Decorative stained glass has been around for centuries. One of the earliest examples of stained glass was unearthed at St. Paul's Monastery in Jarrow, England and dates back to 686 AD. Stained glass windows became popular in homes in the 19th and 20th centuries. You can make a faux-stained glass window to decorate your own home's windows today, following these instructions.

Select a Window Glass Panel

To make your own stained glass window panel, you will need a section of glass cut to fit the size of your window. Most glass shops can cut one to size for you. Measure the dimensions of your existing window glass and subtract approximately 1/8 of an inch from each of its edges. This will give you the measurements for the stained glass panel to fit properly over the existing window glass and inside the frame. As you will be installing your stained glass panel over your existing window glass, you don't need to remove the existing glass. This process also allows you to remove the glass pane later if you move, or are renting your home and don't want to install a permanent stained glass window.

Choose Your Stained Glass Design

Select a piece of cardboard or paper that is the same size as the glass panel you will be staining. Outline the edges of your glass panel onto the paper or cardboard, then set the glass panel aside. Draw or trace your stained glass design onto the paper or cardboard to use as a pattern behind the glass panel when you "stain" your glass. 

Remember to segment your design into separate sections to look like a real stained glass panel. You can draw a geometric pattern or draw decorative objects in your stained glass design. There are many websites providing free patterns you can use for your design.

Outline the Stained Glass Sections

Real stained glass windows are made by soldering together pieces of colored glass with a combination of tin and lead soldering wire. For this project, you can use either lead adhesive crafting strips or black-colored leading stain. Both are found at most craft supply stores. 

The lead adhesive strips are best for creating straight-lined lead glass designs. To create a stained glass design with curving lines, you will need to use black leading stain, which is applied with a small paint bottle. Then, you will also need to choose various colors of glass stains for your design, which also come in small plastic paint bottles. 

Set your glass panel onto your paper or cardboard pattern and clean the glass with rubbing alcohol and a cotton balls. If you are using the bottled leading stain, apply the stain in smooth, even lines onto the glass, following your pattern outline. Make sure there are no gaps in the leading stain as you apply it. Allow the leading stain to dry completely before applying the stain colors. 

If you are using the lead adhesive strips for a straight-lined design, apply the strips onto the glass, following the outline of your drawn design. To do this, use scissors to cut the lead strips to fit each line of your design, peel the backing from the adhesive and press the strip onto the glass. Make sure the lead strips all connect without any gaps between strips.

Apply the Colored Glass Stain

Real stained glass windows are not evenly blended in their textures and colors. It is best to combine two or more colors to give your glass a variegated look of real stained glass, but you can also use single colors as well. 

To mix colors, squeeze your choice of colors in one section. Apply enough glass stain to create an even layer of color. Use a toothpick to swirl and combine the colors together until it has created the right color mixture. Be sure the glass stain touches all the leaded boarders because as the stain dries it will shrink and pull away from the leading, leaving a visible gap in your design. Use a glass stain brush to smooth any rough surfaces of the stain. Continue this process with the remaining sections on the glass panel. Allow the glass stain to dry according to the product's instructions.

Attach Your Panel Onto the Window

Apply a thin line of clear window caulk around the edge of the glass on your existing window. Set and press the stained glass panel onto the caulk. Insert coins into the bottom edge of the stained glass panel to hold the glass panel in place, and attach painter's tape across the top of the glass panel to hold it onto the window frame until the caulk sets.

After the caulk has set, remove the tape and the coins and enjoy the beauty of the sun shining through your new faux-stained glass window.

For more information, contact a company like Fischer Window and Door Store.