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How to make a Stained Glass Window

In this tutorial I show you the process of making a stained glass window. I take you through it step by step. I also have a video tutorial at the bottom of the page.

Youtube iconWill has a youtube channel with over 1000 videos on projects you can make. Check it out right here


This is the window that we make in this tutorial.

The stained glass window we make


Using a lightbox to make the sketches

Start with a design. Sketch it out and re-sketch it as often as needed. And if this is your first stained glass piece I recommend you keep it very simple. A complex design is something that takes practice to realize into stained glass.

And, I recommend you do a small piece first. Maybe something about a foot square. This is something that is manageable for a beginner.

Keep this in mind as we go through this tutorial. I am doing a window sized project but just about everything applies to your smaller piece.



Drawing it out full size

Then transfer your pattern to a sheet of paper or poster board that is full size. This is the actual size of the window.









Will has some beginner tips for you if you are designing a stained glass window on paper



Get the angles nice and square

You should frame your template with some wood. This is to hold all the pieces of the stained glass project. It keeps everything perfectly aligned and will enable you to make each piece correctly.

Notice I am using a clear plastic triangle to get the 90 degree angle exactly right.





Thisis how the wood holds the glass

See how the frame I made holds everything tightly in place. This is going to be very important when it comes time to solder everything. If your stained glass piece is square or rectangular you should build the frame all the way around.

My window shape, being an arch like this makes it tricky to do a complete frame. I will just screw in pieces of wood to hold things together as I need it.



Next we are going to cut and place the glass pieces right onto that template.


A piece of stained glass

Many types of stained glass is two sided. That is each side is different. Remember this. And as you cut and place your pieces always be sure to keep the correct sides.






Ok, Let's cut our first piece of stained glass.


To do the first cut

My first cut is a straight cut which makes it very easy. I am using a cork backed ruler to protect the glass.








A glass cutter


The cutting wheel


The tapping ball

On the other end is a ball. This is used for tapping the glass to help break it.





Dip the cutting wheel in oil

Dip the cutting wheel in a light oil.









Etch a firm line

Draw the cutting wheel firmly across the glass. It should make a nice even scratching sound. Press firmly. But you really don't have to press overly hard. The cutter just scores the surface of the glass and that is enough.






Snap along the line

Now you just need to snap it on that score line. Hold it like this with one thumb on either side of the score line. Then snap it by pushing down and out with your thumbs gently. This will easily snap it if you have a good score line.







The glass snaps in half

This is a great way to finish straight cuts but you can't do this with all cuts.









Grind it smooth

If you have a grinder it helps to clean up the piece or get it to fit just right.








place the glass piece on your template

Place it on your template and check it. Trim it as necessary.

Ok, We are doing great. Let's continue and I will show you the next step. It is called copper foiling







Watch the Video Tutorial Here:


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REd Devil Glass Cutter

Our most popular model for general cutting, with steel wheel for the do-it-yourself craftsman. Made of zinc die cast. Standard glass - steel wheel/ball end.



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