Monday, September 12, 2011

Tutorial-Faux Vintage Stained Glass Windows for pennies-great gift idea!

The Michaels promotion is on again! (see the ads here on my page).  That is just perfect, because the home decorating craft that I am going to show you how to make today was made with supplies that I purchased from Michael's. I purchased them with the coupons, and now you can too!

I sold one of these pieces in a local boutique.  It was similar to this one that I have in my house...


My inspiration came from this guy...

IMG_4891stained glass

It is an authentic English stained glass window from an antique store in Texas.  Cost me $100. I wanted it to be the focal point and add some vintage charm to my kitchen.  It's a beautiful architectural piece.  Sorry the photo is dark.  It is in my kitchen which has northern lighting and doesn't photograph well.  You may recognize it from previous posts like this post.

I decided that I wanted to replicate it, and then I caught the stained glass bug.  I had seen paints for faux stained glass projects, but all of the project books with them had suggested ugly, dated, flamboyant patterns for birds, butterflies etc.  Nothing classic and simple.  So I knew I was on to something.

I got the idea for this one from here.  I just did a google search for images of stained glass flowers, and I looked for the most simple, elegant, beautiful ones, and figured out how I would simplify it, and which paint colors I would keep or change compared to the original. (see all the notes on one of them that I printed below)


Here is a very simple one.  I just made it in an 11x 14 frame from Walmart that I painted white...


Now, on to the fun part...the tutorial so that you can make one for your own home, or to give as a gift!  This is an especially great idea if you have an outside view that is less than pretty and you want to disguise it, or just simply to dress up the window and add some architectural detail.

For the tutorial, I am sharing my patterns with you, or you can come up with your own.  (do a google image search for some great ideas, but keep in mind that you may want to start with something simple so that you are not overwhelmed)

A frame with the glass intact, (if you don't want to work with glass, purchase and have home depot cut you a sheet of plexi glass to the same size as the glass in the frame-it does make it easier for larger projects to mount in the frame since it is light weight-see last steps)

glass paint and "instant lead" from Michaels (see below)
a pencil
eye hooks and chain if you want to hang it
safety pin optional) (rope caulk optional-see below)

Step 1:
Simply copy one of the images below (if you copy it into microsoft word make sure you set it to landscape mode)

Step 2:
Enlarge it to take up as much of the page as possible

Step 3:
print it 

Step 4:  Decide how big you want it.  It will obviously print out 8 x 10 or so, so you will work for an 8x10 frame.  My frames are 11x14 to resemble more of an old window.  If you want your stained glass to be larger than 8 x 10, you will need to take it to a copy center like Staples and enlarge it to fit in the size frame that you want. They will do a black and white copy in 11x14 for under $1.00  

Be sure to consider which window you will be putting it in (if you choose to display it this way), and compare the size of the window with the frame.  It doesn't have to be the same size of the window.

*check your stash of garage sale frames!
pattern 1

step 5 Clean the glass, and then take the glass out of the frame.  Center your pattern underneath the glass.  Tape with masking tape if you need to.(I will be demonstrating pattern 2)

pattern 2


Step 6 Take out your "instant lead" stickers and peel off one strand at a time.  Stick it onto the glass, following the pattern below.  DO NOT PULL IT!  Just set it down gently, and stick it to the glass.  Cut it off at each stopping point on the pattern. (I did not get a before picture, so ignore the colored paint in the picture below!)


Step 7 After you have "leaded your design", start in the MIDDLE of the design and fill in the flower, leaves, and colored sections with the glass paint separately.  DO NOT SHAKE THE BOTTLES OF PAINT, otherwise they get too many air bubbles.  If you get too many air bubbles while you are "painting" you can always pop them with a safety pin.  I just "paint" each section by squeezing a little paint from the tube onto the section and move it around with the nozzle until the section is filled in.  Be careful not to get it on the "lead".

* You will definitely need the crystal clear paint.  My other favorite vintage looking colors are Fresh Lime, Lime Green, Harvest Yellow, Aqua, Cameo Ivory, Black, and delta's transparent air-dry enamel glass paint in RED


(You can see that when the entire project is dry, I squeezed some black glass paint "dots" where the liquid leading lines meet to make it look more authentic, and cover up any mistakes (small gaps between the lead connecting points...If you stretched the lead when you weren't supposed to, it starts to shrink a little as it dries and leaves a big gap.  So it is important that you follow the above direction and try not to stretch it.)

Step 8 After color painting, use this crystal clear paint.  It goes on white, but dries clear.  Gently squirt it and paint it all over the parts you want to look like clear textured glass, working one section at a time.  After you finish a section, use your finger to make overlapping "finger prints" to give it texture.  You can use other tools to make texture if you would like.  I just like how the finger print method works and seems to look more authentic like my original tulip stained glass window.




