My Finished Faux Stained-Glass

When I think of stained-glass, I usually think of churches, old buildings, and bars/pubs. However, stained glass can also be a really pretty and even modern décor element for a window in your home. It can add a pop of color to a neutral space and add some character to a window in need. The only problem is: finding stained glass that matches your esthetic and doesn’t cost a million dollars can be difficult. In addition, making real stained-glass is pretty hard. The process involves melting lead and cutting glass. Those two things are definitely not something I want to mess with. So, I learned how to make faux stained-glass window decor and it was a ton of fun. It’s also completely customizable and doesn’t involve any torches!

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Ready to get started? Here’s what you’ll need:

  • An old or cheap picture frame with a glass pane (I got mine from the dollar store)
  • Alcohol inks – This is a great set with every color you could need: Alcohol Ink Set
  • 9 oz bottle of clear Elmer’s Glue – Find it here: Elmer's Glue
  • Black acrylic paint
  • Small tip squeeze bottle
  • Clear, mini cups for different colors
  • A small paint brush
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Hanging string or ribbon
  • Optional: A template or tracing picture

How to make faux stained-glass window decor:

Step 1: Begin by making the black “lead” outline mixture. Use your small squeeze bottle and fill it about half-way with glue. Then, add 10-15 drops of black paint and shake the bottle to combine. Keep adding drops of black paint until you reach a thick consistency that won’t run or spread when drawing on the glass.

Elmer's Washable Clear Glue for Faux Stained-Glass

Step 2: Remove the glass pane from the picture frame and clean it to remove any dust or dirt. If using a template or tracing picture, lay the glass pane on top of the picture and align it to match where you would like the design to be.

Step 3: Begin creating “lead lines” by making small shapes and designs on the glass with the black glue filled squeeze bottle. You can make any design or picture you’d like! If you find the glue is too runny, add a few more drops of paint and shake well. Once you’ve drawn all of your black lines, allow them to dry completely.

Faux Stained-Glass Lead

Step 4: Once the black glue has dried, mix your first glass color. Add 2-4 tablespoons of clear glue to a little cup or bowl and stir in several drops of alcohol ink. Feel free to mix and experiment with color combinations to achieve your ideal hue! It might be difficult to recreate this color if you run out so make enough to place everywhere you’ll need it. I recommend only mixing one color at a time to prevent the risk of drying prior to application.

TIP: You’ll want your colors to be highly pigmented and somewhat dark when mixing. Lighter colors will appear clear or muted when held up to the sunlight.

Mixing Alcohol Inks with Clear Elmer's Glue

Step 5: Use your small paintbrush to scoop and apply a nice, thick layer of the pigmented glue into the first spot. Make sure to push the glue all the way to the edges, where the dried black lines are. As the glue dries, it will have a tendency to shrink and pull away from the lines so you’ll want to touch these up periodically and ensure even color distribution. Repeat these steps until you’ve covered all areas for this particular color.

Making fake stained glass

Step 6: Repeat steps 4 and 5 for each additional color and space. Don’t be too worried about air bubbles. They are mostly unavoidable and unnoticeable once the piece is hanging in front of a window.

Step 7: When all areas are covered, place a piece of plastic wrap over the pigmented glue cups to preserve any remaining glue. When the art is completely dry, use the leftover glue for touch-ups in their respective areas if needed.

Step 8: After any touch-ups are dry, it’s time to choose a display method. One option is to place the glass pane back in the original frame to display. Another option is to secure hanging materials. You can get creative with this but I chose to simply detach the metal picture hangers that were on the back of the original picture frame, and use Gorilla glue to adhere them to the back of my stained glass. (See picture below) With this method, you can then attach fishing line, decorative string, ribbon etc. to hang it from.

Hanging stained-glass decor

That’s it! Now you know how to make faux stained-glass window decor that will add color and beauty to your window. Please share/pin this tutorial for others to enjoy!