Faux Stained Glass Owl




About: Retired, doing art work now. Great. Have the time and the money to spend doing what I want to do.

I wanted to experiment with using acrylic paint and regular glass to make "stained glass". I have worked with the stained glass and it's a lot of fun, and you can be very creative.  But recently, I have become more interested in recyling available materials, and making do with what I have.  Picture frame glass is plentiful at garage sales all the time, and is very affordable.  I have tons of acrylic paint collected and used thru the years, so why not combine the two and see what happens?  Hence this instructable. 

Step 1: Obtain a Pattern (Or Design One)

To demonstrate the effectiveness of my "faux stained glass", I chose the owl pattern.  This can be obtained from the website:http://www.glasscrafters.biz.  It's always possible to design and draw your own creation, as well. I make a minimum of two copies of each pattern...makes layout much easier, and is a necessary step in the procedure.

Step 2: Gather Materials and Tools

Stained glass tools are necessary, and I already had those:  cutter, pliers, oil for the cutter, straightedge, etc.  I used regular paint brushes to paint the glass, so those were on hand, also.

Step 3: Cut Glass

Using techniques I learned when doing the regular stained glass, I proceeded to cut out my pattern(s).

Step 4: Paint the Backs of the Glass Pieces

Here, the glass is cleaned with isopropyl alcohol and dried thoroughly.  Being extremely clean, the paint adheres very well.  There are glass paints, and other prep materials, but I had these on hand, and bottom line is it works well.

Step 5: Place Glass Pieces on the Patterns

This is just to make sure all pieces are completed, and the picture doesn't have any unpainted pieces.  If there are, it is easy to see and then correct the error.  Also, I check to see if there are any unpainted spots, scrapes, or areas that need to be touched up.

Step 6: Glue Pieces to Glass Plate

I made this owl 8.5 x 11, so I needed to cut the plate to that size.  In the end, the project design will be two glass layers thick. I used a tacky glue for this step.  Once dry, believe me, the pieces are very hard to remove.

Step 7: Grout the Artwork

I chose a black grout thinking the black would resemble more closely the lead came used in real stain glass.  Mix the grout to a buttery, semi fluid consistency.  The only way to learn this is to do it.  I made many mistakes along the way, and you may too, but that's the price one pays. After all, it is an experiment!

Step 8: Clean Grout From Glass

See pictures.  After grouting, let the grout set for 20 to 30 minutes. I found that it was best to use a 3 inch spreader to remove grout.  Try not to dig any grout out from the joints, A steep angle on the spreader will prevent this.  After this step, use a grout sponge that is damp, but not wet, to remove the bulk of the grout from the glass. Be careful, again, to avoid removing any grout from the joints.

Step 9: Polish Final Piece

After drying overnight, the remaining grout can be cleaned up by using the sponge again, and then when dry, polishing with a soft cloth.  The microfiber cloth that is available  today is very useful for this step.

Step 10: Decide How You Want to Display Artwork

I wanted to make a light box with my owl, so I proceeded to make a box to fit the glass, put in two strings of christmas tree lights (40 lamps total), and made a frame for the front of the piece. Other options would be to frame the glass and hang in front of a window, much like is done with stained glass.  Or simply place on a counter with a picture stand, a-frame, or so on.  Enjoy.



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    18 Discussions


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you for making this! My grandfather that past away last year did alot of stain glass for family and his church and I wanted to start it but I was too young. Now I would really like to try it and this has the basics of it.

    2 replies

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    He also painted and took photos. I might also try those He would have been proud that I am doing some of his hobbies.


    7 years ago on Step 10

    I like it. Not what I expected from a "faux" technique. The brush strokes are much more noticable when it's back-lit, but without the light box it looks just like a mix of Kokomo colors. This technique could be really useful when I just *can't* find the right color (ahem, I never have the right PINK!). By integrating different types of acrylic paint (metallics, glow-in-the-dark, etc.) a lot of really cool effects could be obtained. Great 'ible!

    I didn't think it would allow as much light as it did because of the opacity of the colors, I was surprised by the lightbox picture. Beautiful work. 

    1 reply

    9 years ago on Introduction

    This looks so fun! 
    Do you have any tips for someone that is just starting out with this kinda stuff? I've been looking for something new to do, and this looks like just the ticket! 

    1 reply

    Thanks for your interest.  I learned by taking classes, reading books, and now, of course we have the internet...best advice: just start!  Good luck. Cman