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.

  • 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.
  • offers free vector clip art files free for commercial and personal use. Choose from holidays, wedding, valentine, anime, and more.
  • 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.
  • contains sports, food, religious, wedding, education, medical, holiday, music, transportation and borders vector clip art. These vector clip art images will download in 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.

  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Stained Glass – Basic Skills You Need To Make Stained Glass Art

Making stained glass crafts is a wonderful hobby for almost anyone. There’s just something magical about the unique beauty of these wonderful objects, but you don’t have to be a magician to create stained glass art. Anyone can do it!

Making beautiful stained glass objects requires very little initial investment, and even if you have only a basic skill level, the results of your efforts will amaze you.

Read the following overview of the skills needed, and I’m sure you’ll agree there’s no reason you can’t jump right in and make a success of your new hobby:

Cutting stained glass

Cutting is probably the most demanding skill you’ll need to develop. But don’t worry. Over the years, plenty of clever people have refined the glass cutting procedure to get it just right. Cutting is now safe, predictable, and easy.

If you follow standard glass-cutting procedure, use good equipment, and put safety first, you’ll find yourself easily cutting the shapes you need with very little waste or breakage.

Grinding pieces of stained glass until they’re just the right shape

Glass cutting is an inexact art. When you cut glass, you get the pieces close, but they’re never exactly the shape you need them to be to fit your design. And that’s where glass grinding comes in.

A good glass grinder resembles a miniature router table, and it makes it a snap to easily shape your rough-cut glass however you want. Any misshapen or jagged edges are easily ground away, and you’re left with a perfectly shaped piece that’s ready to take its place in the pattern.

Foiling the edges of the cut pieces of glass

As you probably know, solder doesn’t adhere to glass very well. In fact, if you tried to solder directly to glass, your creation would fall apart like a loose puzzle. That’s where foiling saves the day.

By wrapping copper foil around the cut edges of your pieces of stained glass, you give the solder something to stick to. Foil ties everything together so your stained glass creation becomes a single unit rather than a collection of separate pieces.

You can foil by hand, or use an inexpensive foiling tools to help you along. Either way, it’s an enjoyable task that’s almost impossible to get wrong.

Soldering stained glass

This is the one you’ve been waiting for, right? Soldering turns your glass pieces into a single, beautiful creation. And with the right equipment, it’s not as difficult as you might think.

Although clean, even soldering takes a bit of practice, even an absolute beginner can get the hang of it very quickly. And if you get some stray blobs of solder where they don’t really belong, there’s no reason to worry about it. After all, it adds character to your artwork. Anyway, you’ll almost always start soldering the back of your artwork first. So when it comes time to do the front, you’ll be up to speed and soldering like a pro!

With a good soldering station, you’ll always know if your soldering iron is heated up and ready to produce an even bead of solder.

Finishing and framing stained glass creations

Once your artwork is soldered to your satisfaction, there’s nothing left but to finish and frame your masterpiece. Finishing is an optional step that removes any imperfections in the solder joints, but lots of folks like to leave things unfinished for a more natural, hand-crafted look.

Framing is easy too, assuming your art is a standard size. If you made your artwork from a kit, it’s almost certain that you’ll easily find a frame to that fits. But if you’re the do it yourself type who designs his or her own stained glass, you’ll want to design it to fit a frame.

Marketing Stained Glass

I attend business workshops and seminars every month in an effort to learn more about running a business.
The one common question that I hear the most is how can I market my service or product. We often have students who catch the glimpse of how great it is to do glass and they start to imagine themselves doing glass work for a living. Some have been brave enough to ask us how they might be able to make money doing stained glass.
We have many times replied that we don’t know, if they find out, will they please let us know how? But here are some of the basics of promoting and marketing stained glass.

Going To The Fair

1. We heard from several people that attending craft fairs would be the best way that we could market our glass. We were told stories about the success of glass artists who sell $30,000 worth of glass every year in just two days!
With success like that, we figured we better go to a fair.

2. In Sept 2005 we went to Swiss Days in Midway, Utah with high hopes, but things didn’t go as planned. We didn’t quite make back the booth fees we’d paid.
What went wrong?

3. To answer that, we need to examine several factors.

A. As gift glass sellers, we failed because we didn’t sell enough product. Why? Because we didn’t have enough small gift items to sell. You can’t sell what you don’t have.

B. We were focused as custom glass artists. We passed out cards and made contacts at the fair. We showed a lot of art glass at the fair and actually succeeded in making a lot of contacts. Over the next few months we picked up several new customers and got to build a lot of custom work as a direct result of the fair.

