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Creating Custom Stained Glass Panels

Mar 18, 2008
There have been many developments in the production of stained glass panels over the centuries, but one thing that has not changed is the hand construction of the actual window. So contrary to most other products it is just as easy to get a custom designed panel as it is to get a generic reproduction.

In the past the process to create the glass was fairly complex, but now large manufacturers have the process automated with machines and these sheets of glass are purchased to make panels.

If you would like to create and design your own stained glass panel it is not as complicated as it may sound. Even if you do not work the glass and build the panel yourself it is possible to get a custom window made from a large stained glass maker.

The first thing you need to consider when designing your own glass panel is what size you plan on making. If you already have a specific place you plan on mounting the window the size of your space will determine your panel size. If you plan on a free hanging panel then you will not be restricted by anything but your imagination and finances.

For designing the pattern you can either draw it out on paper or use a computer drawing program. When designing, take into consideration the skill levels and facilities of the person who will actually be cutting the glass and putting the panel together. Very small pieces are very hard to cut out so ensure the cutter is very experienced before getting too intricate. Also if using software, be aware that most non-professional image software will not have the tolerance as a professional CAD program. If building a flat panel in which there room for error you will be fine. But if building a lampshade or a tight fitting panel you should consider basic image software for rough draft purposes only.

Once your panel maker approves your design it will then be transferred to an actual size of the window of glass needed to create the panel. Then a second version is made called a cartoon, this is the copy which will actually be cut to trace out the glass pieces for the panel.

The pieces are then cut out of a sheet of glass using a steel wheel, which cuts along the lead lines. After the pieces are cut out of the glass the outline of the cartoon is painted on with vitrifiable paint. Once the artist is satisfied with the paint it is fired in a kiln to fuse the paint with the glass.

Once all the pieces are ready to be placed together they are all placed into the frame and joined together with lead.
About the Author
All Things Tiffany has a large selection of stained glass panels and can arrange for custom work to be done if our supply does not have what you may need.
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