How to Make a Stained Glass Bike Light




Introduction: How to Make a Stained Glass Bike Light

About: The team behind Sugru, the mouldable glue that makes fixing and making easy and fun. Do-ers of the world it's time to get excited.

Step 1: Prepare Your Bike Frame

First off, find a nice triangle frame section on your bike that you can insert a glass panel into, we chose one above the back brake and thought it would make a perfect back light.

Clean this area of your bike and remove any bits of tape or things that might get in the way of your hack and put them to one side.

We also made one for Jane's lovely old blue bike :)

Step 2: Make a Template From Cardboard

To build a stained glass panel, it is best to build it flat on a desk and then insert it into the frame when it is built.

The best way to do this is to make a template from cardboard.

We used paper for our first template, when we made the glass panel from this, it didn't fit properly* :( See step 10 to see how you can cut and reshape your panel if you get it wrong.

1: Start with paper, place the sheet up to the frame and draw a rough outline. (I tried tracing from behind but parts of the frame get in the way)

2: Trim around your outline and see if it fits.

3: Trim your template bit by bit until you get a good fit. You should have about a 3 - 5mm (0.1" - 0.2") gap between your template and your frame.

4: Trace your template onto cardboard and cut it out.

5: When you fit the cardboard to your bike you will see where you can make any adjustments to get the perfect fit. Use masking tape to add additional bits of card.
TOP TIP: Make sure you set the template close to the surface of the frame rather than centred on the tube (if you set it right in, you will create a water and grime catcher with your glass panel)

TIP 1: Trace your template into the middle of a blank piece of paper as it is easier to work on like this.

TIP 2: You could draw multiple templates if you want to experiment different designs...

*Removing sugru:
sugru will bond the glass pieces together really well, but if you need to change your panel you can simply use a scalpel or sharp knife and cut the sections apart, scrape the rest off with your nail and use dry tissue paper to get as good as new.

Step 3: Experiment With Your Stained Glass Pattern

This part is the most fun :)

Make sure that the glass is clean.

We didn't have a glass cutter so embraced the challenge of making off-cuts fit together into a beautiful pattern.

Make sure that the pieces of glass are not touching, leave about 3 - 5mm (0.1" - 0.2") between them.

The spaces between the glass panels can vary quite a bit, sugru will fill all the gaps later (this is a much more forgiving process than traditional stained glass making)

I would suggest playing around with the glass for a while, you never know what you might come up with.

TIP 1: If your going to use it as a back light it's good to include as lots of reds, oranges and yellows...

TIP 2: Make sure your design doesn't go outside your template otherwise it wont fit on your bike!

Step 4: Tape It Together

Once you have decided on your final design use masking tape to stick it together on one side,

This is the best way of holding your design together for the next stage.

Step 5: Just Add Sugru - Side 1

When making this we were pleasantly surprised with how little sugru was needed. Less than 1 mini pack per side. When making this, it would be good to have some other hacks on standby so not to waste any sugru.

Roll up small sausages of sugru and push them into the gaps between the glass.

Make sure you fill all of the gaps and there is sugru touching all of the edges. To do this, firmly press the sugru into the gaps.

Remember, this is what will hold the glass panel together.

Once filled, smooth the surface of the sugru with your finger.

Leave the glass panel to cure overnight.

TIP 1: To get a super smooth surface finish, dip your finger into soapy water and rub the surface of the sugru gently.

TIP 2: Be careful not to cut your fingers, we used glass off-cuts which are very sharp, but if you are careful, you should avoid cutting yourself.

Step 6: Side 2

Once side 1 has cured, carefully turn the panel over, it will not be very strong yet so do handle with care.

Gently peel off the masking tape.

Fill in the gaps with sugru as before. Again, make sure to press the sugru firmly into the gaps making sure that it bonds to the sides of the glass.

When you are happy that you have filled the gaps, smooth the surface.

Again, leave to cure overnight.

Step 7: On Yer Bike!

First, tape over your frame, this part is essential to keeping your piece of stained glass in place and makes it a whole lot easier to apply sugru.

From behind, put your glass in place so it sticks to the masking tape and add small sections in the corners so it will hold in place.

TOP TIP: Make sure that the window is flush with the back end of the frame. This will prevent is acting as a gutter for rain water and dirt. The masking tape is kept in keeping the window flush. In the first few hours of the cure it would be worth checking the hack repeatedly to ensure that the window is not slipping.

