Creating Stunning Stained Glass: Step-by-Step Guide
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 8 min read


  1. Choose and design your stained glass project
  2. Select and purchase your glass
  3. Cut the glass pieces
  4. Grind the edges of the glass
  5. Apply copper foil to the glass pieces
  6. Solder the glass pieces together
  7. Clean and polish your stained glass
  8. Install and display your stained glass

If you're curious about how to stained glass, you're in the right place. This step-by-step guide will walk you through the process of creating your very own piece of stunning stained glass art. From choosing your design to installing your finished project, we've got you covered. Get ready to dive into the beautiful world of stained glass creation.

Choose and design your stained glass project

Before anything else, you need a design. Whether you're recreating a classic or crafting something wholly new, your design is the heart of your project. So, let's get started on how to stained glass with a design that speaks to you.

Pick your pattern: Start by selecting a pattern. You can find thousands of patterns in art books, online, or even design your own. Remember, simple designs are best for beginners. They allow you to focus on mastering techniques without overwhelming you with intricate details.

Choose your colors: Next, choose the colors for your design. Stained glass comes in a dizzying array of colors and textures. When picking colors, consider how they will look when light shines through them. You want to create a balance between dark and light tones to give your piece depth and contrast.

Draw your design: Once you have your pattern and colors, it's time to draw your design. Use a sheet of tracing paper to sketch out your design. This will act as your guide when you start cutting your glass pieces. Remember, each piece in your design will need to be cut out of glass, so try to keep your shapes simple and manageable.

Designing your stained glass project is the first step on this creative journey. It sets the tone for the rest of your work, so take your time and have fun with it. After all, this isn't just about learning how to stained glass—it's about making a piece of art that's uniquely yours.

Select and purchase your glass

Now that you've got your design in hand, it's time to choose your materials. Buying glass for your stained glass project might seem daunting, but don't worry—we're here to guide you through it.

Consider the color: The color of your glass will significantly impact your finished piece. Remember the color scheme you decided on when designing your project? Now's the time to bring it to life. Go for glass colors that match your design, but also consider how they'll look when light passes through them.

Think about texture: Stained glass isn't just about color—it's also about texture. From smooth to rippled, glass comes in a variety of textures that can add depth to your project. Consider using textured glass to highlight specific areas of your design.

Size matters: Buy more glass than you think you'll need. It's better to have extra than to run out mid-project. Besides, the extra pieces can be used for practice or saved for future projects.

So, you've sketched your design, and you've chosen your glass. Well done! You're making excellent progress on your journey to learn how to stained glass. Next up? Cutting your glass pieces. But we'll save that for another section.

Cut the glass pieces

Once you've chosen your glass, it's time to start shaping it to fit your design. Cutting glass might sound like a challenge, but with a bit of practice, you'll get the hang of it. Here's your step-by-step guide on how to stained glass by cutting the glass pieces.

Prepare your workspace: Safety first, always! Clear your workspace and make sure you have a solid, flat surface to work on. Wear safety goggles and gloves to protect yourself from glass shards.

Mark your cuts: Using a permanent marker, trace your design onto the glass pieces. This will ensure your cuts are precise and your pieces fit together like a puzzle.

Start cutting: Hold your glass cutter firmly and follow your traced lines. Apply consistent pressure, but be gentle—you don't want to break the glass. Remember, it's not about strength, it's about control.

Break it down: After scoring your lines with the cutter, use glass breaking pliers to separate your pieces. Do this carefully to avoid chipping or cracking.

There you have it! You're one step closer to your finished stained glass masterpiece. Cutting the glass pieces is a key step in learning how to stained glass. But remember, practice makes perfect. So, don't be disheartened if your first few attempts aren't perfect—keep going!

Grind the edges of the glass

Now that you've cut your pieces, it's time to smooth those edges. Grinding is an important step in the process of how to stained glass. It can make the difference between a good piece and a great one. So let's get to it!

Set up your grinder: A glass grinder is a handy tool that helps smooth the edges of your cut glass pieces. Make sure your grinder is clean and in good working order.

Grind away: Hold your glass piece firmly and run the edges against the grinder's bit. Remember, the goal isn't to reshape the glass but to smooth out any rough spots. So, keep a light hand and a keen eye.

Stay safe: Don't forget your safety goggles and gloves! Glass dust can be harmful, so it's best to be cautious.

Rinse and repeat: Repeat the process with each glass piece, checking for a smooth finish each time.

That's it for grinding. With smooth edges, your glass pieces are ready for the next step. The journey of how to stained glass is shaping up nicely, isn't it?

Apply copper foil to the glass pieces

Well done on grinding your glass pieces! The next phase in this "how to stained glass" guide is all about applying copper foil. I know, it sounds a bit daunting, but honestly, it's easier than it sounds. Ready to try?

