Stained glass paint too wishy washy?
Tips for getting the most from glass enamels
Coloured stained glass paint is a fantastic way of getting exciting designs permanently onto float (window) glass – and it won’t cost you a fortune either. I’ve just recently finished a commission for a house boat that used no other technique except several layers of glass paint, fired repeatedly on to the surface of the glass in a kiln. These three photos show the development from the first to the last (ninth!) firing – you can see how colour and texture build throughout the process. You will need to do colour tests of all the stages and always keep a note of your kiln firing schedule.
To get bright and consistent colours when using enamels on float glass, you must paint on a particular side – referred to as the ‘air’ side. First you determine what is called the ‘tinned’ side, by using a short wave UV flashlight – sometimes called a Tin Side Detector – and looking at your glass in a darkened room. The tinned side shows up as a blurry white ring, which you won’t see on the air side.
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I used a combination of sponges and badger brushes for the glass painting – sponges for the textured, more definite ‘lines’, the badger brush for the blended background. The secret – and the reason for so many firings – is to put lots of thin layers and build up the colour. This enables you a high degree of control over the finished stained glass window – you don’t want it too wishy washy, nor do you want it to bubble up and be too dark to see through.