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An Eye On Design:

February 27, 2014

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October 10, 2013

The Studio Door Project: Part Five (A) - Getting Her Done

My Solution to Affording Custom Stained Glass


When the very talented stained glass artist from Utah quoted me $3000-$3500+ to make a custom recycled-bottle stained glass window for the dimensions I gave her, my heart was a bit crushed. That was definitely out of my price range. I thought it over and did some digging and finally decided that while I'm not going to be able to become a stained glass artist over night, I could still get a custom stained glass look using a bit of creativity, under $100 worth of Michael's supplies, and a good amount of my time... Well worth the savings in my book!



Step One: Developing a Design Thumbnail

Coming up with a design for the window took a bit of thought and the solicitation of a few votes (my thanks to all who voted on my last post by the way). The design that was chosen ended up being Day and Night Desert. This design was inspired by our 1925 Spanish Bungalow, and the Mexican art that adorns our backyard. From smiling sunbursts, to a colorful gecko, to brightly painted pottery, to cacti and succulents growing throughout the space, the Day and Night Desert made a lot of sense for the window's new design.


Step Two: Purchasing Glass Painting Supplies

Now, with just a quick stop at Michael's Art Supplies I'd have everything I'd need to bring this thumbnail to life.


The Supplies I Picked Up:

  • Drawing Materials - paper, pencil, 36"-ruler (I already had these)

  • Glass Painting Tools: dual-end bent pick, 1/4" scrapers, and 1-1/2" scrapers

  • Glass Painting Brushes: 0-liner brush, #2 flat brush, #4, #2, and #1 angled tip brushes

  • Liquid Fill Medium & Mixing Bottle

  • 9 Bottles of transparent Glass Paint Liquid Fill; in Pink Hyacinth, Raincoat Yellow, Kelp Green, Thai Hibiscus red, Wisteria purple, Bluebonnet blue, Polar blue, Gingersnap brown, and Crystal Clear white

  • 1 Bottle of opaque Glass Paint Metallic in black nickel

Step Three: Creating a Template Design to Scale

With the design chosen it is now time to create a to scale template. I created mine on a large piece of tracing paper using pencil to draw the initial design. I don't really have any tips about making this easy, it really just depends out your design, I simply free hand drew the design starting with the border, then drawing the circular pattern at the top, working down to the bottom of the design.

Step Four: Preparing the Surface for Painting

Next, I cleaned the glass.


The Supplies I Used:

  • Glass Cleaner

  • Paper Towels

  • News Paper

  • Alcohol

With the supplies above I was able to clean both sides of the window pane, by spraying the glass with glass cleaner and wiping down each side using the paper towel. Then, after the window was clean, I rubbed down the side I'd be painting with the rubbing alcohol and some more paper towel. The alcohol will help the paint to take to the glass and make sure all debris is gone.


Step Five: Painting & Curing the Window

Now it was time to get down to business on this window. I laid it on top of the template and used Black Metallic Opaque glass paint to create the window's leading by tracing the outline I had made with a continuous bead of paint. This actually took a whole afternoon to complete and I had to take a few breaks in between to keep my hand from cramping. Then I let the leading cure over night before moving on to coloring in the spaces so that that leading wouldn't bleed into the colors and the colors wouldn't destroy the leading.

The next day I started filling in the colors for each space, which I continued to work on over the course of two weeks; stopping and starting, debating and deciding what colors would go where and what effects I wanted for my end result. I tried out various techniques on the different colors and worked my way around the window, all the while keeping in mind that the outside of the window was going to be framed in lavender paint (because that's the color of the  outside of the door).

I would need to allow the window to dry and cure another 21 days before it would become weatherproof and ready to be mounted. So for the time begin, I was done!

Stay tuned for more on the door!

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