How to Create a Faux Stained-Glass Window

Written by diane gardner
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Stained glass has graced the windows of churches and homes for centuries, long cherished for the beauty and privacy it offers. Traditional stained-glass techniques, however, often seem too complicated for casual hobbyists. Today, several options are available for creating a simulated stained-glass look. While pre-made, plastic, stick-on sheets can be purchased that resemble stained glass, the following simple project offers a unique and personalised option with a more realistic final look.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Rubbing alcohol or window cleaner
  • Cleaning cloths
  • Pattern outlined on paper
  • Tape
  • Liquid lead or stick-on lead strips
  • Tool for cutting, if using lead strips
  • Boning tool
  • Glass paint
  • Glass paint sealer

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  1. 1

    Clean the window thoroughly with rubbing alcohol or window cleaner and clean cloths.

  2. 2

    Tape the paper with the pattern on the back of the window so the sun can shine through the design. You will work directly on the glass, following the pattern placed on the opposite side of the glass.

  3. 3

    Trace the pattern on the window with liquid lead or stick-on lead strips. If using liquid lead, simply squeeze the liquid onto the glass along the lines of your design. If using lead strips, cut the strips with the cutting tool to fit the pattern. Practice placing the lead strips before cutting to ensure proper length and a neat look. Press the lead strips to the glass while the other hand guides the strips into place along the pattern.

  4. 4

    Using a boning tool, a tool available from the manufacturers of liquid lead and lead strips, make marks where the lead lines meet, to give the effect of soldering. If using liquid lead, allow about eight hours for the lead to dry completely before proceeding.

  5. 5

    Paint inside the lead with glass paint in various colours. Follow the paint manufacturer’s instructions. Paint along the edge of the leading first, to ensure a sealed look. Remove any air bubbles by tapping on the glass.

  6. 6

    Allow to dry completely and apply glass paint sealer according to manufacturer’s instructions. Enjoy!

Tips and warnings

  • If you make a mistake with the glass paint, allow it to dry for 24 hours, then try removing it with a craft knife.
  • Colouring books often provide great options for patterns, as do clip art flowers and graphic designs. Libraries and craft stores provide books filled with stained-glass patterns.
  • Feel free to create your own design. Simple and highly graphic designs work the best.
  • This technique can be used on any type of glass. One great option is to decorate the glass in a picture frame. Pull out the backing of the picture frame and create your design on the glass in the frame. To hold the glass in the frame, caulk the edges of the glass neatly into the frame.
  • Follow all manufacturers’ warnings for safety and use of all materials, including paints and liquid lead.

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