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Sharpie Art - How to Make a "Stained Glass" Window

Updated on September 4, 2016
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Cynthia is a writer, artist, and teacher. She loves studying language, arts and culture and sharing that knowledge.

Stained Glass Sharpie Art
Stained Glass Sharpie Art | Source

Sharpie Crafts Make Great Projects

Doing craft projects with Sharpies promises to be a colorful adventure. Over the years, I’ve created various gifts with Sharpies, but most I have given away.

After doing an abstract painted flowers project, I still had more windows with which to do projects. I’d collected a few windows from ads on Craigslist thinking I would decorate them and put them around the garden, patio and even inside my home.

I was staring at the next window, wondering if I should paint it or if I should try something else. Suddenly, it occurred to me that I wanted to make a “stained glass” of sorts. I didn’t have any stained glass materials, but…I did have Sharpies!

I have lots of Sharpie markers – they’re great for creating handmade cards, labeling, and other craft projects. Having seen how they write on smooth surfaces, I wanted to try my hand at making a “stained glass” with a Sharpie.


Source

Creating a Sharpie Craft

If you want to replicate this project, I’m here to tell you that minimal artistic skill is required. Basically, you’re drawing lines and more lines and coloring them in.

The work involved is more about cleaning and taking the time to color in the glass. You’ll need to devote at least an afternoon to this project.

What You’ll Need:

  • An old window
  • Glass cleaner
  • Palette knife
  • Razor blade
  • Paper towels
  • Water for rinsing
  • Acrylic craft paint (I used white)
  • Sharpie markers – in the colors of your choice – I used black, dark pink, purple, blue and green

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Start with an old window.  Clean and prep it so that you can paint the frame.Paint on two coats of acrylic paint in a color of your choice.  I used pure white.The glass is like a blank canvas.I made wavy lines.Then I added arcs.  They go in one direction until the middle, and then change direction.
Start with an old window.  Clean and prep it so that you can paint the frame.
Start with an old window. Clean and prep it so that you can paint the frame. | Source
Paint on two coats of acrylic paint in a color of your choice.  I used pure white.
Paint on two coats of acrylic paint in a color of your choice. I used pure white. | Source
The glass is like a blank canvas.
The glass is like a blank canvas. | Source
I made wavy lines.
I made wavy lines. | Source
Then I added arcs.  They go in one direction until the middle, and then change direction.
Then I added arcs. They go in one direction until the middle, and then change direction. | Source
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Color the lines in.  The vertical lines are blue and green.The horizontal lines are pink and purple.Add eye-hooks to the top of the frame and tie on some galvanized steel wire.
Color the lines in.  The vertical lines are blue and green.
Color the lines in. The vertical lines are blue and green. | Source
The horizontal lines are pink and purple.
The horizontal lines are pink and purple. | Source
Add eye-hooks to the top of the frame and tie on some galvanized steel wire.
Add eye-hooks to the top of the frame and tie on some galvanized steel wire. | Source

Instructions:

  1. Depending on the shape the window is in, you may need to prep the frame by sanding and scraping the old paint off. With the particular window I used, I found that the old paint was still intact and I didn’t need to scrape it.
  2. You do need to clean the window, however. I recommend doing this outside, especially if the window is large. I find it best to take a 1:1 ratio of water to distilled white vinegar and spray onto the glass and wood. Wipe clean with a paper towel and rinse with a hose. Let dry. If you need to, go over the glass with a palette knife or even better, a razor blade to get any stray marks or debris off the glass. Clean again, if necessary.
  3. Once the window is dry, you can then paint the frame. I took my white acrylic craft paint and applied two coats of paint, then I let it dry.
  4. As the paint was drying, I wanted to figure out what I was going to design for the glass. At first, I wanted to do abstract lines and dots. However, I had seen photos of different kinds of op-art and I decided to go with that.

To Do the Op-Art

  1. For the first panel of glass, take a black marker and draw wavy lines from top to bottom. Then draw arcs that point upward in one direction until they get to about the middle, and then change direction.
  2. For the next panel, I changed directions with the wavy lines and drew them horizontally. I drew in arcs going in one direction and then changing direction at about the middle.
  3. I continued to do this, alternating between vertical and horizontal for all the panes of glass.
  4. Once I finished making all the lines, I began to color in the first panel. Using two colors - blue and green - I began to color in the shapes I created. I colored in each separate wavy line, alternating between blue and green. Each column was its own color, and I skipped to every other arc that I made, so that I could create a striped effect. With the blue, I did color in one column to make it solid as a design tool.
  5. I then moved to the next pane of glass, where the lines were horizontal. I used the pink and purple here, and repeated the process that I used for the first pane of glass. I did not create a solid line; I decided to only do that with the blue.
  6. When I finished, I got a pair of eye hooks and screwed them into the top of the window frame. I then attached galvanized steel wire so that I could hang my project.