Conclusion: It felt like a failure because we made so little during the fair, but we had a great time and met many people who wanted stained glass, which lead to some custom work. In the future we plan to take more gift items to satisfy our immediate cash flow needs and we plan to have response cards in an attempt to get those who are interested in stained glass to give us some contact information. We may offer a free video on cd/dvd as a way to get folks to give us their information.
We’ve also determined to attend smaller boutiques throughout the year in an effort to refine what sells and better learn what the gift market will consist of.

Getting Custom Work

4. When Tom Holdman (a local stained glass artist) decided to become a stained glass artist, a neighbor recommended that he go to a wealthy neighborhood and go door to door asking if they need stained glass in their home. He did just that and made a contact with a family who wanted glass and had some influence with the library board. This lead to a commercial job which lead to a great deal of publicity.

5. What can we learn from this story? That any friendship or relationship can lead to glass work. What we must do is ask anyone and everyone if they want or need stained glass work. Then, we must doggedly follow-up when someone expresses an interest. It is often amazing how a simple monthly phone call will eventually pay off. There have been many clients in our past who put off their project for a year or more. What you want to remember is that they wanted the window enough to have you design it, so keep in touch. Then they’ll think of you when the finances ease up. Wouldn’t it be sad to have another artist get to build your creation, just because you didn’t phone them every month?

Selling Cabinet Door Inserts

6. When a customer asks for cabinet door inserts, it will help the process along if you are ready to ask them the questions which will narrow down their choices and help to determine what you’ll need to do with the doors.
Ask if the doors are new or refurbished. If you can, learn the brand and manufacturer and most importantly, are they routed out for inserts, this will let you know if they can come straight to you for glass or if they need to go to your wood worker to have them modified.

7. Helping the customer arrive at what they want will save you and them a lot of time. So ask if they want to use transparent or opaque glass. What colors do they want to introduce and what bevels if any should go into the design. Do they want to add lighting to their cabinets and how much do they plan to spend. Do they want truly leaded panels or will single side leading be adequate. Last, what finish do they want, black, silver, pewter, bright copper or antique copper.

8. But how do we find these clients? We advertise in the yellow pages under cabinet makers equipment and supplies and we go to cabinet shops and put samples into their hands. The best thing to do is furnish glass samples of those which we carry and sample glass designs that they can show their customers. I like to furnish 8″ wide by 10″ tall samples because they fit comfortably in a box and are easy for the cabinet sales people to haul around. This is an investment of time, effort and money which is necessary because the salesman won’t sell for me if they don’t think about stained glass when they meet with clients.

Educate Folks About Stained Glass

9. Occasionally, in the past, we would moan and complain about the lack of understanding that the public had of what good stained glass was and how it enhances ones environment. Then one day, the light came on and we realized that it was our job to educate the public. We knew that the best clients for custom glass were the ones who had tried it and discovered that it wasn’t all that easy to build glass. They had a higher appreciation for the value of the work.
As artists, we not only have to raise the awareness of our art, we have to teach about the complexities and subtleties of our art. If you don’t point out it’s strengths, who will?

10. We discovered that one way to educate the community was to hold free or low cost seminars and workshops. This leads to many opportunities to share your knowledge of the stained glass industry and techniques. It also serves to raise the consciousness level of the community of stained glass around them.

11. You know how it is, you start looking for a leather sofa, or buy one and everywhere you look, you find leather sofas. Then you find a brand of running shoes that are particularly comfortable and you suddenly notice that “everyone” is wearing that brand of shoes. Your consciousness level has been raised and once it’s been raised, it will never be the same again.
That’s what you want to have happen with the community as far as stained glass is concerned.

12. We also found that the decorators and designers that often recommend us to their clients needed to be educated in the subtitles of stained glass art. They often didn’t know the finishes available or what the difference between the leaded method and copper foil were.

13. So we prepared presentations and educational materials for them, so they could have them for their clients. But we made sure that they were exposed to all the materials so that they would be knowledgeable when they presented them to their clients.

14. In conclusion, promoting your stained glass art is all about movement. You’ve got to prove you’re not dead. And you do that by attending fairs and boutiques so you can read the pulse of your market. And you stay in touch with those you meet. You groom relationships. You spend time talking with friends and former clients, not just to ask them for leads but also to get their feelings about glass. And you promote specific products which you specialize in, like cabinet doors.

And finally, you remember that you are a cheerleader for your industry and it doesn’t matter if you provide a free seminar which results in someone getting excited about glass and going to your competition. What goes around, comes around.

If you are out there promoting stained glass, so will your competition and you’ll find that there really isn’t any competition in this field. That there is plenty of work to go around. Many people want and need stained glass in their lives, they just don’t know it yet. So go out there and find them!