Adding Stained Glass At Home

When I was younger, I remember spending summer weekends at my grandparents’ house. They had one of those comfortable one-story home plans with a huge yard all around and surrounded with woods. I would spend the day picking cherry tomatoes that my grandmother grew on latticework off of their wrap-around deck. It was a simple, yet elegant home that was perfect for them. Since they were both the crafters, I recall their two-car garage was packed full of art and building supplies. My grandfather would always be working on his latest garden trellis or stand-alone swing. My grandmother was most creative with stained glass. Almost every window in their home was a beautiful stained glass piece of art that she personally handcrafted. Her master bedroom had two very distinct windows that she created in a vertical iris design. When she wasn’t busy gardening or cooking, I would hang out with her and help pick out the perfect glass pieces from piles and piles of shards.

After my grandmother passed away after a very long and fulfilled life, she left me all of her stained glass supplies. I thought she had a lot of supplies when I was younger, but was amazed when I saw the amount she had collected over the years. Fortunately, she taught me how to use all the stained glass tools safely and I seem to have picked up a few of her creative talents as well. I became rather skilled in soldering lead cames together around the colorful glass pieces. My first creation was an ode to my grandmother for my mother’s house. I measured the small circular window that she wanted done, and went home to get creating. We decided that this would be placed on the inside over the existing window pane, so that the weather would not affect it. I drew out a lovely pattern of a purple iris, just like the ones that my grandma had in her bedroom. Before I knew it, I finished my first stained glass window. My mother was thrilled to see it and we carefully installed it so she can enjoy her memorial iris window.

neutral bathroom with stained glass bay window

Now that I had a taste of creating stained glass windows, I just couldn’t stop drawing more and more designs. I decided to create a classic, geometric design for the windows over my bathtub. I measured out one large rectangular design as well as two side rectangular panels that are much more narrow. My design echoed the box shape of the window with curvy middle lines for a contrast in shape. Since my bathroom was neutral colored, I used frosted glass instead of incorporating colors into the window. This piece took quite a bit longer to make since it was much larger than what I was used to creating. When all was finished, I was surprised at how well it turned out. It was perfect for providing extra privacy while bathing, but still lets plenty of light inside to brighten the space. I was on such a roll that I decided to do my little loft window in the same design.

loft with circular stained glass window

My newly discovered talent and gorgeous windows like you see in many Country French homes like ours were attracting a lot of attention, especially from my eight year old. She would watch me make the stained glass and solder the pieces together. Unfortunately, she was a little too young to safely work the stained glass material, at least in my judgment. So, instead of working with glass and fire, we decided to look into window films. We purchased a window film kit online that came complete with colored, decorative and embossed window films that you just adhere to the window. She was very excited to decorate her personal window in her room. I helped her with the first few clings and showed her how to properly stick it to the glass and get all the bubbles out. I must admit that she made an absolutely beautiful design, especially for her first try. Looks like I have a future stained glass artist on my hands. My grandmother would be so proud.

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