Stained glass windows are created by coloured glass, cut and fitted together with lead, to create a picture or design. The coloured glass is made by mixing metallic salts into sand, used to make glass. The sand is heated until it becomes molten; once this is done the glass is shaped, cooled and cut.
Stained glass windows can be seen in many architectural masterpieces, as well as many other buildings. They can be seen in synagogues and churches such as the Cathedral Synagogue of Melbourne and St Paul's Cathedral. However the stained glass look can be just as effective in the home and a lot of fun to make as well.
A stained glass effect can be created using glass paint. Glass paint can be bought at any art and crafts store. You can use it to paint an entire window, create a decorative piece to hang on a wall or simply decorate a window or mirror.
First of all, you need to decide where you want to paint and prepare that area by cleaning the glass. Next, decide what you want to paint; for your first project use a simple picture or design. It's a good idea to draw the picture on paper (or print out a picture) beforehand. This paper is kept behind the glass and acts as a guide for the painting. If painting on a mirror, place the picture so that it is reflected on the space you want to paint, bear in mind that it is a mirror image and writing will be backwards.
Now that you know where and what you are painting, make sure you have the appropriate paints. You will need a liquid lead tube and glass paints of the colours you wish to use. Glass paints are transparent, so keep in mind the amount of light that will reach the surface when selecting colours.
Finally we're at the fun bit - painting. Use the lead to trace the paper picture guide onto the glass and wait for it to dry. Now use the other paints to add colour. Spread the glass paints to the lead barriers; note more than one colour can be used in an area, as you can always allow colours to bleed into each other, to make things more exciting.
The more stained glass and decorations you make with glass paint, the more experience you get. With experience, you can try more tricks and complicated designs and create masterpieces of your own.