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How to make a stained glass window

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The centuries old art and craft of making a stained glass window has changed very little from it’s origins hundreds of years ago. There is no labour saving modern way for these beautiful works of art to be made, just the labour intensive, traditional and time honoured process I am going to try to describe here. I have added photos to give you, the client an insight into this little known but fascinating craft, regaining popularity in recent years, and a fantastic way add traditional or modern beauty to any building, work place or home. For a more comprehensive explanation of the process please visit my blog where you can view a video of me making a stained glass window from start to finish.

When considering a piece of stained glass to be fitting into a window or door opening, the measurement and design are the first things to consider. The history and style of the building, the personal taste of the client or commissioner, whether the building has listed status with the National Heritage, budget and timescales all need to be taken into account.

The design process for creating a stained glass window is collaborative between myself and the client. Inspiration can come from anywhere, and I would recommend giving plenty of time for this stage for reflection and consideration.

Once the design has been agreed, the choice of glass can be made from hundreds of colours, textures and patterns.

The next stage is the construction and assembly of the stained glass window or door panel itself. First a full size ‘cartoon’ or drawing of the panel is made. Each section of glass is then cut to size and shape and laid aside in order.

Next, batons are fixed in place to the workbench to hold the panel in place. Then, lead is placed between each piece of glass, cut and bent to shape if necessary. Once this has been done, the leads are soldered to hold the glass tightly in place.

The last phase is to rub leaded light cement between the glass and the leads to strengthen and weatherproof the stained glass window. Finally a clean up and polish leaves the panel finished and ready to fix.