How to Create Stained Glass

How to Create Patterns for Stained Glass

People mastered how to make stained glass artwork in the 10th and 11th centuries, and stained glass became synonymous with the church art of medieval Europe. Stained glass windows are a staple of modern church art and architecture, but people can learn to make stained glass for secular decoration, too. With the abundance of cheap glass materials today, creating stained glass is an activity anyone can learn to do. Here’s a guide to learn how to create stained glass, which should help beginning artists.

Create a Stained Glass Pattern

  1. Select Your Materials – Select the stained glass material you’re going to use. Decide the basic colors you will start with. I would suggest the three primary colors (red, blue, yellow) to begin with, so you can put together a basic picture and play around with the shapes and color patterns.
  2. Draw A Pattern – To create a stained glass work of art, you’ll need to create a picture pattern, first. This pattern should combine to form a piece of stained glass art. The pattern should be the same size as your finished piece of art. Beginners should use basic geometric shapes like rectangles, triangles and squares. Drawing a pattern helps you fit the pieces together.
  3. Color Your Pattern – Color each shape in the pattern, so you’ll have an idea what the finished art will look like. This lets you experiment with the right color pattern, so your artwork will present a distinct art pattern, while your stained glass will together in a pleasant and balanced composition. Consider starting with a smaller piece of art for your first stained glass work, so your finished piece of art will be sturdier and less complicated.
  4. Trace Your Pattern on the Glass – Trace the pattern onto the glass, so you can cut the glass accordingly. Make certain that you trace a piece of stained glass for each shape in the pattern. Follow a key to cut the right color shapes for each piece of stained glass.
  5. Score the Glass – Score the stained glass by going over the traced outlines on the glass with a glass cutter. Remember to place the glass on a flat surface when cutting the glass. Apply firm and soft-to-medium pressure on the glass. Do not force the glass to cut, or else the glass may break dangerously. Do not cut glass when it is off the surface of the table, because the glass will fall when it breaks, and your hand is likely to slip past the broken glass still situated on the table (with the danger you’ll cut yourself).
  6. Groze the Glass to Make It Fit – Once your stained glass shards are cut, make grind or buff them to make them fit together. This process is called grozing. Try to fit your glass pieces together the way they will in the final product. Those parts that are too rough to fit together perfectly should be trimmed.
  7. Choose Your Binding Materials – Tin and lead can be soldered to bind your stained glass pieces. Copper foil is also used in some cases. Cement is used to weather proof stained glass, but can be messy.
  8. Learn Advanced Techniques Later – Once you have mastered basic techniques of stained glass art, you can move on to advanced techniques. These might include the use of circular shapes, the use of smaller patterns than the finished product to save time and materials and the incorporation of finer details, like facial features and hair.

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