How To Make A Stained Glass Window With Your Own Hands

A stained-glass window will make any door more solemn, and the room’s design will be more unusual, clearly emphasizing the uniqueness of the apartment. If you have doors with glass, you can risk creating a stained glass window. Moreover, to make stained-glass windows with your own hands, it is not necessary to invite a master; almost everyone can handle this business—enough desire to achieve the goal, a little perseverance, and precise execution of the tips below. So, let’s look at how easy it is to make stained-glass windows with your own hands!

Materials For Creating A Stained Glass Window With Your Own Hands

How To Make Stained Glass Art
  • PVA emulsion (sometimes called white glue)
  • special stained glass paints or aniline dyes (those used for dyeing fabrics)
  • aluminum wire 1.6mm thick

The Use Of Stained Glass In The Interior

Many centuries have passed since the invention of glass for stained glass, and mankind still admires the narrow and long windows of temples and cathedrals, palaces, and houses of the rich nobility of the Late Middle Ages. Any glass was an expensive luxury, especially stained glass in those days. They were made based on a cellular metal pattern, into which segments of smalt and colored Murano glass were inserted precisely corresponding to the pattern.

The word “stained glass” is of Latin origin, where vitreum is translated as “glass,” but now it refers to colored drawings on glass. Numerous pilgrims and sightseers of historical monuments are impressed by the images of saints on glass, which transmits light through colored cells. Breaking stained glass with biblical scenes in an Orthodox church or Catholic cathedral was considered blasphemy, especially since they had been created for decades.    

Stained glass painting has long gone beyond religious buildings. Today, stained glass on glass is back in fashion, and the most varied subjects are used. Artists specializing in stained glass painting offer more and more new techniques that reduce the cost of creating glass inserts shining with colors.

This special, highly artistic decor can give the apartment’s interior a more expensive and respectable look. And today stained-glass windows are widely used wherever they are appropriate:

  • window panes;
  • large plafonds of ceiling lamps;
  • false windows with illumination;
  • interior doors;
  • glass partitions for zoning large areas;
  • graceful countertops of small tables in the living room;
  • frameless interior glazing;
  • translucent screens between 2 adjacent rooms;
  • multi-level and suspended ceilings;
  • sliding cabinet doors;
  • fireplace screens;
  • table, floor, and wall lamps;  
  • translucent inserts in the ceilings;
  • inserts on wall niches;   
  • art objects and souvenirs.

Depending on the overall task, you can choose the transparent or opaque stained glass. If it is essential that the light partially penetrates the room, but what is happening behind the partition is not visible in detail, choose opaque glass for stained glass:

  • stained glass screen in the bathroom (in the shower room);
  • a glass partition between kitchen and bathroom;
  • impenetrable interior doors with an insert in the bedroom;
  • the partition between the toilet and bathroom.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Stained Glass Inserts

Mastering the art of stained glass painting is within the power of everyone who wants to make stained glass windows on glass with their own hands. It is useful to master the glass painting technology for decorating personal space, and then you can use it as additional income. And while a beautiful stained glass window is a real art, you don’t have to be an artist; many masters use ready-made sketches for intricate drawings with clear boundaries on the glass.

Self-made stained glass is a fascinating process, reminiscent of children’s “coloring books,” where each cell of the picture is filled with a specific color within the finished contours. And it also resembles a children’s kaleidoscope with colored glass between the mirrors, where it is exciting to observe delightful patterns.         

A significant advantage is that each stained-glass window is unique, even if a ready-made sketch was used. Any image is obtained due to the choice of a particular technique, the method of applying and selecting dyes, and cell boundaries.

Obtaining the selected picture of stained-glass windows on glass is an exciting activity that even a schoolboy can master. It is interesting to make it for the whole family, being careful when working with glass, the edge of which can be temporarily pasted over with masking tape. If you work with acrylic paints, you do not need any special devices. The traditional technique of making stained glass and metal requires a separate workshop. And some methods of glass etching involve the use of chemicals.   

With proper organization of work and with a ready sketch, drawing on glass can be completed relatively quickly. And if you have artistic skills and a delicate taste, then making stencils and stained-glass windows on glass with your own hands is a great hobby or a way of creative self-realization. In this case, you can try which stained-glass windows will be most interesting:

  • drawn;
  • cut;
  • glued;
  • soldered.  

The simplest drawing methods have their drawbacks – the drawing may be unstable. The simplest loose image has to be done between 2 glasses in a frame, keeping it as a souvenir so that it does not wash off. But this is more about children’s creativity. And if you decide to decorate the apartment with real works of art, using special paints on glass, the stained-glass window should be elegant and attractive. It is unlikely that “something” special will come out the first time; you will have to practice several times to master the technique.

