Monday, July 12, 2010

Designing For Stained Glass The Simple Way

o use this method for designing for stained glass, you should be familiar with construction techniques and impossible cuts. You don't want to design a stained glass piece that can't be constructed due to design faults. Believe me, I have seen such designs in several pattern books. It's pretty bad when a pattern book is published and the patterns have to be revised, by the person that bought the book, before they can be used.

Lily In My GardenLily B and W Copy

You will need a photograph or a copyright free picture of the theme for your window. Enlarge the picture to a size that will fit on an 8 x 11 sheet of paper, and print it out. I usually print it in black and white, as the edges and contours seem to show up better.

Lily Drawing Place the printed copy on a light box. If you don't have a light box, tape it to a window that has a lot of light coming through it. Place another blank piece of paper over it and start tracing the outlines with a pencil. As you are designing for stained glass, you will have to pick and choose the lines you use, and occasionally add a creative line here and there to make it feasible to cut in stained glass.

Once you have finished tracing, start working on the lines with a pencil and eraser, to give them a nice flow. Most important, make sure there are no impossible cuts.

Lily Cut Out When you are satisfied with the lines, you may want to enlarge or decrease the size of the drawing to make it fit into your design for stained glass. Now you need to cut it out, with scissors, so you have the element with just a little paper left around it.

On another piece of paper, draw a box that will be the finished size of the window you are designing. Place the cut out element on it and move it around until it is in the area that looks best. Tape it down where you think you want it. I say think, because you might want to move it again after you have added other elements to the design.

At this point you can add a border or any other elements that you want. Look for more pictures to find unique elements. Also, add cut lines wherever they are needed.

Lily Pattern
When you are finished, tape your design on the wall. Leave a pencil and eraser near by. Whenever you walk by the design, change things if you see something that needs to be changed. The more you look at it the more you will see what has to be changed to give it balance and life.

This pattern needs a few more leaves on the bottom of the bud stem, and a cut line from the bottom petal of the lily to the edge of the pattern. Actually, one of the leaves can extend to the tip of that petal and eliminate the cut line.

Other than that, I'm happy with it. When I was designing for stained glass, I decided that this design would be a free hanging panel. The stamen will be made from copper wire with a solder blob on the end of each wire. They will stand out to give it a 3 dimensional effect.

Now you can make your Pattern Pieces for copper foil, or set it up for a Leaded Window.

These are the pictures and pattern I used for the sunflower window.

Sunflower Picture #1 Sunflower Picture #2

Sunflower Picture Pattern Completed Sunflower Window

This is a copied picture, pattern and finished pencil holder made from a photo of a friends family dog.

Dog Photo Dog Pattern Finished Pencil Holder

New Here's a web site with a technique called scanner art, that could be fun when you are designing for stained glass. It is used the same way as designing from a photograph, only you don't need a photograph. Obviously you can't put a dog on your scanner, but for things like feathers, flowers, leaves, fruit, or any other small object, it would work like a charm.

It's something I used to do, 20 years ago, when I wanted to design a leaf or flower to look as natural as possible. This technique has been developed, given a name and is being used as an art form. Now, why didn't I think of that!! Anyway, have a look and see if it gives you any ideas.

Designing for stained glass is pretty easy using a photograph or picture, and you will get the exact results you want. I hope you will try it and have fun with it.

Don't forget the book "Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain" by Betty Edwards. The newest edition is called "The New Drawing On the Right Side Of The Brain". It really will teach you how to draw if you are passionate about learning. By the way, I have no affiliation with Betty Edwards or her book. I just feel that the book is the best thing that ever happened to my drawing skills and I highly recommend it to you.

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