Step 9 Let dry at least 24 hours, and maybe longer. While it is drying, prepare your frame. Center two of these hooks (are they eye hooks?!) as far apart as you would like them, and screw them into the top of the frame.  I think it best to keep them far apart, and then only a couple or few inches in from each end.


Step 10 Pencil in, and then center and attach two more hooks the same distance apart as the ones on your frame in the window frame.


(sorry, I guess my photo doesn't show both hooks, but the other one IS there!)

Measure two strands of chain, depending on how low you want to hang the frame, and affix them to the hooks on the frame.  


When your glass is dry, lay it in the frame.  To keep the glass in the frame, you have a few options.  If the glass is lightweight or you used plexi glass, you can hot glue it in around the edges.  Or you can nail it in place with skinny picture nails every few inches (tricky-just don't break your glass!).  Another option is to use the existing metal bendable tabs that may have come with the frame, if they are not too noticeable.  I used a little hot glue, and then some of this "rope caulk" from Walmart to sort of "seal it in" with my fingers (next image).

This photo is of plexi glass hot glued in. (ignore the wire, it shouldn't be there!)



Remember this post?  This is one that I helped my sister in law make.  She didn't hang it, just simply leaned it up on her mantle.  If you look closely, she just kept the glass in place with the metal tabs that the frame came with.  If you would like me to make one for you, shoot me an email and we will see what we can come up with and I will list it for you in my etsy shop.

I love the beauty and simplicity of some of the vintage designs! It is amazing how easily you can replicate them at a fraction of the cost, and have the fulfillment of making your own piece of art!


  1. Wow! Love the details of the tutorial...I've been wanting to do this but in a much larger scale as in the staircase window...I feel I could do this now, thanks.

    Also, I would like to personally invite you to our new Rockin’ link party every Friday at RoCa and Company. Come and show off what you got this coming Friday. Hope to see you there...

    Remember...YOU ROCK!!

    Carmen @
    RoCa and Company

  2. I LOVE this idea. Great Christmas present. I'll be making a trip to Michaels to check it out. Mimi

  3. Great project and step by step instructions. Love how yours came out! Gonna have to try this.

  4. This is so beautiful! I always see the stained glass products and wish I could make something cool with it... someday soon I might have to try this! Thanks for the tutorial! : )

    -Mel the Crafty Scientist

  5. So lovely! I appreciate the step by step as well as pics of the product information! It helps soooo much! I featured you on my blog today. Hope you can come grab a button!

  6. I love this idea. Thanks for sharing. I would love for you to share it on my link party at

  7. A good tutorial and a beautiful work.

  8. thanks for the awesome tutorial!!
    i am curious to try this on my living room windows.
    it would be great if you could let me know:
    is the instant lead removable? if so how?
    if i make a mistake on the actual window, i want to be able to start just curious:)

    love your blog:)

  9. domestic drama,

    The instant lead is's just a sticker. I would worry about putting the
    paint on the actual window though, as I don't know if you can put it on a vertical
    surface, and it might be permanent. But if you have double hung windows and are able to
    keep it flat like a table while you work...I say go for it!

  10. This is incredible! I would love to have some stained glass in my own home! I've heard the best place to get it is edmonton glass!

  11. Done! I have already save this tutorial. I'm gonna follow this steps and mimic this for our home improvements :)

    window glass repair

  12. Thank you so much for the tutorial. I will definitely use this to make many faux stained glass window pieces. I've always wondered how people did it without having all the crazy tools and pieces of glass.

  13. A million thanks - this is exactly what I was looking for!!!!! Nice work on your windows!!

  14. All of the vintage glass windows need to be maintained regularly so that they last long. Vintage Glass after a bit of refurbishing can give a pleasant look to your windows. If you want to make your old windows with vintage glass presented in a whole new look, you can call any expert windows repair guy to get the work done for you.

  15. I am in awe at how you’ve translated that complicated design into a simple one. I’m loving the choice of colors! This faux glass project looks fairly easy to make. And it’s perfect for those who want to experiment with gallery glass. Thank you so much for making this tutorial. Cheers!

    Lynne Hollaran @ Suburban Glass Service, Inc.

  16. I love this, too. What a beautiful result! My question is: Do you not like the liquid lead? I've used it and it worked fined but I may be missing something. My chief concern is: How long do you think this will last with the lead you used? Do you think it will stick for a long time? Do you know of anything we can coat these pieces with it so humidity, etc doesn't get to it? Thanks in advance!

    1. This probly way to late. But, Im researching for a project and have found the tips hear very helpful on this page and I have also found that recomends a sealer on all glass paint projects.

  17. Nice faux stained glass! And not as hard to make! Making stained glass is a pain but such simple ones i can deal with

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  27. Really clean and convincing technique. I can see benefits to painting in the areas of color first. Is there a reason this isn't a viable alternative technique? (Maybe the faux lead wouldn't adhere to the piece as well?) Thanks.

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