Tuesday, October 2, 2012

... creating a "faux" stained glass window ...

Having an older home ... oddities, quirks and the like are a given - - and in abundance in our home, which was originally built as a duplex and turned into a single family home many years ago.  With that layout, we have two staircases flanking both sides of our living room.  A quirkiness that I like :)  Originally, octagon windows lead up the stairs on both sides.  We have since replaced them with your typical square, double-paned vinyl window - - thrilling, I know.
After they were installed, they were screaming for character ... something appealing, other than a boring square outlined in white - - Blah!  After painting so many wine glasses and the like, I thought to myself - - why not try to create a stained glass look?

Painting on the actual window was out for many reasons.  So, I decided on plexy glass.

In order for the plexy to stay within the window, I measured the inset of the vinyl window frame.

Our local hardware store was able to cut the plexy to the exact measurements for me - - a huge help!

Next, I poured over ideas and patterns on the Internet ... and settled on incorporating a few different clip art forms, as well as my own designs therein.

Now, the paints ...

My experience has been solely with pebeo vitrea 160 - absolutely LOVE their product and have been very happy with the application, drying and cured outcome.  My wine glasses are top-shelf dishwasher safe ... so this paint is durable.  Of course, painting on plexy omits the baking step ... but this paint is still very durable even after air drying for 24 hours - - and I figure, I will not be placing it in a dishwasher!  :)

I ran into a slight hiccup when purchasing the "faux" leading.  A disappointment fell upon me when I found that my Michaels store is no longer carrying this line.  Arrrgggh!  So, I trusted in another brand that is well known in quality ... DecoArt's Americana line.  I purchased the White Translucent Gloss and the Opaque Gloss Writer in Black for the leading.

The difference in brands is that vitrea dries much faster.  So, if using Americana Glass Paint - - prepare yourself that your project will be drawn out due to drying time. 

Back to the project

FIRST THING FIRST ... After taping your pattern to the backside of the plexy - apply rubbing alcohol to the entire front piece. This removes any dust and oils that might be present on the glass and adds to the durability of the piece.

Once dried ... painting can begin.

You must begin with the leading ...


I began at the top and worked in sections down to the bottom.  I then let that dry to the touch (about 3-5 hours ... when I say that there is a difference in drying time - - I mean it.)   
Because I had two panels to complete, I attempted to do one step at a time on both pieces, rather than creating one whole panel and having to go through the whole process again with the second.  This took a couple days, just for leading ... to ensure that the paint was dried and cured.

Once all leading is completed and dried ... the fun really begins!  The paint!!
 In order to create the sky background, one, thin coat of white paint (vitrea white cloud) must be applied with a flat brush.  Once dried, I poured the Americana white gloss paint onto a section (see below) and swirled with a rounded paint brush.
The slow drying time of the Americana paint finally became a benefit, as swirling the blue through the white was fluid with no worries about drying paint becoming tacky and pulling away.

 The one way to keep up my stamina in completing these panels was to hold them up to the window to see the progress ... because this project took much longer than I anticipated.
A key to working with glass paint is to always be mindful of your brushstrokes ... because they will be seen.  Of course, you can use this to your advantage to create different looks ... swirled for the sky, dragged for a wood-grain effect and circular for the rounded stones that surrounded the piece.  Different brush styles provide for difference effects.

With the panels finished, I was left to deal with the framing of the window.  I am not a fan of white vinyl and have been known to paint it.  As long as it sticks ... I'm good.
So, I taped off the wall and the inside of the vinyl frame.  Inserting and removing these panels would most likely damage a painted trim.  Therefore, I only painted the front of the vinyl trim - - and truly, you do not notice it at all once the painted panels are in place.

In order to make sure that the panels stay in place ... especially because my 7-year old seemed mystified by them and little fingers are sure to investigate ... I applied sticky Velcro rounds to the corners of the panels, which will stick to the unpainted vinyl framing and should .... "should" ... be easy to remove later. :)
And, alas!  The transformation ...

... much better, I think. 

 And by the way ... the strip of white above the window frame is not my mistake - LOL.  It is the left over scar of the old window, which will be fixed when I attempt the painting of my living room - - which will be after my kitchen.  ("sigh")  All in good time ...   


People are like stained glass windows, they sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when darkness sets in, their true beauty is only seen if there is a light within.

~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
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1 comment:

Storefront Glass Installation Brooklyn said...

How on Earth did you make that look so quick easy and simple? You made it look like a kids painting guide to make something so delicate and worthy in a home. Absolutely awesome.

-Solomon Berkovitch