegance for thousands of years. Once reserved as elaborate ornamentation for places of worship and royal castles, they can now be found everywhere. The art of creating an elaborate piece of stained glass takes expertise and persistence, but once completed it provides a stunning combination of beauty and function. Stained windows offer privacy without blocking out sunlight as drapes and blinds do. It can take a lifetime to master this ancient craft, but even the inexperienced can create a simple stained window with the appropriate supplies. If you have ever considered adding one of these graceful pieces to your home but cannot afford a professional window, consider following these steps to create your own.

There are two options for creating a stained glass window: one method involves working completely from scratch, while the other uses special paints to create faux stained glass. The choice you make will depend on how much time, materials, and effort you can devote to the project. For instance, the first approach involves cutting, soldering your design together, and then fitting it into a custom window frame. This will then need to be installed in your home, a process you should be familiar with before undertaking the project. On the other hand, the faux technique can be done on an existing window and will have similar results. The benefits are that it requires fewer tools and prevents installation hassles. The following article will offer instructions for each approach.

Classic Stained Glass

If you choose to undertake the task of creating a genuine stained glass window, your first concern should be a frame. If you have an existing window that you wish to replace with your creation, you may attempt to remove the frame. Once broken down into its four edges, it can be reassembled around the completed stained glass. On the other hand, you may wish to start with a new frame, in which case you can purchase the pieces for a prefabricated window. This will consist of four pieces cut to fill your window space, each specially designed with grooves on the interior to accommodate a pane of glass. If you choose this method, stain or paint each piece as you like, but do not assemble them yet. This will have to wait until you have made your stained glass pane.

Having done this, you need to settle on a pattern for the window. Avoid creating elaborate patterns with curved lines, as you will need to cut each piece of glass manually. You can search the internet or books to find simple designs and an idea of how colors are used in stained glass. Typically, bold colors are backed by neutrals tones or etched glass. (If you cannot find etched pieces, there are paints available that can create this effect.) Beginning with a thick piece of paper or cardboard cut to the same size that you want the glass pane to be, mark out your pattern. Cut the pieces apart carefully, following your lines exactly. These will serve as a guide when you cut your glass. Either begin with a clear piece of glass or search for flat pieces in your color choices. The first is the easier option, since you can paint it piece by piece after cutting using faux stained glass paints, which are available at most craft supply stores. Using rubber cement, attach each paper guide piece to the desired color of glass and allow it to dry. Once the cement has set, cut out each piece with a glasscutter. (These can also be found in varying sizes and prices at hobby shops.) Once this is done, clean the glass and sand any rough spots.

Arrange the pieces in the form of the completed window, laying them on top of a sturdy surface, (like a piece of plywood) covered in plastic sheeting. Once your window is arranged, apply epoxy in between each piece. This will give a surface on which the solder -- a modern lead replacement -- will rest. Clean off any epoxy that finds its way onto the top of the glass, as it will be impossible to remove once it is dry. Use a small stick or an old butter knife to create a concave surface in the epoxy. Once it has cured, apply the solder on top of the epoxy and allow it to dry. You can use a soldering gun if you are comfortable doing so or the liquid version. When all of this is done, you can place the stained glass pane in its frame, assemble it, and install it in the desired wall.

Faux Stained Glass

As mentioned earlier, there is a cut-free way to get stained glass results. Search your local hobby store for supplies, which include paints, stippling brushes, and instruction books. These offer patterns and a list of necessary materials. Basically, you will need black strips (these serve as lead seams), your chosen colors of paint, and special paints to create effects like etching. You can also buy readymade shapes of leaves, flowers, and other traditional stained glass design pieces. By attaching these to a piece of wax paper and filling them in with paint, you can create a sort of sticker. This is applied to your pre-existing window, along with the "lead" lines to create the illusion of a real stained glass window. Finally, you apply background colors directly to the windowpane and allow the finished product to dry. This is a quick and easy alternative to the traditional method and allows you to create designs that are more elaborate as a novice. Also, it can be peeled off if you get tired of the pattern, leaving you with a "clean slate" to work on.

In conclusion, it is highly rewarding to learn this craft. It can be as simple or sophisticated as you wish to transform a plain window into a colorful splash of artwork. Better yet, as your skill increases, you can expand the size and elaborateness of your projects. Any corner of your home that dons a stained glass window will become a dazzling point of interest and a source of pride.

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