Painted Faux Stained Glass Project: Cardinal and Magnolia

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What You Need for this Faux Stained Glass Project

Painted faux stained glass project -- Cardinal and magnolia
Faux Stained Glass Project: Cardinal and Magnolia Design by Jan Cumber. © Jan Easters Cumber

This ‘paint by number’ faux stained glass project is something anyone can create, using the techniques explained and the supplies listed. By following the directions your very first project will be one you can display with pride!

The paints used for this project are Gallery Glass® Window Color™, a paint developed specifically for use on glass surfaces to create faux stained glass. You’ll need the following colors for this project:

  • Snow White (#16002)
  • Royal Blue (#16012)
  • Ruby Red (#16015)
  • Charcoal (#16018)
  • Amber (#16020)
  • Ivy Green (#16024)
  • Champagne (16094)
  • A 12” round surface (I recommend using plexi-glass or acrylic)
  • A bottle of Liquid Lead (#16076)
  • A metal combing tool (#16225 Gallery Glass Tool Kit) or toothpicks
  • A printout of the design
  • Paper towels
  • Cotton swabs
  • Toothpicks
  • Protective Sealer (#16485) (optional)
  • A decorative chain framing and hanging chain
  • A small suction cup to display the finished project

Let's get started!

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Leading the Faux Glass Paint Project Design

Painted faux stained glass
The first step is to paint the lead lines of the design. © Jan Easters Cumber

The first step is to paint the 'lead lines' of the design onto the 12” round surface using the bottle of Liquid Lead. Print out the cardinal and magnolia design (it's on four pages, so you’ll have to stick it together), place it under the 12” round surface, and you'll clearly see where the Liquid Lead must be painted.

If it’s a new bottle of Liquid Lead, remove the tip from the bottle, take out the paper seal, and replace the tip. Holding the bottle upside down, tap it firmly on the table top or other hard surface to get the lead to flow into the tip of the bottle. If you find the tip isn’t producing a decent line, make a tape tip for it. Periodically holding the bottle upside down and tapping it on the table while you’re working with it helps to reduce the air trapped inside and keep the lead from ‘spitting’ out the bottle.

The key to painting successfully with Liquid Lead is to keep the bottle tip away from the surface while you gently squeeze out the paint, not scrape the tip along the surface. Hold the bottle close to the bottom (flat end) of the bottle. Squeeze to start the flow of Liquid Lead, lightly touch the surface with the Liquid Lead at the start of a line of the printed design, then lift the bottle tip up at least half an inch off the surface and, while lightly applying pressure to the bottle, move your arm freely along each line of the design. Do not rest your arm or hand on the table as it will hinder the free movement needed to paint the Liquid Lead.

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Dealing with Intersecting Lines When Leading

Painted faux stained glass
Be careful not to leave blobs of Liquid Lead where the lines intersect. © Jan Easters Cumber

As you approach another line or intersecting line on the design, leap over it and continue. Stopping and starting at each intersecting line tends to create a blob of Liquid Lead. As you come to the end of a line, stop squeezing the bottle to stop the flow of lead.

Use a piece paper towel to wipe the tip of the bottle after each completed line or section; this will help eliminate lead from drying at the tip. Allow the finished piece to dry for eight to 12 hours. You may find it takes a little practice to get uniform lines, but don't worry as after the Liquid Lead has dried you can cut away any unwanted blobs or uneven lead lines using a craft knife.

Making a Tape Tip for Liquid Lead
If you find the tip of the Liquid Lead bottle isn’t producing the line you want, use some tape to make a new one. First, cut off the tip of spout about 1/8”from the tip top. Cut 3” strip of 3/4” wide transparent tape, stick one edge of the tape straight up along the center of the tip, then rotate the bottle, pressing the tape to the bottle spout as you go. (Secure the first turn of the tape all the way to the end of the tip for a leak proof seal.)

As you turn the bottle, the tape will form a cone. The tape will reverse direction as the tip is formed; just continue to rotate the bottle and allow the tape to wind back down the bottle tip. When you’re done, trim the tape tip with scissors about 1/16” at a time until you get the desired flow and size of leading.

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Painting the Colors of the Design

Painted faux stained glass
Paint in each section of the design with the colors indicated. © Jan Easters Cumber

Now that you’ve finished the leading and it’s dried completely, you’re going to fill in each section with the color listed. (Where more than one color is listed, these are to be blended.) Don’t use too much paint -- you want to avoid having paint flow over the leading into another section. It’s far easier to add more paint than to remove excess paint.

Bottle of paint don't have a paper seal like Liquid Lead, they're ready to use straight away. Holding the bottle upside down, tap it firmly on the table top or other hard surface to get the paint to flow into the tip of the bottle. Now you’re ready to paint with that color.

Work from the center of the project out to help keep your hands and fingers out of wet paint. Turn the project as needed to work on each section.

Start by running the tip of the bottle along the edge of the leading; this helps eliminate any ‘light holes’ without paint. Fill in each section with the color listed on the design. Unlike with Liquid Lead, the tip of a paint bottle should touch the surface as you use it.

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Complete One Section at a Time

Painted faux stained glass
Finish painting one section before moving onto the next. © Jan Easters Cumber

Work systematically, adding all colors listed in a section before moving onto the next one. Start with the color adjacent to the 'lead' edge, and work inwards.

Use a cotton swab to clean up or remove unwanted paint from the surface if necessary. Get into the habit of wiping the tips of the paint bottles with a piece of paper towel regularly. This helps prevent unwanted drips, or contamination of the color.

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Combing and Blending Colors

Painted faux stained glass
Combing helps eliminate air bubbles in the paint, and blend colors. © Jan Easters Cumber

Combing the paint on the surface with the combing tool (or toothpicks) is done to remove air bubbles in the paint, and to blend colors together. The arrows shown on the design indicate the final direction in which to ‘move’ the paint once you've blended it together.

Use the pointed end of the combing tool (you can also use toothpicks) to ‘move’ the paint to blend it, first north and south, then east and west, and lastly again in the direction of the arrows shown on the pattern for the combing in each section. (Don't be tempted to ignore the arrows; the final direction of the paint does influence the end result.)

As you paint, comb, and blend a section, regularly tap the underside of the surface directly under the section you are working on to help reduce air bubbles in the paint. (The handle of a combing tool works well for this.) You may find it easier to work over a light table so you can readily see the bubbles. You should always comb and tap sections as you paint, whether you’re blending colors or not.


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Paint the Textured Background

Painted faux stained glass
Add the background once all the other sections have been painted. © Jan Easters Cumber

When you’ve completed all the other painted areas, paint the Royal Blue background. Apply the paint in a swirling squiggle; this create a bumpy texture when it dries. (Don’t comb the background paint or you’ll destroy the texture, but do tap it.)

Fill the background completely with paint; don’t leave any unpainted areas. Apply as little paint as possible while still covering the surface completely. Remember, all areas should be painted before you tackle the background.

Leave the project to dry for eight to 12 hours, or until all painted areas are transparent and clear of milky shadows. Be careful where you put the project while it dries, as you don’t want anything to touch the surface or dust to blow onto it. Do not allow paper, fabric or other such materials to touch or cover the painted surface before it is totally dry as it’ll mess up the paint.

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The Completed Faux Stained Glass Project

Painted faux stained glass
The completed faux stained glass project. © Jan Easters Cumber

That's it, you're almost done! Now that the painting of the faux stained glass is finished, the final step is to add the decorative chain and hang the project up in a sunny window (using a small suction cup), and to enjoy the beautiful color.

If you need to clean it, use a soft cloth dampened with water only. Do not use window cleaner, which will damage the paint.