Picture of Make a stained glass mosaic portrait from a photograph.
Aimed at total glass newbies, instructions on making an 8"x10" framed stained glass portrait from a photograph of your subject. Please read the supply list and the entire instructable before beginning. From start to finish you need about 3 days: one day for gluing the glass to the frame and letting it dry, one day for gluing the glass to the glass and letting it dry, and one day to let the grout dry so you can seal it.

SUPPLIES: (see instructable for details, cost is in USD, ESTIMATED)

frame ($10-$20)

flat surface (hope you already have one)

PATIENCE (priceless)

glass ($20-$60 depending on your design)

ruler (if you don't have a suitable one, usually around $10, add a couple bucks if you need to buy the cork separately)

glue/s ($5-20)

glass cutter ($1-$40)

cutter oil (about $3)

glass nippers ($25)

running pliers (about $10)

breaker/grozer pliers (about $8)

grout ($1-$10)

plastic bowl and spoon ($2?)

paper towels ($4-$8)

newspaper/plastic sheeting ($1)

masking tape ($2)

adhesive bandages (for when you cut yourself with the glass) ($3)

gloves ($3)

sharpie ($1)

grout sealant ($5)

hanger for frame ($1)

bamboo skewers ($2?)

Total cost $107-$236 depending on what you already have and how you budget.

If you do not live near a craft store or specialty stained glass store, www.delphiglass.com is a very reputable and well-stocked store to order most if not all of these supplies from.

Step 1: Find your frame

You have to have something to do your mosaic on, right? So the first step is to find a frame you like. For your first one, let's go with an 8"x10". Preferably wooden and not painted, and if it has any paint or fancy gilding it would be best if it has a protective coating of some kind. At some point you are going to be grouting and using glues, so it's best if the frame is sort of simple and easy to repair if something were to get scratched or scuffed. Hopefully your frame comes with glass, but if it does not, don't worry, the next step will cover getting that fixed.
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VERAL6 months ago

To spread the grout use half of an old pair of flipflops, no cuts, no bandaids.

How do i make the template?

KedaDibandion (author)  VERAL6 months ago
Good idea! As far as the template, I really just played around in PhotoShop until I got something I liked. You could use crazy filters on phone apps, or Gimp as well (a free image software).
mouly5 years ago
I have started working on this. I'm around Step 5 - having trouble finding the colored glass online. Most of the online stores sell assorted colors - so I can't pick the exact color I want. Do you have suggestions (links) to the products I could try?
crapsoup mouly1 year ago

If you mix elmer's glue with food coloring, cover pieces of glass and bake on low temp in the oven for about an hour, you can make any color glass you want. ( just remember to place the glass in the oven before you heat it and let it cool before you remove it.

eka1 crapsoup7 months ago
Hi, thanks for the tip!! Can I apply the same tactic to make colored tiles?
pjstewart mouly5 years ago
Since you can't find colored glass to match, have fun with it.  Remember, cool colors (greens, blues, purples) recede, and warm colors (yellow, orange, reds) advance.  Remember, stained glass portraits do not look like real portraits anyway; colors will make it look interesting. 
KedaDibandion (author)  mouly5 years ago
http://www.delphiglass.com/ is a good resource for glass and supplies.
http://www.spectrumglass.com/stained-glass/retailers/ -- you can also do a search here and see if anyone sells spectrum (easy & cheap glass) near you.
eka17 months ago
THanks for the tips and full detail, I'm super excited to start Monday
StephenW48 months ago

Big thanks for this. The filter tip will save a lot of time. Photoshop C6 requires you to "convert for smart filter" before you can use the "Cut out" filter.

lbolio12 years ago
Ty I can't wait to give it a try!!!

Congrats for you comprehensive instructions, they are great. I want to start making mosaic table tops and realize for that kind of object is quite important to get a very flat surface, how could I achieve it? Could you make an Instructional about it? I have lots of questions.

Best regards.
KedaDibandion (author)  estebansensei3 years ago
Are you planning to use tempered glass tabletops, or wood, or something else? I have a tabletop project I have been thinking of doing -- I purchased a custom-made iron table built with angle iron for the framing of the top so that it will hold a piece of plywood to use as a mosaic substrate.

