Stained glass painting (glass painting, stained glass drawing) is an image made with special paints on a smooth glass surface. The stained glass windows and the rays of light passing through them are truly a magnificent sight. Fortunately, in order to create your own stained glass painting, you do not need to have any special training. It is enough to choose a suitable sketch, take a base, paints, well, inspiration will come by itself, it is only necessary to get to know the history of stained glass windows better, study the features of different techniques and be inspired by the finished works.
The history of glass painting
Stained glass painting begins its history from the 10th century, when sheet glass appeared. The color mosaic did not convey small details, so the appearance of this technique was a big event. In the Middle Ages, stained glass painting was used only in cathedrals. The sun’s rays passing through colored glass created magical highlights and mysterious penumbra. During the Renaissance, images became more voluminous and complex in composition. Unfortunately, during the religious wars, many stained glass windows were broken, it was too expensive to order new ones, so they were replaced with ordinary glasses for a long time.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, stained glass painting experienced a new rise. At that time, glass was produced in large flat sheets, so a huge space opened up for artists. Moreover, now they had a wide palette of oil and silicate paints at their disposal. The windows began to look like paintings with fascinating biblical and secular subjects. In the 1840s, an Imperial Glass Factory was even opened in Russia, which produced stained glass windows.
In the late 19th – early 20th century, glass compositions lost their popularity because they did not fit into the Art Nouveau style that was fashionable at that time. Besides, it was time for wars and revolutions, and fragile works were no longer relevant.
A new wave of interest in stained glass painting arose in the second half of the 20th century, when there was a need to restore destroyed ancient buildings and churches. New technologies have come to the artists’ aid. The glasses have become safer, and the paints are brighter, resistant to fading, temperature changes, precipitation. It is not surprising that stained glass painting has regained popularity not only among professional artists, but also among creative people who love to draw.
Types of stained glass paints and their features
The brightness and durability of a stained glass window directly depends on the characteristics of the paints with which it is painted.
Water-based acrylic paints are odorless, so they can be used even by children and pregnant women, as well as people prone to allergies. Great for small jobs.
Dry (stop sticking) for 3-4 hours, completely dry in 24 hours. Then the painting can be washed with water.
The finished painting is not afraid of dust.
For final fixing, it can be fired in a conventional oven. This is absolutely safe, since only water evaporates.
Perfectly mixed with each other.
If you need to change something, the non-dried paint is easily washed off with water.
Not as bright as organic-based paints.
Without firing or varnishing, scratches appear on the drawing.
Due to the thick consistency, water paints are not suitable for large fills.
As it dries, it may slightly move away from the contour, so at the edges of the drawing, the paint should be put in a thicker layer than in the center. The finished work should be checked for the presence of “holes” before drying.
The basis of solvent paints is resin, solvents, alcohol, so they have a very unpleasant characteristic smell, it is recommended to wear a respirator when painting, ventilate the room. The solvents give beautiful deep colors, creating a smooth and durable coating that is resistant to temperature changes, condensation, and water.
No firing is required.
Bright glossy surface of the paint layer.
Independently evenly distributed over the surface.
An ideal choice for large–scale murals – walls, doors, windows, mirrors.
It should not be heated under any conditions.
Drying within 10 days. In the first 2-3 days, you can not touch the paint layer.
Gentle drying. The work should be dried in a clean room by placing it in a clean cardboard box and covering it with a thin breathable cloth.
Materials and tools for painting stained glass windows
Before you start creating, check if you have prepared all the tools and materials. You will need:
The basis for painting is a special glass, any glass object or surface (mirror, window, door, etc.). There should be no chips, plaque, rainbow spots on the glass.
Paints. For beginners, it is best to take paints that do not require firing, or fix the image with varnish.
Contours. It is desirable that they are of the same brand as stained glass paints.
Brushes. Experienced artists advise using thin ones for contours and small details, thicker ones for filling large fragments. It is better to take an artificial pile. If your paints have special nozzles, then you can do without brushes at all.
Palette knife for shading paint.
Transparent acrylic lacquer.
Stencil and marker for transferring the drawing.
Water, alcohol or other solvent, depending on the base of the paints.
Alcohol for degreasing the surface.
You will also need a palette, cotton swabs and toothpicks to correct the details of the image, a cloth for wiping brushes and nozzles.
Work in a well-ventilated room where no one interferes with you, there is no bright lighting. Cover the table and floor with a covering material.
Where can I get a sketch for stained glass painting? A stencil is a sheet of plastic or cardboard on which slots are made corresponding to the painted parts of the image. If the drawing is complex, then it is attached from the back of the glass and traced along the lines with a thin marker.
Stained glass painting techniques
Before you start working, you should decide on the technique in which you are going to paint the glass.
Contour technique allows you to immediately present the result of the work. First you need to outline all the sketch lines with a contour. After its complete drying, they begin to paint over the internal fragments. The finished drawing, thanks to its deliberate schematicity, very much resembles a real stained glass window.
The non-sculptural technique is more complex. She assumes that the colors flow freely over the glass, mixing with each other and creating bizarre abstractions. It requires special skill, deep knowledge of the properties of different paints depending on the brand, the basis, the degree of dilution, color compatibility.
Multilayer technique involves applying paint in several layers, and the quality of mixing colors depends on how raw the lower strokes were. This allows you to achieve very realistic three-dimensional images, to convey a subtle play of light and shadow. Water-based paints are best suited for this technique.
Dot painting is the filling of contours and fragments themselves with a set of dots. The same sketch can be used to create different drawings, it is only necessary to change the density of the application and the size of the dots. Stained glass painting techniques can be combined. For example, inside the contour of one of the fragments, you can use a non-contour technique and add dots after drying.
Painting on glass step by step
Contour technique is the simplest for beginners, that’s why the master class is dedicated to it. Now that everything is ready, you can start creating your first masterpiece.
The work surface should be degreased with alcohol so that the paint fits better and lasts longer.
Attach the stencil to the glass (you can fix it with pieces of paper tape) and carefully outline the contours with a marker. Now carefully remove the stencil so as not to smudge the lines. Take your time. Also, the sheet with the image can be placed behind the glass.
Draw contours along the lines, moving from the center to the edges. Try to keep the line solid and as even as possible in thickness. At first, the contours may be uneven – this is normal. With experience, everything will get better.
Now the contour should dry properly, the drying time is indicated on the package. If you hurry, the lines will smudge, and the drawing will be spoiled.
Then fill each fragment with paint. Move from the middle to the edges. Mix colors only on the palette.
Proceed to the background after you have worked out all the details of the image. Now the finished painting needs to be dried, protecting the surface from dust ingress. The drying time, as we have already indicated above, depends on the basis of the paint. If the paint is water-based, then to fix the pattern, you need to burn the product in the oven or cover it with a colorless acrylic varnish.
If the object you are painting is in contact with food or drink, then make sure that the drawing is strictly on its outer side, and the edges in contact with the lips are free of the paint layer.
When firing water paints, an important rule must be observed: the work is put in a still cold oven and is taken out of it only after complete cooling. The firing time is approximately 1 – 1.5 hours, the temperature is about 160 degrees. The exact manufacturer’s recommendations are usually placed on a bottle of paint.
Make sure that all contour lines are completely closed.
It is necessary to remove defects – bubbles, excess paint, etc., even before drying. Remove excess paint with a cotton swab or adjust it closer to the contours. It is convenient to pierce the bubbles with a toothpick. If the contour is smeared, it’s okay, just wipe it off the glass and try again.
If the paints have thickened, then they should be diluted with diluents of the same brand.