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How to Make a Colored Picture Look Like Stained Glass

Updated April 17, 2017

Stained glass is a form of painting on and with coloured glass that lets the light pass through the surface. This allows the surface of the artwork to glow and change tones, depending on the quality and colours of the light. The deep, rich colours found in stained glass, as well as its perceived depth, evoke an emotional response in the viewer. Using regular art and craft supplies, an artist can introduce the look and feel of stained glass in several ways.

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  1. Select a picture for your stained glass. Traditional designs include flowers, animals and people. Draw or print your design onto a sheet of paper the same size as the acetate. The picture on most stained glass windows extends to the edges, sometimes with a border of black lead.

  2. Put your design under the acetate and trace the outline onto the acetate with a black marker. Use a thick marker to duplicate the look of the black lead between the different parts of the stained glass design.

  3. Using a thin paint brush, colour in the parts of the design with craft glass paints. These give a transparent finish. Be careful to use clear, clean colours and do not mix or overlap them. Wash the brush well between using the different colours.

  4. Punch 1 or 2 holes in the top of the acetate. Tie some yarn through the holes to form loops and hang your stained glass in the window to catch the light.

  5. Replace the glass paint with tissue paper. Cut out small shapes from tissue paper of the appropriate colours. Dilute white glue with water in a 50/50 mix. Use this glue mixture to adhere the tissue paper pieces to the stained glass outline. The glue helps the tissue paper appear translucent when dry.

  6. Use the tissue paper process on black background paper. Lightly draw your design with pencil. Glue on the tissue paper with white glue using the glue brush, leaving the space between the different shapes and colours as the black background. Hang the picture on the wall.

  7. Use jewel-toned markers to colour in the stained glass design on the background. Apply clear nail polish over the picture to achieve the glow and shine of traditional stained glass.

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Things You'll Need

  • Picture or design
  • Acetate
  • Thick black marker
  • Paint brush
  • Glass paints
  • Hole punch
  • Yarn
  • Tissue paper (assorted colours)
  • Scissors
  • Black paper
  • White glue
  • Glue brush
  • Pencil
  • Coloured markers
  • Clear nail polish

About the Author

Christina Ash

Christina Ash has been writing since 1982, throughout her career as a computer consultant, anthropologist and small-business owner. She has published work in various business, technology, academia and popular books and journals. Ash has degrees in computer science, anthropology and science and technology studies from universities in England, Canada and the United States.

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