One way to achieve a level tabletop after a mosaic has been laid down would be to cover it with a clear resin (applied as a liquid) so that the surface sets level. I have not tried this, but I have seen it done, and it seems like it would be particularly useful as a table surface because it would be easy to wipe clean.
lfay13 years ago
Thank you so much for your tutorial! I really, really want to try this! I have been collecting old window frames!
Juleemt3 years ago
Lovely, amazing idea!!! i will try it soon
amberchina4 years ago
Very beautiful
amberchina4 years ago
LadyPage5 years ago
Great tutorial, I have been working with mosaics for 4 years now, and I can appreciate the work you put into this! What an amazing creation, a work of art!! Congrats!
Una5 years ago
This is amazing. Thanks for sharing.
Q. i would like to do a mosaic on my bathroom door (of a mermaid of course! i have two sons so it will be a merboy and his sealPUP). can i glue directly to hollow core door? Q. can i get away with mounting door and working on mosaic a little at a time or does it def. have to be in horizontal position? might this depend on finding glue wit shortest set up time? thanks!
i am hoping to make mural full size, therefore i thought that i would use regular bull nose tile as a frame around mural. i thought that would be in keeping with project but make safe edges. what to do you think? Q. good point about the wood since it will be in a bathroom! what do you mean by sealing the wood? do you mean like boat varnish? i like suggestions about tape/contact paper as i would only do small sections at a time. thanks for answering so promptly.
KedaDibandion (author)  misskitty9146 years ago
Bull nose tile should work, just make sure that the extra width on the door won't interfere with the hinge mechanism. As far as sealant, something simple like polyurethane or like a deck sealer should work ok.
yeah, i think i'm going to do the hardware work first (hinges and doorknob). thanks for all of your input!
KedaDibandion (author)  misskitty9146 years ago
You should be able to glue directly to the door. Keep in mind that there will be edges, so if you are not going to mosaic the entire door think about creating a "panel" with wooden edging of some sort to isolate/protect the mosaic on the door. As far as doing the mosaic upright, I'd do a test first with a couple different glues and see how much they slide before drying. You could also use contact paper (preferably clear so you can see your pieces) after gluing for a while to sort of hold up the pieces while they glue. Tape could do that too. Keep in mind that the mosaic will be subject to jarring due to the constant opening and closing of the door, and humidity. It might be a good idea to seal the door if it isn't already, so that the expanding and contracting wood doesn't affect the mosaic as much.
adarii6 years ago
Hiya, this is a great instructable I'd love to try. I was wondering if you could maybe add exactly how you convert your photo to the template you end up using for your mosaics. I know you mention using the "Cutout" feature with Photoshop but after fiddling with that I wasn't able to come anywhere near how your photo came out. Are you using other steps as well? Thanks!
KedaDibandion (author)  adarii6 years ago
I can't get to my computer with adobe on it (silly virus attack) but from memory.... First I'd resize it to the correct size for the frame I was using, usually just 150-200 dpi resolution. (The template doesn't have to be super crisp, and usually the filters have a better effect at this resolution.) Then I'd go to Hue/Sat and "colorize" the image to the general selection of colors that I want. From there, I'd go to cutout and fiddle with the settings there until I have something I like. Does that help?
Thanks, that helped a lot. I filddled around some more after your tips and got some good results.
MaxineLaRue6 years ago
Love it!! Excellent job.
Your mosaics are so pretty! Making one for my sister.... I hope it comes out nearly as good!
KedaDibandion (author)  thewall_ster6 years ago
Send me a picture when you're done!
i used to make something like this using shrink-it paper...trace and colour the photo,then cut it up into small pieces...looked really good when i scanned and printed a portrait and made it grey scaled.like an old b&w pic..love this mosaic one..ill definatly try iy if i ever get brave enuff...glass scares me lol.
KedaDibandion (author)  teachme2night6 years ago
Glass is awesome, you just have to be careful, treat it with the respect it deserves, and not be too squeamish; you WILL get cut as a glass newbie. It just happens. The good thing is, the glass that cuts you is usually so sharp you don't even know you're cut until you see blood on what you're working on! Ah, silver lining.
shazni6 years ago
this is really nice....for people who cant find coloured glass or tiles...or if it's very expensive like in my country...or sometimes if we are lazy... paste a photogragh...and then paste clear cut glass on top. then do the same grout stuff. and Bang!!! you have almost the same effect!
jtong776 years ago
Great ible!!! So beautiful and accessible. I have a question: why does the glass need o be glued to the frame? Is it because using the original backing will block light from going through? If that's the case, do you think it may work well to make a custom backing with plexiglass to utilize the original tabs in the back to hold the mosaic in place? That may save some glue drying time.
KedaDibandion (author)  jtong776 years ago
Mostly it's so the mosaic doesn't shift in the frame once it's grouted and crack the grout. I would at least put a couple spots of glue, or just do the corners.
aholway6 years ago
REALLY looking forward to trying this--I'm just getting into mosaics--so THANKS! Question, tho: any particular reasons to do this within a frame rather than setting frame around it when it's done?
KedaDibandion (author)  aholway6 years ago
I'm not sure what you mean by 'setting frame around it when it's done," could you elaborate?
I think the question is... can you just craft the mosaic on the glass backing, without the backing being seated in the frame during construction, and then slide the glass backing into the frame after the mosaic is completed? I'm assuming you can't do it that way because you might get the mosaic into areas of glass which are supposed to be fitted into the frame, and then you will cry great big soppy tears that you wasted all that time sizing the glass to the frame... This is so awesome and I'm now looking at a hobby in which I was never interested until I saw your 'ible. Thank you for sharing!
KedaDibandion (author)  Sooz6 years ago
Ah, I see, yeah. I like to have the frame already there so that I don't do that exact thing. I want the glass to get really close to the edge, and the easiest way to achieve that is to have the frame there to butt the pieces up against.
neale6 years ago
brilliant!!! i am so excited to try
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