Varieties Of Techniques For Stained Glass Painting

Different Types Of Stained Glass

Stained glass on glass used to be performed by the most time-consuming method, when a metal pattern was made, consisting of cells. Then, a piece of glass of a certain color, cut precisely to the shape of each cell, was inserted into each free gap. The most challenging thing was to make symmetrical images – the patterned metal grid could not match in shape, and each fragment was cut separately. The glass had to be fixed, and even so that there were no gaps that let air and water through.

The classic soldering method is still used today, but less expensive, labor-intensive, and inexpensive stained glass painting techniques are applicable in domestic conditions. The most popular techniques today include:

Classic Stained Glass

This is the very first stained glass technique known since the Middle Ages. Such stained-glass windows are assembled from pieces of glass held by metal partitions. This is a rather complicated and time-consuming work that requires special equipment and skills; moreover, such stained-glass windows are expensive. And they turn out to be quite heavy, so you can not install such a stained-glass window on some fragile structure.

However, as the saying goes, “hunting is worse than bondage,” and such trifles cannot stand in the way of creating beauty.

Now you can buy ready-made glass for stained glass in specialized stores. The choice is fascinating, as the variety of colors and textures can awaken the imagination of even the most conservative person.

Stained Glass

However, the cost of such glasses is very high, and for the manufacture of 1 sq.m of stained-glass surface, as a rule, 1.5 – 2 sq.m. glass. For the manufacture of lamps, floor lamps, and chandeliers, glass with a thickness of 3-4 mm is used, and the thickness of different types of glass can vary within one sheet of glass, so it isn’t easy to calculate the required amount of glass per product. Surely there will be unclaimed pieces of expensive material.

Stained Glass Tiffany

At home, you can make a stained glass window using Tiffany technology, but this will also require the ability to work with glass.

Stained glass work begins with a sketch. The details should also not be too small. Otherwise, they cannot be cut out of glass normally.

 The sketch is cut into parts; each part is applied to a sheet of colored glass of the desired color, after which, with the help of a glass cutter, a part is cut out.

Then the edge of the parts will need to be turned evenly and wrapped with copper foil. When everything is ready, the parts need to be folded into a composition, tightly pressed against each other.

The edge of the foil must be coated with soldering acid, and then the seams must be joined using tin and a soldering iron. At the end of the work, it will be necessary to wash the stained-glass window so that no plaque remains on the seams. You can do this with a regular detergent.

 The seams will need to be covered with a patina and washed again, thereby completing the work.

Film Stained Glass

Making stained glass windows of this type is best suited for home conditions since there is no need to buy special equipment and expensive materials. This is a stained-glass window on glass, but on a single piece, the glass does not need to be cut into pieces, it does not need to be turned, it is not necessary to spend money on adhesive plasters because there will be no cuts on the fingers.

The entire drawing is mounted on solid glass. It can be a windowpane, a door or decorative wall panel, or a tiny decorative element.

To make film stained glass, you will need a special film. The leaders in quality among those available on the markets are English films. This is not an ordinary self-adhesive film. It is a fantastic technological imitation of glass.

The film consists of a dye between two durable layers that do not transmit ultraviolet light and protect the paint from fading and withstand temperatures from -45 degrees to +135 degrees Celsius. The films have an incredible range of colors and textures and differ in the degree of transparency.

Film cutting does not require special machines or other devices. However, enterprises or private workshops, where they work with many orders, use plotters’ digital devices for precise cutting according to the applied pattern. At home, it is enough to have scissors.

Fusing

In another way, this technique is called sintering. On a colorless glass base, pre-cut multi-colored glass pieces are laid out, placed in an oven, and, under the influence of temperature, the glasses are sintered together.

Also, other objects can be used to create a pattern, for example, colored sand, with which patterns are laid out, or wire. Of course, this method cannot obtain contour images, but the abstractions are bizarre and beautiful

Sandblasted Stained Glass

The technique for making stained glass windows of this type is airflow and sand. There are three subspecies of stained glass windows of this type, which differ in how they use an air jet and colored sand.

Etching

Stained glass windows are made with acid. A unique protective film is applied to the glass and a stencil with the contours of the pattern, along which the image is melted. Such stained-glass windows are embossed with three-dimensional drawings. It is worth noting that the technique of working with acid is hazardous and therefore rarely used. To not be poisoned by acid fumes, artists wear respirators and special clothing. Unsuitable for the home.

Cast Stained Glass

A complex technique in which each glass module is cast or blown by hand, while the glass is given a special texture that enhances the refraction of light and provides expressiveness to the stained glass. Glasses are fastened together with metal fittings and cement mortar.

Painted Stained Glass

This technique implies the mandatory use of painting. And such a product can be called a stained glass window with a big stretch, but nonetheless. The surface of the glass is painted either with opaque acrylic paints and then, after drying, varnished or painted with expensive silicone transparent stained glass paints, and then the glass is fired in a special oven. Of course, no one wants to burn anything at home.

Filled Contour Stained Glass Window

This is just an imitation of a classic stained glass window since no glass processing is required here. Stained-glass windows of this type are made using special paint. First, a contour is applied that imitates a stained glass frame, and then another layer of paint is poured into the area bounded by the contour.