Leave your hack to dry over night.

Step 8: Finishing the Seal

Once the glass is held securely in place it is time to complete the seal. Make sausages of sugru the size of the gap between glass and bike and press the sausage making sure there is a secure bond to both surfaces.

TIP: It is best to not use too much sugru at this stage as you do not want to cover your window, just fill in the gaps between the glass and the frame. Add less to begin with, it is always easier to add more than to remove.

When you are adding your sugru, work on both sides at the same time and smooth out the sugru that is pushed through. The gaps are likely to vary around the window, we found that much more sugru was needed at the top than anywhere else.

Once your happy with you're masterpiece leave it overnight to cure.

Step 9: Mount a Bike Light Exactly Where You Need It

We want to use our stained glass as a back light reflector.

To do this we had to mount a light to the frame, of course, we used sugru to do this, I much prefer to use sugru instead of the straps that come with these lights for 2 reasons:
1: It much tidier
2: Once you sugru your mount in place, it never moves, so no rattling or slipping off, yay :)

1: Press a piece of sugru firmly onto the back of your bike light clip and build a pyramid shape with it.

2: Press the pyramid of sugru on your light mount onto your bike frame where you want it. The sugru will press onto the frame and spread out behind the mount, This allows you to get a very good bond

3: Once it's pressed in position, smooth the sugru so that you get a lovely finish. Gently rubbing with your finger is good or you could dip your finger in soapy water and gently rub it. This will get a smoother finish.

4: Finally, tape up the light with masking tape while the sugru cures overnight.

Step 10: Oops !!!! How to Fix a Mistake

Unfortunately when we went to mount our first stained glass panel the bolt for the saddle got in the way !!!!!

Luckily you can remove sugru from almost any surface, including glass.

1: Cut sugru with a scalpel or sharp knife.

2: Scrape the rest off with your nail

3: Use dry tissue paper to rub the final loose reside off and your glass will be as clean as new.

1 Person Made This Project!


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8 years ago on Introduction

hey, thanks, delighted you like it. I love this one too, my favourite things about it:
1: how well it bonds to glass
2: how well it bonds to bicycles
3: it's dampening properties. It doesn't rattle and feels very solid.
4: using waste stained glass
What makes it your favourite ?
You going to try it out ?


9 years ago

I saw this a while ago and just thought of it today. I think I'm going to make one this weekend.


Reply 9 years ago

whoop, take pictures, would love to see yours :)


Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

We finished them last night. We used laser cut acrylic instead of broken glass. Also we didn't have Sugru so we used silicone calk instead. In order to make them a bit stronger they backed with a piece of clear acrylic as well.

Really fun project. Thanks for the inspiration. Photos coming soon.


10 years ago on Step 3

I an original idea for bicycle decoration and i think it looks better on traditional lug-framed bikes rather than more modern tig-welded bikes.I daresay a piece of clear plastic - 2 or 3 mill thickness decorated using different coloured acrylic paint would substitute for coloured glass.......excellent


Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

hi, that's a very complicated question.
I am confident with the panel, it are well made and mounted onto the bike.
The triangle part of the frame it is set in is small and very strong which increases the strength of the panel.
I think it would survive many crashes.
Hope this helps...


10 years ago on Introduction

I love it, looks great!! My only wish is that you would include some night pictures with the tail light on so we can see just how it lights up and the brightness of it. Thanks!!


Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

Hey mrenee, we've put up a photo of the bike light at night for you! Enjoy!


Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

thanks mrenee, I filmed some night time cycling the other night, I'll pop it up here soon :)


Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

hi mrenee, thanks, and sure, will pop that onto the to do list :)


10 years ago on Introduction

Figured out how not to waste surgu. Put copper tape around the edges of the glass, and SOLDER IT TOGETHER!!!!!!!
(amazing idea eh?)


Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

That's how real stained glass is done


10 years ago on Introduction

This is a nice decoration, but I don't think it's suitable as a bike light, and is unsafe to actually use. The primary purpose of a light is safety, not good looks.

Perhaps you could integrate the "plastic and ugly", yet functional light into the design somehow?

In the UK, you are only allowed a red light at the back and a white light at the front of a vehicle (plus indicators, reverse lights etc.) however there is nothing saying that there can't be an unilluminated frame for a British Standards Institute approved light.

That is Awesome! So colorful and bright. I have never seen that done before, that's for sure. I love how it fits so nicely in with the bike.