Faux Stained Glass Window




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I really liked the idea of faking stained glass. I have some very boring windows that are un-curtainable but need to provide privacy for our fishbowl house. Buying a door with stained glass is pricey and getting a new door is silly when our door is in good shape. So I tried in vain to look up someone elses project for faking stainded glass and kept coming up with some not so convienent ideas that involved a lot of work and products that I couldnt find in my area. So here is my easy and fast project for privacy stained glass.

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Step 1: Step #1

Gather your stuffs. You will need:

a ruler
a sharpi marker or any old permenant marker
puffy fabric paint (i used tulip brand)
acrylic metallic paint (i used plaid "folk art")
a foam brush
paper plate
a stained glass pattern ( i obviously hand copied mine off of an internet search for "stained glass pattern")

To start, clean your window. It can be any glass window. I did this on GLASS not plexiglass so I only know that this works on glass.
( Dont be afraid! I have done this once already and I cleaned it off with soap and water 5 months after I painted it. So it is perfect for renters or commitment worriers). Get your sketch.

Step 2: Step #2 Pattern

For this next step remember that perfection is not necessary. It needs to look nice but I never worry about exact measurements. Transfer the lines of your sketch to the window using your ruler (or other strait edge) and your sharpi. Or transfer your pattern free hand. My first window pattern was done free hand. This pattern just happens to need a strait edge.
The sharpi can be easily erased with a paper towel and water if you mess up, so again, dont worry. The paint is going to cover up the sharpi so you will not see it. I am painting on the inside so I am using the sharpi on the inside as well.

Step 3: Step # 3 Paint!

So I first tried using plain black acrylic paint and a paint brush but found this to be messy and time consuming. I found fabric puffy paint that we all remember using on sweatshirts in the 90's and realized how much easier this could be and found it to be so.

So trace your sharpi lines with the puffy paint to simulate and imitate the "leading" in stained glass. Let dry.
The label says wait 4 hours but my window took about 1 hour to dry. Depending on temp. but make sure it is really dry!

Step 4: Step #4 More Paint

So now is time to paint. Using a foam brush and paper plate for your palate, paint your metallic acrylic paints however you want. Again, we are on the inside, stay within the lines now! 
I used metallic acrylic paints for two reasons.
First, it looks more authenticly like stained glass and second is provides more privacy.
The metallic properties have a two way mirror effect when used this way. They reflect light when a person is looking in, therefore blocking any view to the inside and not reflecting light for the person on the inside. Letting us see who is outside our door.
You can use any technique you like, but making wavy streaks and splotching will enhance your stained glass fake-out.
Let dry.
You are now done. How easy.  

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    23 Discussions

    Fantastic, I have done this many times before using those same craft paints, but here's a trick. Mix your acrylic paints with water soluble varnish. Now a little goes a long way 1/8 cup of varnish only needs about a teaspoon of paint for the desired effect. You will have beautiful colours with a nice level of transparency. The only problem is the folk paints are quite opaque to begin with, the best way is to ask for tiny little amounts of paint tint from a paint shop. Use this stuff even more sparingly. It will shine with a translucent like jewel quality.

    2 replies

    Reply 3 months ago

    Have you done one of these for OUTDOOR use? I would think the varnish would help with that but am just getting started with this idea for my yard. We're replacing our old wood windows and I thought they'd make a nice fence decor.


    4 years ago on Step 4

    I want to use puffy paint for this purpose also, does it have to be "sealed" so it stays on the glass? like perhaps when i am finished going over it with a clear polyurathane or something?

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Step 4

    In my experience I have not had so seal it. I always painted the inside so the weather wouldn't bother it. It is pretty much waterproof unless it gets soaked. If you want to permanently keep your design then sealing it might work but I would recommend just letting your paint dry and not worry about it.


    Reply 4 years ago on Step 4

    There will be a some scrubbing. I found it easier to wet a sponge with soap and water and get the paint moist, then go at it with a plastic putty knife. It is removable and I have reapplied several times but there will be a bit of scrubbing like I said.


    4 years ago on Step 4

    Would have loved to see how much light comes inside the home from the sunlight with these paints. All in all looks great and thank you.

    Mihir Mehta

    4 years ago on Introduction

    Nice idea of changing a boring window in a fancy window. We can
    also use spray paints and do some abstract art to give a funky look to the
    window. Try it guys.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Hi! Nice job! I did this once on a "broadcasting live" bathroom window. I even made it match my lil rug and shower curtain. Just so you know, you can also do this non-permanently! There's a line of paints and "leading" from Gallery Glass. The nice thing about that brand is, if you ever tire of the design or change Colours inside, you can peal the whole thing right off. You can even re-stick it. Handy for shower doors if you move!

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the feedback. Glad that you also figured out a way to paint glass! It sounds like you missed the beginning of my instructions that let you know that this is a non permanent craft technique, so don't be afraid to go crazy. I also used the acrylic paints because I found the gallery glass paints to be 3x expensive and actually harder to remove from my window.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you mercurycrest! a few of the pics show how much light is coming through, but I see that they aren't the best pictures to demonstrate lightage. I will see if I can dig some pictures out to show you all what it looks like from the inside. I have since removed this particular pattern and replaced it, but I can assure you that it lets in plenty of light. I didn't use a lot of dark colors and if you use the metallic type of paint it will be more like frosted glass than anything, even with the reds/greens/ect. Happy painting! ps I mixed some of the paints with a little water to dilute and make different shades.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Very well done.

    I just picked up some old picture frames and am about to stain them in a similar fashion.

    I'm curious as to the amount of light your technique lets through. Could you perhaps post a picture from the inside-looking out- on a sunny day?

    I like the varnish idea. I'll have to try that. I always mix a little dish soap in. The windows I keep painted crank out so I can spray them down and squeegee them when I am ready to start again. My daughter just did a wonderful winter scene for me.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    These paints are water soluble and very easy to take off. I had the same paints on the same window for over five months and used a wet rag and soap and water. I did need to do a little scraping with a razor blade on the thicker areas but really easy to remove. Have fun!