Different colors have different effects for stained glass.
Different colors have different effects for stained glass. | Source

Shopping Tips

  • Old windows are pretty easy to find on Craigslist or you might have one lying around.
  • Sharpies are available at office supply stores, on eBay, and sometimes in the grocery store.
  • Acrylic paint, eye-hooks, and galvanized steel wire are easy to find at craft supply stores.

Do you like to draw with sharpies?

See results

A couple notes about Sharpies:

Once you have drawn on the glass, if you mess up or otherwise don’t like the design, you can spray on some of the vinegar/water solution and start over. If it dries completely, though, you’ll want to use rubbing alcohol to wipe off the glass.

Some Sharpie colors are more “fluid” than others. The green that I used really seemed to create a “liquid” effect, making it look more stained-glass-like. The other colors didn’t do this as much.

Allow for minor mistakes. The imperfections you create with your hands add to the character of your work. Don’t worry if your color isn’t perfectly inside the lines you made. Those lines are arbitrary anyway.

Sharpies were invented in 1964. Since then, many types of Sharpies are now on the market. You can get really big and thick Sharpies, or you can get very fine-tipped markers. They come in an array of colors, shapes and for many different types of uses.

© 2012 Cynthia Sageleaf

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    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      What a creative idea. I am inspired to find an old window and start this. I am really amazed and think you did a gorgeous job. Thanks for sharing this hub...I am bookmarking, voting up and sharing. I am looking at glass in a new way. Oops forgot.. I am also pinning and tweeting

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Sageleaf 4 years ago from Western NC

      Carol - aww, thank you so much! I have more Sharpie projects in the works, hehe. Now, to get them published! I appreciate all the votes and shares! You are a gem! Lots of hubhugs coming your way!

    • jennyjenny profile image

      jennyjenny 4 years ago from Somewhere in Michigan

      Great idea! How cute would it be to hang these with openings for pictures or artwork in the center like a stained glass frame! Thanks for sharing!

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      I never thought of using Sharpies to paint a window! Does the light shine through the glass. You know I've done faux stain glass work using glass paint that turned out wonderfully. I wrote a Hub about that if you'd like to read it. I really like your design you did on this window.

      I voted this Hub UP.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      These are amazing. My son, who is an artist (24) draws a lot with sharpies, as paint is so expensive, but I never thought of the stained-glass aspect of sharpies. How beautiful these are depicted here. I may just have to give that a try! Excellent hub. In His Love, Faith Reaper

    • Teresa Coppens profile image

      Teresa Coppens 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Great hub Cyndi! Very creative. Looks like a relaxing but fun project to tackle!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well of course it's easy for you, Sis! You're artistic! I can't even draw a straight line. LOL Great ideas and I love the finished product. Hooray for Cyndi!

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Sageleaf 4 years ago from Western NC

      Jennyjenny - I love that idea! I can't wait to see a hub about that. Hehe. Thanks for stopping by!

      Mary615 - The light shines through the glass beautifully! Very cool that you've done faux stained glass work. I'll have to check out that hub!

      Faith Reaper - How cool that your son works with Sharpies! Paint is SO expensive - and I have a hard time limiting myself to one medium, so I do lots of them. :D Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you try this. :)

      Teresa - Thanks so much! It IS a fun, relaxing project to tackle. Hehe. Hubhugs!

      Billybuc - Hehe, I might be artistic, but I promise, you don't have to draw a straight line - at all. Hehe. In fact, the curvier, the better. :D Hubhugs, Big Bro!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Very nice. I think that having one of these over our front door would make the entrance way attractive. The light coming through would make the inside pretty as well. If I had the time, I would attempt one of these creative designs. Well done and voted up.

    • Austinstar profile image

      Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      After you are done with the project, do you spray the window with any kind of sealant? I would think spraying it with a clear coat of acrylic along with some UV protection would make the designs last forever.

      This certainly looks great and now I wish I had kept my old windows. I had some replaced last year. Oh well, I'm sure I can find some somewhere.

      Cool project!

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      This is super awesome! Very cool! Thanks I really am gonna try to find an old window. We have lots of flea markets and stuff I bet I could score there. Thanks! I love this!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

      Love this!

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Sageleaf 4 years ago from Western NC

      Teaches - fun, fun! I bet it would look awesome! :D I hope you get some time to try this - so relaxing and fun!

      Austinstar - I'm thinking you could experiment on a surface with a spray-on acrylic sealer. I didn't do that personally because I figure I can wipe the design off and do another when I get bored with it, hehe. But, yeah, you could experiment with a clear sealer. My instinct - since I haven't tried it - would be to lay it on a flat surface and spray - not wipe - on. Then, let it dry completely. Once dry, you could then hang it and yes, it would last a lot longer. :) Good point!

      RHW - I bet you can find old windows at flea markets, too. Thanks for stopping by! Put it over the kitchen window. Hehe.

      Audrey - Thank you so much! Hubhugs!

    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 4 years ago from Texas

      I'm tempted to go and do all my windows. Of course that would probably not be a good idea...lol I have seen some old windows at a few yard sales and flea markets. Maybe I'll create one for my garden. Thanks for the neat hub and ideas.

