There are many techniques that can be used to create beautiful and interesting works of art in stained glass. This article deals with stained glass painting. This technique has been used for centuries and was the most popular form of stained glass during the Renaissance era due to their keen aspiration for intricate details in artwork. Painting of stained glass became so popular, in fact, that the earlier stained glass arts of using “pot metal glass” almost disappeared entirely.
You will need several items handy to do stained glass painting. Obviously you will need paint and paintbrushes, if you cannot afford the specialized stained glass type you may be able to improvise with regular artist’s paintbrushes. You will also need access to a kiln to set your work. Many professional studios will allow you to use their kiln for an hourly rate. Next, you will need a palette for mixing your paint. A piece of sandblasted glass is the most suitable choice for mixing you stained glass paints. A palette knife is a helpful tool in mixing the paint. The paints are made from a mixture of powdered oxides, gum arabic and water.
As with other forms of stained glass art, you will want to start with your design on paper. Make sure there is some definition to your design and that the differently colored areas are outlined in a darker color. You may tape your design to the bottom of your glass so that it will remain in place during painting. Begin painting the dark outlines of your design with a tracer or rigger (long brush with a slender point). You will want your trace paint to be dark enough to block out light and provide contrast with your lighter colors. You must apply the outlines in long, smooth, continuous strokes. Do not try to “go over” your lines once they have dried (which does not take long!).
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If you do you will cause the paint to bubble and separate (fry) when the glass is fired in the kiln. You should not touch the line at all once it has been painted, although you may correct some mistakes and overages by gently scraping the paint off with a toothpick AFTER it has dried completely. Next, your stained glass trace paint is fired in the kiln at approximately 1150? F.
After your trace paint has been fired, you are ready to apply your shading colors. The shading color may be dropped into a particular area of the stained glass and then brushed or “mopped” over the entire area where that color is desired. You may then use various brushes with different strokes or techniques to create a stippled or otherwise textured look. Keep in mind that the color of the shaded area will appear lighter in your finished stained glass project after it has been fired in the kiln.
You may also wish to enhance the look of your project with silver stain. Silver stain will be applied to the back side of your stained glass project (the opposite side from your painting) and will actually change the color of the glass rather than simply cover it. Silver stain can be corrosive as it contains silver nitrate so use with caution and please use clean brushes for this portion of the project. The effect of silver stain is a lovely yellow to amber-colored hue to the stained glass and provides a lovely background to your stained glass artwork.
Your skill and technique in painting stained glass will improve over time, as with any new endeavor. Be patient and allow yourself to enjoy the process. Painting stained glass can be a rewarding hobby and with a little practice you may even create a masterpiece someday!