Making Leaded Stained Glass Window Patterns

Vector clip art is an easy way to start making your own stained glass pattern. The vector format saves the image as lines which creates simple clip art images. These images are easy to edit and do not become jagged when enlarged. These free vector clip art images allow you to enlarge, color or combine images to create your pattern.

Make a new folder in your graphics program and name it “My glass pattern clip art objects” or whatever you will remember. Find the images you are interested in, “right click” on the image or follow the websites directions for downloading their images, and save them into this folder. Select which objects will work for this particular stained glass pattern or start a collection of clip art images for use now and in the future.

  • Clipart-design.com sells professional design packs while providing free download for 500+ vector clip art designs, ornaments, and icons from 35 of those professional packs. Download and import these directly into most graphic programs.
  • Clipart.magicpeople.org offers free vector clip art files free for commercial and personal use. Choose from holidays, wedding, valentine, anime, and more.
  • Digitalclipart.com provides vector clip art, free, for private use only. The free images are not for commercial use. Choose from the sport, mascot, animals, fantasy, tribal, tattoo, transportation, people, ornaments and objects.
  • Free-clip-art.com contains sports, food, religious, wedding, education, medical, holiday, music, transportation and borders vector clip art. These vector clip art images will download in a.zip format. Save the zip file by right clicking on the zipped file icon to open it and save it to the appropriate file on your computer.

There may be times when you see something in a photo that pulls together elements you want use to design a stained glass pattern. You can use photos for design elements or find a very simple photo to trace and use for a stained glass pattern.

  • Publicdomainphotos.com is a website where the photos are free to use for personal or commercial use, Public domain simply means that the photographer has released the copyright of the photo so others can use it for their projects. This website includes flowers, food, and landscape photographs totally over 5,000 photographs to look at for inspiration for a stained glass window pattern.
  • The nice detail about Imagebase.net is that you can search for objects. I found an up close and personal photograph of a key that can easily be traced and made into a stained glass pattern.
  • BurningWell.com is a repository of public domain photographs to be used for personal and commercial use. Texture is a great category on this website for grass, clouds, buildings, and ideas for the ground including rocks.
  • Freephotos and Fontplay offers over 10,000 photographs and font images that can be used for making a stained glass pattern.
  • Photorack.net is a collaboration of free stock photos to use in any creative manner you choose. Water and birds are a common theme in stained glass window art. This duck in the water photo is easy to trace and be made into individual stained glass pieces to form a leaded stained glass window.

Another way to get the image you want for your stained glass pattern is to scan it into your computer. Save all of the images into your folder you made for this pattern so everything you have found, downloaded, copied and scanned is together and ready for you to combine to design your pattern.

To draw your pattern begin by opening up the images you want to combine for your pattern into a photo editing program. Print the image in “grayscale”. Printing in “grayscale” makes the edges of the images more defined and easier to trace.

Tape one image at a time onto a window that has light coming through it and tape a blank sheet of paper over it. Trace the edges of the image shapes with a pencil. Remember, as you trace the shapes, you will be cutting each shape into glass pieces. Depending on your skill level for cutting stained glass the pieces should be made large while keeping the overall image recognizable. You may need to add additional lines so individual pieces can be cut.

Repeat for each image you want to combine for your stained glass pattern.
Scan each pencil drawing onto your computer and into a photo editing program and print out the images. Cut around each image. Use a large piece of white paper or tape several sheets of printing paper together so it is larger than your finished pattern will be. Tape each image into place. With a pencil add lines to connect each image making sure each individual piece can be cut into a stained glass piece.

Draw an outside bounding box the exact size you want your stained glass window to be. Connect each image to this box. Remember that all the lines do not have to be straight yet do not make them so curved that they can’t be cut into stained glass pieces.

Number each piece of your pattern. Decide which pieces are going to be what color and begin a color code.” Blk” for black, “Y” for yellow, “Gr” for green,” Gry” for gray, etc. Put the color code onto each piece alongside of the number.

On each piece put slash lines depicting which way the grain will go. This will be very important when using stained glass with streaks or textures. You will want to cut each piece of that colored stained glass in the same direction so your pattern flows.

Make three copies of your finished pattern. One will be placed on a flat surface and be used as the template, one will be cut into individual pieces and the third copy will be for stand-by in case you need to re-cut pieces or for reference.