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Wow! I have never seen this before. It is so colorful and unique. I am not a good drawer by hand. This looks a little beyond my abilities, but your directions make it look possible. That would be gorgeous hung on a chain. I LOVE it!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      Your window projects are great! I've been working on some window ideas, but now you've got me distracted. :) Do you think the other colors would become more liquidish(?) (like the green) if you put a dot of alcohol or vinegar on the tip of the other colors?

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Sageleaf 4 years ago from Western NC

      MO! Hehe, you COULD do all your windows. :D One in your beautiful garden would be superb! I love that idea. Thank you so much for coming by. Hubhugs!

      Tammy - I love the chain idea! And, I promise you don't have to be a good "drawer" - you just need lines and a few different colors. :) You're creative - yours will be *fabulous* :D

      RTalloni - hehe, sorry about the distraction. I'll try to be better. Hehe. You know, I don't know about the other colors being more liquidish. Um...that could be worth a try! I bet a dab of alcohol would do the trick. I'll try it on my next project and see how that works. Great idea!

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

      I never would have thought to use Sharpies as glass paint. Your completed window is so pretty! Thanks for a great idea, the easy to follow instructions and step-by-step photographs! Voted up and pinned!

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Sageleaf 4 years ago from Western NC

      Stephanie - it's really fun! :D I am going to try more Sharpie projects - I think I've opened a Pandora's box. Hehe. I can just imagine you on your travels with tiny windows hanging around with bird or flower designs on them. I see you doing that! How fun! Hubhugs!

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      This is beautiful! I never would have guessed that it was made with Sharpies.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I like these abstract expressions on glass -- if you stick with small designs, it's quite effective in simulating stained glass. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Sageleaf 4 years ago from Western NC

      Rose - hehe...I can SO see you doing something with this. :D

      Alocsin - yes! Small designs with borders are the most effective at creating a stained-glass design.

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      You are so creative and artistic, I love this idea - thank you and voted up!

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Sageleaf 4 years ago from Western NC

      Movie Master - aww, but you have inspired me, too. I'll always treasure that dandelion hub. *smile* Hehe.

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 4 years ago from Neverland

      I am in LOVE! Its been ages since I've seen a craft that inspired me to hop in my truck ASAP and drive to the nearest window / sharpie store to get started right away. Seriously...abstract designs, coloring, a huge "canvas" with multiple sectioned off squares? What more could a girl ask for?! Awesome Hub Cyndi. I will mail you pics once I have my window done.

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Sageleaf 4 years ago from Western NC

      I love it, Ardie! Hehe...it's SO MUCH fun! Coloring, and not even having to really worry about perfectly keeping in the lines...that makes it even better, hehe. I WOULD LOVE to see pics!! You have to post them for us, k? Pretty please? :D

    • Rusticliving profile image

      Elizabeth Rayen 4 years ago from California

      I LOVE this idea my little hummingbird! I have a few window panes that I am going to try this on. What a great hub..as always! Voted way up+AUIB and shared all over! ♥

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Sageleaf 4 years ago from Western NC

      Awww...Lisa! You're so sweet - you're my butterfly! Thank you so much for sharing. It's wonderful to see you and I hope everything is going just as you need it to be this evening. Many hugs!

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      This is so cool! I can't draw or paint, but I might have some fun with this! Very cool!

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Sageleaf 4 years ago from Western NC

      Haha, Vicki, I bet you could have LOTS of fun with this. :D

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      This is a very unique idea. I have not seen anything like this before reading your article. I am not so good with this kind of art project but this is something by daughter would excel at doing so I am passing this on to her.

      Thanks for sharing.

      Angels are on the way today ps

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Sageleaf 4 years ago from Western NC

      PStraubie - ha! I've had so much fun with these and I've had people commission me to do more of them. :) It's really fun. Thank you for your comments.

    • Green Art profile image

      Green Art 3 years ago

      Great job! Love your color combinations and designs. Voted up and useful!

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Sageleaf 3 years ago from Western NC

      Green Art - thank you so much! Have a wonderful day. xo

    • tiffany delite profile image

      tiffany delite 3 years ago from united states

      thanks for this awesome hub! what a fantastic and creative idea. i feel like turning the kids loose on OUR windows! lol. blessings!

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Sageleaf 3 years ago from Western NC

      Tiffany - that's right! Haha. The windows are perfect because they can color on something "they're not supposed to color on" and have fun! Oohh...great idea for a snow day like today. haha. Have a great day!

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      Donna 6 weeks ago

      I did some work with sharpies on clear plastic, but I found that it was not smooth, you could see all the pen strokes. Also, the black was not very opaque, more sort of charcoalish & scrappy. Is there something I am missing?

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Sageleaf 6 weeks ago from Western NC

      Donna - regular Sharpie markers can leave pen strokes. You can try the poster paint variety or the oil-based Sharpies. Those work really well. :)

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