How to Make a Faux Stained Glass Painting: Video and Techniques
Is It Easy to Create Faux Stained Glass Art?
Have you ever tried to make a stained glass masterpiece? I also haven't, but I have stumbled upon the wide world of faux stained glass painting—I love it! It's a very uncomplicated form of painting that is removable and reusable on glass surfaces. If you have children or students, it can be a fun and safe craft for them because the materials are water-based!
- You can place your works of art on glass surfaces such as windows.
- Since they're reusable, they can be removed and replaced.
Even adults can release some stress by creating works of art for glass vases or dressing up a window that may face toward a not so spectacular view. However you choose to display them, they are sure to be a hit with family and friends. It doesn't matter if you're an artist or not. Here are some steps and ideas to a successful faux stained glass look!
What You'll Need
- Gallery Glass paints
- Liquid leading
- Paper towels
- Sheet protectors
- Straight Pin (optional)
1. Find an Image
Find what you want to paint or create your own drawing. I suggest starting with something that has simple lines. If you can't draw, don't worry. Find something that catches your fancy, and print it out.
- If what you are printing is too small, use a copier to increase the size of the picture. That way, you can trace it to create your faux stained painting.
- If you cannot find an image with simple lines, take the detailed piece and place a sheet of tracing paper over it. This way, you can choose the main lines and make a simplified drawing of it. This is what drew me to this form of art: its simplicity.
2. Place the Drawing on Tracing Paper
If you haven’t already, trace your drawing on a sheet of tracing paper with a pencil. Even if I create my own image, I still trace it on tracing paper. Place your picture inside a sheet protector. If the tracing paper is too large, fold the excess down over the top and tape it down. It helps keep the image in place. You may have to fold the other sides to fit the tracing paper inside.
Note: There are also aids called leading blanks that allow you to place your image on them to apply your outline and fill in your color. However, you get a limited supply, and they cost more than sheet protectors. The sheet protectors are a cheaper way of doing the same thing. I have not used the leading blanks, so I really don't know if there are other benefits to them.
3. Apply the Outline
With the liquid leading, trace the lines of the design. To get the liquid leading started, take a pair of scissors and cut the tip maybe 1/8 of an inch. You may have to use the tip of one scissor blade to poke it deeper into the hole if you have issues squeezing the leading out. You want it big enough to allow the leading to come out with ease.
- When first starting, slowly squeeze until liquid leading begins to peek out.
- Place the leading on the sheet protector to avoid the leading from curling up on the tip of the bottle.
- Elongate the line of leading before following the outline of your drawing. This allows the leading to stay in a straighter line once you begin tracing with it. If you stay too close to the page when pulling away to make a line, you risk breaking the line of leading.
- Do small sections at a time. In time, you will be able to make longer and neater lines.
- Once you complete a section of outlining, dip down the tip of the leading bottle to the paper protector and pull up until the line disconnects.
- If you find a line you’ve made to be a little crooked, take a toothpick and nudge the leading to where you need it to be before it begins to set. Don’t use the tip of the toothpick to do this. Just kind of sideswipe it.
4. Wait for It to Dry
Wait. It will take the liquid leading about eight to 10 hours to dry. In the meantime, choose the colors you want to use for your picture!
5. Add Color
Once the leading has dried, you’re ready to fill the color!
- Take the tip of the color bottle and place it up against the leading line.
- Trace along the line, making somewhat of an outline within an outline.
- Then, fill in color moving from left to right.
- Use a toothpick or nutpick to smoothen the color from left to right. This evens out the level of color and helps eliminate bubbles.
- Rake over each color, section by section, as you go along. If you're working with an outlined object with multiple compartments, trying to fill in every section first and then raking over the colors will likely not end well. Sections may already start drying, making it hard for you to eliminate the bubbles and potentially causing you to pull up a section you worked so hard on.
At times, you may not want one color and want to blend a bit. Placing colors in the same space and dragging one color into the other can give a blended or highlighted appearance if mixed with white or a lighter color.
Note: In the video, you might see the outline of the flower's leading move. This is because I constantly picked it up and reused it to test. If I apply pressure to it, it will still stick to a window.