Prepare your glass: First things first, ensure your glass pieces are clean. This helps the copper foil to stick better. A quick wipe with a lint-free cloth should do the trick.

Get your copper foil: Copper foil, available in various widths, is an essential material when learning how to stained glass. You'll want to select a width that works best with your pieces. A good rule of thumb is to choose one that extends slightly over the edge of the glass.

Stick it on: Starting at an edge, carefully apply the copper foil, keeping it even on both sides. This might take a bit of practice, but don't worry, you'll get the hang of it!

Smooth it out: After applying the foil, use a fid (a small, flat tool) to smooth it down. This helps the foil adhere better and prepares the glass for soldering.

And voila! You've just foiled your first piece of glass. Keep at it until all your pieces are foiled and ready for the next step. It's an exciting journey, isn't it? Learning how to stained glass really does bring out the artist in you!

Solder the glass pieces together

Now that we've got our copper foiled glass pieces ready, we're moving onto a fun part of our "how to stained glass" journey: soldering. Soldering is what brings all our glass pieces together into a beautiful art piece. Let's get started.

Set up your workspace: Make sure you have a well-ventilated area to work in. Soldering involves melting metal, and you don't want those fumes lingering around. You'll also need a soldering iron and some lead-free solder.

Arrange your pieces: Lay out your foiled glass pieces according to your design. You might find it helpful to use a layout block or homasote board to keep them in place.

Apply flux: Before you start soldering, apply flux to the copper foil. Flux is a chemical that helps the solder flow smoothly over the foil. Remember, a little goes a long way here.

Solder away: Heat up your soldering iron and touch the solder to the tip of the iron — not directly to the glass. The melted solder will flow onto the fluxed areas, joining your pieces together. Remember to solder both sides for stability.

Pat yourself on the back! You've just soldered your stained glass project. As you progress in your "how to stained glass" journey, you’ll find your soldering skills improving with each project. Isn't it amazing to see your design come to life?

Clean and polish your stained glass

Alright, we're really close now to the end of our "how to stained glass" journey. We've got all our pieces soldered together, but our project isn't ready for the spotlight just yet. It's time to make it shine!

Cleaning your project: After all that soldering, you might notice some flux residue left on your stained glass. Not to worry, that's totally normal. Simply use a sponge or soft cloth with warm soapy water to gently clean both sides of your project. Be careful not to rub too hard; we don't want to damage our newly formed solder lines.

Drying time: Let your project dry completely. You can use a dry towel to speed up the process, or simply let it air dry. Patience is key here, we don't want any water spots on our beautiful stained glass.

Polishing time: Once your stained glass is dry, it's time to make it gleam! Use a special glass polish, which you can easily find at a local craft store. Apply the polish with a clean cloth, rubbing it in a circular motion. Then, wipe off any excess and buff it to a shine. Voila! Your stained glass project is sparkling like a diamond.

Now you're ready for the final step in our "how to stained glass" guide. Aren't you excited to see your project in its full glory? But remember, like learning any new skill, creating stained glass takes time and practice. So, don't be too hard on yourself if your first project isn't perfect. The most important thing is that you're learning and having fun!

Install and display your stained glass

Now, the moment we've all been waiting for—the final stage of our "how to stained glass" journey. Let's find the perfect spot to display your artwork, shall we?

Choosing the right location: With your dazzling stained glass piece, you're not just adding a decorative element; you're introducing a new light source into your space. Consider the direction and intensity of the natural light in your chosen location. Remember, the more light your stained glass catches, the more it will shine and show off your hard work.

Installation tools: Depending on where you want to display your stained glass, you might need some hanging hardware like hooks or chains. For window displays, suction cup hooks work great and are easy to install. If you're hanging your piece on a wall, you might need some wall anchors and screws.

Securing your stained glass: Once you've chosen your spot and have your hardware ready, it's time to secure your stained glass. If you're hanging it in a window, simply attach the hooks to the glass and hang your piece. For wall installations, make sure to use a level to ensure your stained glass hangs straight.

And there you have it! Your stunning, handcrafted stained glass artwork is now lighting up your space. Stand back and admire your work. Doesn't it feel great to see your project come to life?

As you continue your stained glass adventures, remember: it's not just about the final product. It's about the joy of creating, the satisfaction of mastering a new skill, and the beauty of transforming simple glass pieces into a radiant work of art. So, what's next in your "how to stained glass" journey? Only you can decide!

If you enjoyed learning about creating stunning stained glass and want to explore more artistic techniques, check out Daisie's classes. You'll find a vast range of creative workshops, including some that focus on other unique art forms like the 'Affordable DIY Abstract Nail Art Tutorial' by Rachael Mangal. Dive into the world of inspiration and creativity, and expand your artistic horizons with the help of our talented creators.