What Paints To Use For Stained Glass Windows?

Painted Stained Glass Windows Patterns
  • Solution based on nitrolac NTs-2141 (or similar, another marking). You will need art oil paints and a solvent. In a separate container, nitrolac is diluted with the addition of a solvent (less than half). A pea-sized amount of artistic paint or a drop of pigment for construction work is added to the finished emulsion. We check the intensity of the paint on the glass; if it is not enough, we add more. The glass must first be degreased by wiping with a solvent such as acetone. A high-quality lacquer for a turn should be transparent, well-spreading, not curled up on the glass with bald spots.
  • Solution based on BF-2 glue. The emulsion is diluted on the basis of a solvent and any dye soluble in alcohol. For example, they use blue, purple, green, and red ballpoint pen ink. Glue and solvent are mixed in a glass jar, where the dye is added drop by drop to the required saturation. We try with a brush on the control glass.
  • On a gelatin basis and dyes for fabrics. Gelatin (5-6 gr.) in a paste is brewed with hot water, where diluted liquid paint is gradually introduced. You can first apply an image and then outline the boundaries, but it is better to make a “coloring” grid. Such a pattern requires fixing – after the bend has dried, the glass is coated with a colorless nitro-lacquer.
  • Artists use stained glass paintings with silicate paints for heat treatment. Particular chemical components create a mirror or matte surface on the stained-glass windows. Some techniques are not available for home painting, such as an engraved stained glass window created on special equipment.
  • The simplest method is to use ready-made stained glass or mirror stickers.  

Creating A Stained Glass Window With Your Own Hands

Custom Size Stained Glass Panels
  • Before you get down to work, decide what pattern you want on the glass and what colors it will be made up of. It can be just a multi-colored ornament, as, for example, in a kaleidoscope, or a drawing depicting birds, fish, flowers – in a word, whatever you think of.
  • Draw the pattern’s outlines on Whatman paper, graph paper, or cardboard, and mark where and what color to put it. If you can’t draw it yourself, ask an artistically gifted friend.
  • Remove the glass from the door leaf and degrease it by wiping with a swab dipped in acetone, the side on which you will perform the stained glass itself.
  • Fix Whatman paper or cardboard with a pattern on the back of the glass.
  • Then you need to put the glass strictly horizontally (use a level or a small ball for this).
  • Bend the necessary elements from the wire along the contours of the drawing, generously but gently smear them with PVA emulsion from the side adjacent to the glass, and place them on the glass. To make the wire stick more tightly, place a metal plate with a load. After an hour and a half, the wire will stick.
  • While the wire is glued, you can start preparing colors. Dissolve the aniline dyes in distilled water and strain the solution until there are no lumps or any solid particles. Mix this solution with the PVA emulsion. Make sure the mixture has the viscosity of cream; otherwise, it will be challenging to work with.
  • To check the saturation of the color, apply the mixture to a piece of glass. After drying, or polymerization, you will see what shade will turn out. If it is very bright, you can add an emulsion to the mixture if it is very pale, a dye solution. You can use ready-made stained glass paints. By the way, do not get carried away only with bright colors. The overall color scheme should be harmoniously balanced.
  • After all the colors are prepared, pour them into glass jars and cover them with a lid so that they do not dry out prematurely, and you can proceed to the most critical stage of work – applying colors to the marked areas.
  • This requires a clean brush and some practice. The fact is that the color must be applied strictly sequentially, gradually pouring the solution with a brush at the contour of the pattern from the wire and beyond.
  • When adding more and more color with a brush, keep an eye on the total thickness of the layer since the saturation of the covered spot and the portion of uniformity of its tone will ultimately depend on this. In no case should you touch the already formed layer again because the emulsion begins to polymerize (dry) under the influence of contact with air, and new portions of fresh color, as well as just touching with a brush, will undoubtedly upset the balance of the process and lead to a defect? It is best to gently wash off this piece and allow the glass to dry entirely if this happens.
  • Having covered all the necessary areas with one color, you need to thoroughly rinse the brush and proceed to apply the next color. At the same time, to avoid possible leakage of one color into another, in case of loose gluing of the contour wire, it is better to fill the color only in the vicinity of already hardened spots. In any case, it is necessary to be careful with areas already flooded and, just in case, keep clean cotton wool and a container of water on hand.
  • But here everything went well. Take a close look at the reverse side of the stained glass window. Since the places where the wire veins are glued do not always look neat, mask them with a narrow, for example, white strip, drawn with a thin brush using enamel paint (of course, the glass must again be degreased first). And only after this strip is arid can you fix the stained glass window in place. Before doing this, paint the fastening glazing beads with at least aluminum paint – the same color as the wire veins.

These simple steps will help you get a neat stained glass window at home. A minimum of materials and money costs a maximum of pleasure from the work done and a beautiful, pleasing to the eye result.

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