About Stained Glass Window Film

Written by linda marie
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About Stained Glass Window Film
Stained glass window film can be used in any design imaginable (stained glass...love image by Joann Cooper from Fotolia.com)

Stained glass overlay is designed to emulate traditional cut stained glass. While standard window film is limited in colour range, stained glass overlay polyester films are rich in colour, texture and patterns to offer the same variety found in traditional cut stained glass. Whether a church application, private residence or business, it is difficult for the "untrained eye" to tell the difference between stained glass overlay and traditional cut stained glass.

Film Cutting

Just as if it's a traditional cut stained glass piece, a pattern is created to size when stained glass window film is used. Rather than cutting individual pieces of glass to the pattern, film is cut. This can be done by hand with a razor blade or by using an architectural plotter like the ones made to cut vinyl signage. Without a doubt, intricate shapes cut more quickly with film than glass, which may require multiple cuts to create a single curve.

Film Application

Using a large light table, the pattern is taped down and the tempered glass placed on top of the pattern. Each piece of film is laid onto the glass with a special solution. A squeegee is used to remove all moisture between the film and glass. Each piece must be carefully inspected for air bubbles and specks of dust or debris that can easily get trapped between the film and glass. Once dried, excess film is trimmed and the piece is ready for leading. Film also may be applied on premise to existing windows. However, the process is much more time consuming on premise.

Lead Application

Lead with a self adhesive backing is applied exactly where lead came would appear in traditional cut stained glass. Special tools are used to burnish down each piece of lead. Once one side of the piece has been leaded, the piece is turned over so that the other side can be leaded to match. In traditional cut stained glass fabrication the came has a channel to insert the glass into and a cement or putty is used to hold it firmly within the channel.


Like traditional cut stained glass, stained glass overlay panels easily install over an existing window using glass clips or a tape and caulk method. Each stained glass overlay panel is solid, airtight and waterproof panel. At times, traditional stained glass has putty or cement that breaks down and lets air and moisture seep in between panels which can cause problems like window fogging and mould.


Like all window film, stained glass overlay film offers 99-percent ultraviolet protection. This means your furniture and furnishings are protected from sun damage like fading. In a bathroom, most building codes do not allow traditional stained glass. With stained glass overlay, even shower doors can be transformed into works of art. As a rule, depending upon sources, stained glass overlay is 20- to 30-percent less expensive than traditional cut stained glass.

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