Old windows are always alluring. Not only do they have an innate charm, but they can stir up fond memories of living in a farmhouse somewhere in Kansas – even if you’ve never set foot in Kansas in your life.
They also make for an incredible art project that can add a pop of color and coolness to any home or yard. Mine ended up in my yard just because I really have no more room in my home. But the stained glass project can look equally as dazzling propped in front of a kitchen window as it can hanging on the side of a backyard archway.
What You Need
- Old window
- Sandpaper and scraper
- Painter’s tape (invest in the blue one already)
- Glass cleaner and degreaser
- Paint for window frame
- Paint for window glass
- Hanging hardware
What You Do
Your first step is to somehow obtain an old window. Prying one off a farmhouse in Kansas is always an option, although you’ll probably do better scouring shops that sell used building materials. Betcha Tucson’s Gersons has a few.
I lucked out by inheriting my old window from the Tucson Citizen prop room when the newspaper folded in 2009. Think they used to put in the background to make photos look like they were taken near a farmhouse in Kansas.
Putting the old window in the garage where you can ignore it for at least nine years is an optional step. I finally dug out my old window for good during the last garage cleaning spree when I tidied up so well I had nowhere left to hide it.
- Sand and scrape the crappy old paint off the window frame.
- Clean the glass panes with cleaner and degreaser.
- Put painter’s tape around the front and back perimeters of every single pane.
- Tape pieces of paper over the center areas of the glass if using spray paint for the frame.
- Spray the pane wildly with paint.
- Peel off painter’s tape before frame paint fully dries.
- Make sure panes are free of smudges.
- Use glass paint on the panes.
- Add hanging hardware.
- Hang in backyard.
- Make your boyfriend admire it at least three times on the first day and regularly thereafter.
Additional Stained Glass Window Project Tips
Picking the frame paint: Select a paint with a hammered finished to help hide the multiple imperfections and wood chunk chinks old windows are known for. If you want to retain that beat-up look, keep it alive by using contrasting paint in the frame’s chinks, dents and dings.
- Rust-oleum is my spray paint of choice. I used flat black mixed with hammered bronze for the window frame.
Picking the glass paint: I’m a big fan of Pebeo Vitrail paint, particularly the transparent paints for stained glass effects. Use a combination of at least three different colors in the same color family to add interest to the project.
- All the Vitrail colors blow my mind. Well, except maybe the brown. My old window project mingled Turquoise, Apple Green and Green Gold.
Applying the glass paint: Using a paint brush with glass paints can be tedious and leave brush marks. I prefer to use an eyedropper to blob or draw thick lines with the glass paint, and then mush with a sponge to cover all areas of the glass.
Hanging your stained glass project: Propping it against a wall or low on the ground doesn’t do justice to what you’ve just created. Hang or prop it somewhere at least eye-level where sun can shine through to reveal it’s true beauty.
Also opt for heavy-duty hardware. Those old windows are heavy!
My old window came with two eye-hooks embedded in the top corners of the frame and a quadrupled-up piece of picture wire looped through them. It’s hanging on a metal archway where the sun filters through in late morning, so my boyfriend can admire it every single day.
Hope your old window project comes out just as dandy!
Love the rynski stained glass window project? Just wait until you see what she does with sheet metal.