Introduction: Stained Glass Recreation in Paper

About: i am now a full-time 3D Artist, constantly believe i can be a better man, Just be the change you wanna see in the world, thats why i am here...
As some of you might know, I was one of the winners in previous paper craft contest! I would thank you guys again for your support!

Ever envy the color and holy caustic of stained glass? I had the fortune of visiting Getty museum in LA Califonia. There I was inspired by the collection of stained glass. i decide to make a self portrait series of 3 pieces. since the stained glass window in catholic is one of the earliest form of art series!

I was award the Cricut Explore machine as a gift, it is a consumer razor cutting device that hooks up to the computer and cut pattern from pixel or vector images on a wide range of material.I used this bad boy for a number of personal projects! finally here's one I can share with you guys!

Please note that you can totally finish the project without the explore! it just happens to save me a lot of time, which I am grateful for!

Step 1: Tools and Materials

From the great pieces i saw in Getty plus google reference... i had a mental picture of patterns, the colors and the primitive forms. Or if you are recreating a specify design, its time to get you tools ready!

i used a cross platform free vector creation freeware called inkscape, you can obtain your free license here:

You can use illustrator! i simply dont have a license, you can also use the free shapes in powerpoint! select everything at last and right-click then save as image.

we will then print the design and cut it with cutter and scissors or in my case, My Cricut Explore.

3 Materials:

1. Black cardstock (or thick color paper)

2. Colored craft film (in various colors)
(hkd 4.5 for each piece, 1.5 m by 1.5 m)

3. UHU Stick!

Step 2: Computer Aided Design (CAD)

1. i added the primitive forms of 3 windows, a big centre window with dome top, 2 smaller ones with pointy tops.

2. take advantage of geometric shapes, and make small compartments! since it is a huge part of stained glass!

3. Draft out objects for composition, for me, i used my canesword, myself, some art tools, maple leaf, silhouette of my girlfriend, elements of ps4 controllers. all this are crucial symbol of my dilemma if not duality of bith traditional and digital artist

4. Use your creativity and mess with the positive and negative space! some tips are to used of the background, use radiation patterns as well as adding frames, these elements are common in stain glass to direct your attention. centre composition is common too!

5. Export your image as .png or .gif with alpha channel if possible! Cricut works easier with images contain transparency!

Step 3: Computer Vs. Manual Cutting!

With the limited amount of time i had, the explore helped alot since i can spend more time into tweaking the design itself, rather than having worry about the cutting. the cutting took around two hours into total, that includes my small test cut and final cut.

i did cut large Delicated paper pieces manually before, so i am glad i saved some hardwork and risk lower chance of human errors. it will certainly take triple the time.

the cricut machine operate with their browser based creative suite. which at times is a bit of a bummer. the adobe flash checking and updating everything i fire it up is a bit of a hassle.

i added support lines for weak parts, i changed the composition a bit, i also scale it up for my final print!

Step 4: Cricut Design Space

Here is the most complex part of the project.


  1. If you haven't, install the cricut design space program from the official website
  2. Start the program, it will pop up in your default browser.
  3. Create an account or sign-in.
  4. Upload your image.
  5. For discrete black and white picture, the simple option will do fine.
  6. Select or erase the white faces, (only for picture without transparency)
  7. you will see you image on the mat with dimension and scles
  8. Scale it to desire size (within the size of you own cutting mat , mine is 12x12 inches)
  9. with you explore plugged in, Press go.

Step 5: Cricut Explore Operation

The software should auto detect the machine
you need to confirm the mat size,
The you will see the Set Load Go page,
Again confirm the cricut explore thru usb if necessary
You can then operate things with the explore itself.
Turn the Material dial on the machine, it determines how deep the knife will go, i used card stock for my thick black paper.
attach the paper of desire onto the sticky mat
insert the mat to the machine.
Press the load button on the machine.
The machine will roll the mat and initialise
Press Go, the the cut would begin
The cut should peel off easily

My prize pack also include a tool set of scissors and hook and mat cleaner, they are great help,
Observe if the paper is cutter all the way through, or if it cuts too deep. Too shallow you can't cut, too deep you hurt the cutter mat. You can pause the cut with the pause button on the machine. Unload the mat, adjust the material dial as needed, loaded the mat again and press go. The calibration is super accurate! I am so impressed! It should cut along the same line alright!
The cut sequence is in the machine, you can cut the same thing again and again without using the software by the go button.

Step 6: Gluing the Colored Film

i found five colors and a white translucent looking plastic films.

You can get way more than 6 shades!
i did so by overlapping films of same color, as well as different color up to 4 layers! You get a wider range of reds and yellows. I tried drawing the shape before cutting the coloured film, it was precise but extremely slow. I then glued a big piece of plastic film on the pattern, then cutting away the excess.

first tip is to work near a window in daytime! hold it against sunlight and check your progress! I did a part of it at night, but sunlight is much better than the desk lamp!

Use complimentary colors next to each other for high contrast! green and orange. also to use color wisely, i minized the used of blue except on my shirt, this help draw attention! also intrdouce asymmetry for a more natural and crafty feeling
I glue the uni on the edge of each face!as much as possible since they looks a bit blurry under sunlight

free feel to reference existing glass from you local church or online! 1 more trick is to use darker color on the rim and lighter color in the centre

Step 7: Framing (optional)

i want to frame it for an exhibition in my university. He exhibition need, and the school request to keep it in the collection of the library gallery.

To keep the transparent property, it should should be framed between two clear plates. This is a hack of furniture I suppose haha! I bought the frame from IKEA,

i bought a NYTTJA 50x70cm and a MARIETORP 50 x70cm in IKEA. they both have clear acrylic plate of smae dimension. so we can sandwich the artwork between the acrylic board im the same frame! leave back lighting. It's not noticible from the front and do the trick!

upon replace the framebacking with the acrylic, i found it a bit heavy for the frame and it deforms. i pulled a tight fishing line in the back to hold the frame in shape.

Thank you again for your support! And the prize from instruct able really stepped up my craft diversity! Go make your instruct able and join contest!
Please leave your thought in the comment session below! I would love to see your feedback! Do you want more circuit project?

Until next time! Happy instructsbling!

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