6. Wait Once More
Wait. Depending on the size of your painting, it can take from 10 to 24 hours for the colors to completely dry. After about eight hours, you might be able to look at it to see if everything is dry.
7. Peel the Painting
Peel away what you have painted from the sheet protector and stick to a window or mirrored surface. Awesome, right?
Painting on Glass, Plexi-Glass, or Mirrors
This process can also be used directly on glass to make hanging artwork pieces.
- For vertical use on windows, it’s as simple as painting on a flat surface. You may have to hold the tip of a color bottle at a slight angle, but it still works the same. Just be aware of how thinly you apply the paint.
- Gravity can play a role in the paint sliding downward, making it color heavy near the bottom of each painted section. With careful application, you should be fine. Just practice before you start your masterpiece.
What Can I Do for a Background?
If you find that your painting is surrounded by nothing but plain space, there are plenty of techniques that can be used for various looks for backgrounds. Most of them can be made up using your own creativity. Backgrounds can be created using any color, but the main colors used to create a “hard to see through” appearance are Crystal Clear (my fave), Hologram Shimmer (has bits of glitter), and Clear Frost.
Here are a few videos to give you a few examples:
1. Swirl Background Technique
2. Dotting Technique
3. Pebble Technique
The Difference in PebblingClick thumbnail to view full-size
How to Get a Frosted Look
For more of a frosted look, you can work with Gallery Glass etching paint for an icy look.
- It can be applied while painting or be dabbed on with a brush.
- You can also use it with a toothpick to create different background patterns as well.
Note: When using the etching paint, know it is more permanent than regular glass paint. Applying it directly to a window can be hard to get off if you decide to change it later.
Can I Create Different Leading Lines?
Want to create straight lines with leading, but lack the steady hand you need? There are ready-made leadings so you can create perfect leading lines for windows. It comes in a roll or a package of straight pre-cut lines. By simply cutting what you need and adhering it to your surface, you will have the straight line you desire.
Wish you could match the color scheme of your painting a little bit more? There are also liquid leadings of gold and silver you can use to outline your creation.
How to Make Smaller Leading Width Sizes
Though it’s probably best to have a large drawing in mind when doing a project, a thinner leading may be required at times to create a smaller image, such as one of a bird or butterfly.
- One method of making smaller leading lines is by using tape. Applying tape such as artist's tape to the tip of your faux leading allows you to adjust it to the size of your liking.
- Another method you can use is to tape icing piping tips (typically used for baking) onto the tip of the leading bottle.
Both options can require a little time to apply to the tip of the bottle but are worth the results.
- After each use, make sure you clear out what has been left behind inside of the icing piping tips. This can usually be handled by running hot water inside of the tip and scraping out the excess with a toothpick. Let it thoroughly dry out before each use.
- A simpler method could also be by letting the leading stay within the tips overnight. Once the leading inside has completely dried, just take your toothpick and scrape down the sides of the tip. The hardened leading can easily be pulled out. Tip sizes to consider are the 2 and 1.
Note: There are actual tips called Micro Tips for the liquid leading bottles, but for some reason, they have been discontinued.
How to Get Rid of Bubbles in a Faux Stained Glass Painting
If you notice bubbles while painting on your sheet protector surface, tap underneath the section with the end of a nutpick or spoon handle and watch them pop!
If you're painting directly on glass, tapping underneath will not work. You will have to take a straight pin and pop the bubbles individually. The main issues are big bubbles showing up on either surface. Pop as many of the tiny ones as you possibly can, but the big ones are definitely the ones that can mess up your painting. With practice, you will get used to popping bubbles.
Helpful Websites and Ideas
Enjoy Trying This Fun Craft Project!
It’s not a difficult form of painting, especially with its removable and reusable qualities. In fact, I find it downright easy and fun! You can beautify home furnishings such as windows, vases, or mirrors. Faux stained painting can also add privacy to windows by preventing outside lookers from seeing in. With some practice, we’ll be professionally faux stained-glass painting in no time.
This hub was inspired by Mary615 and her awesome introductory article on the subject. Had it not been for her, I wouldn’t have found this creative outlet. Check out her wonderful tutorial on making faux stained glass look real! Thanks, Mary, I've started and, now, I can't stop!