Thursday, 4 May 2017

Easy Stained Glass

It's amazing the products that are available on the market today. Of course real stained glass is beautiful, but it is time consuming and hazardous to create.Then there is the kind you paint onto a sheet of glass, for which you need excellent painting skills and a steady hand. So, apart from hiring a stained glass artist, how can you get the look in your home faster and at a much lower price?

A few years ago I was wandering around the hardware store on a wintery day and I discovered self adhering vinyl stained glass. Most of the patterns were very basic, but I fell for one with grapes and leaves and decided to place it down one side of my window. A while later I sold the condo, removed the "stained glass" and gave it to my sister. I fortunately had the foresight to store it on cling wrap which kept it in excellent condition. Now I'm redesigning the piece and applying it to a window in my sisters home office.

Because I had already used and customised the stained glass sticker for another window and the new window was an unusual shape, so it took some juggling to get it right. Likely you wouldn't have the same problems With a brand new piece. Heres how to do it...

Plastic smoothing tool

1. Assemble a metal scraper, soft cloth, scissors or a box cutter, some kind of smoothing tool like a small squeegee, credit card or silicon spatula and a bowl of warm water.
2. Prep is crucial here, or you won't be happy with the finished article.
3. Clean the window well, removing any bumpy bits like paint specks, putty or silicon with the scraper. TIP -  If you use a bit of water to lubricate this process you are less likely to scratch the glass.
4. Polish the inside of the window with a soft lint free cloth. Do not use wax or polish. Make sure there are no bits of fluff or hair remaining on the window.
5. Place stained glass sheet on the inside of the window and cut as needed. At this stage keep backing in place. You can tape it in place with masking tape to get an idea How the design looks from the outside.

This is where I was cutting and piecing bits together (pretty brave of me)

6. Peel back an inch or two of backing from one corner of the sheet.
7. With lint free cloth add water to the inside of the window and slide the corner in place. If you're having trouble, add a spot of washing up liquid to the water.
8. Once the corner has bonded well, gradually pull away a bit more backing and smooth with the damp cloth and/or the smoothing tool. Smooth from the centre to the outer edges pushing any bubbles out gently. Try not to stretch the vinyl.
9. Keep on peeling and smoothing until the whole piece is in place.

Scary bubbles seen from outside (The small ones go away in time)

10. As there is no glue involved you can gently pull back the vinyl and reposition, but take care to keep both surfaces clear of dirt and fluff.
11. Once you are happy with the position, keep squeezing out the bubbles working from the centre outwards. Aim to get all the large bubbles and most of the small bubbles out, but a few smaller ones are OK because they tend to dissipate over time.
12. The closer to the shape and size of the original vinyl stained glass that your window is, the easier it all gets, so for your first project aim for something simple.
13. For a large project use several sheets; butt them up to each other, but try not to overlap.

 If you complete a project send me an image and I'll immortalise you on my blog.