How to make a painted stained glass window

How to make a painted stained glass window

Painting a stained glass window or mirror is a fun project that will add elegance and a personal touch to any room of your home. You can update your decor with a painted stained glass design for a fraction of the cost of real stained glass. Listed below are the required supplies and instructions for both a painted window and painted mirror. The supplies can be found at any arts and crafts stores and home improvement stores. Please read through all the instructions before starting the projects.

Painted Stained Glass Window

  1. Plexiglas sheet
  1. Pattern for your design
  2. Leading strips
  3. Craft knife
  4. Liquid leading
  5. Glass paint (will say stained glass look on bottle), in colors of your choice
  6. Toothpicks
  7. Sealer for stained glass look glass paint
  8. Clear double sided tape

Step One. Measure your window and have a sheet of Plexiglas cut to fit.
You will paint on a sheet of Plexiglas then attach it to your window to get the look of stained glass. The Plexiglas is necessary because you need a flat surface or the paint will run as you are working. It also makes removal easier if you wish to eliminate or change your painted window in the future. Measure the window you want to be painted and record the length and width. Any home improvement store can cut a sheet of Plexiglas to fit your measurements. Have the sheet cut 1/36 of an inch less than the measurements of the window. This will allow the painted sheet to be mounted properly on the window when completed.

Step Two. Choose a design for your window.
There are many books with stained glass patterns that you can purchase or find at the library. Many online craft sites have free patterns available. Craft stores sell kits that come with patterns for windows and specify what colors to use. You may also draw your own design. Enlarge your pattern on a copy machine to fit the Plexiglas sheet. Place the pattern underneath the Plexiglas and secure with tape so the paper does not move during the painting process. You will be able to see the pattern through the Plexiglas.

Step Three. Place the leading strips on the outline of the pattern.
The leading strips (contain no real lead) are sticky on the back once the protective paper is removed. Place the strips on the Plexiglas carefully following the lines of the pattern underneath. Press down on the strips to make sure they are secure. Cut them with a craft knife to fit the lines of the pattern. Do not re-position the leading strips, they will lose their adhesive quality. The leading strips also come in shapes such as circles, squares, flowers, fish, etc. You can incorporate these shapes into your design if you wish.

Step Four. Seal the joints of the leading strips with liquid leading.
The liquid leading (contains no real lead) comes in a squeeze bottle with a long nozzle. Snip the end of the nozzle with scissors so you have a small hole in the end. Squeeze a small amount of the leading over the joints of the leading strips. The joints are the places where the leading strips intersect. This will give the project the look of soldered joints in real stained glass. Let the liquid leading dry for 24 hours before proceeding with the project.

Step Five. Paint your design.
The glass paint also comes in plastic bottles with nozzles. Again snip the end with scissors to form a small hole in the nozzle. Do not shake the bottle before painting. The glass paint does not need to be stirred and doing so will create unwanted air bubbles. You will fill in the sections created by the leading with paint. It is best to start painting in the center of the design and work your way out so you do not lay your arm in areas already painted. Start painting at the edge of each section close to the leading and move towards the center by gently squeezing the paint to fill in the area. The paint should be level with the top of the leading strips.

Using too much paint will spill into adjacent sections, and too little will cause the paint to pull away from the leading when dry. Gently move a toothpick back and forth throughout the paint to smooth it out. You may mix more than one color in a section with a toothpick to get a marbled look. Do not over mix or the colors will blend completely. Let each section dry about two hours before painting adjacent sections. This prevents the paint from two wet sections from bleeding into each other.

If any air bubbles form try popping them with a toothpick or lifting them out with a piece of tissue. It also helps to gently tap the Plexiglas from underneath to break the air bubbles. If you make a mistake let the paint dry 24 hours then carefully cut it away from the leading strips with a craft knife. Then re-paint the area. The paint will look cloudy at first but will dry transparent to look like stained glass. Let the paint dry 24 hours before adding sealer.

Step Six. Apply sealer to your project.
Apply the sealer to your painted project as per the manufacturer’s instructions. This will protect your painted window from fingerprints and changes in humidity. Let the project dry for 24 hours before hanging in the window.

Step Seven. Hang the Plexiglas sheet in the window.
Place the clear double-sided tape around the edges of your window. Mount the painted Plexiglas sheet onto the tape by pressing gently around the edges. After one week you may clean the painted window with a damp cloth.

There are a few different steps if you wish to paint a mirror, rather than a window with a stained glass look. Generally you will paint only around the edges to give a personal touch but still use the piece as a mirror. Below is the list of supplies and instructions for painting a mirror.

Painted Stained Glass Mirror

  1. Pattern for your design
  2. Blue tracing paper
  3. Leading strips
  4. Craft knife
  5. Liquid Leading
  6. Glass paint (will state stained glass look on bottle), in colors of your choice
  7. Toothpicks
  8. Sealer for stained glass look glass paint

Step One. Choose the design for your mirror.
There are books and online craft sites that offer patterns for decorating a mirror with a painted stained glass look. You may create your own pattern or buy precut leading designs and shapes to use. Remove the mirror from the wall and lay it flat on your work surface so the paint will not run. Enlarge or reduce the pattern on a copy machine to fit the mirror. Place the blue tracing paper on the mirror, then the pattern on top of the tracing paper. Trace over your design. When complete the pattern will be visible in blue lines on your mirror. Do not worry about the blue lines showing through, the leading strips will cover them when the project is complete.

Step Two. Follow steps three through six above for a stained glass painted window. You will follow the blue lines of your design to place the leading strips directly on the mirror.

Step Three. After applying the sealer you may hang the mirror. After a week you may use a damp cloth to clean the painted portion of your mirror. Do not use window cleaner on the painted portions as it can damage the paint.

You can paint a window or mirror for any room in your home. The sealer will protect the paint from humidity so even bathroom windows and mirrors can be painted. The stained glass paint provides privacy or blocks a not so pretty view without blocking light from a window. With the many different selections of designs and paint colors you are only limited by your imagination with this project.

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