Classical stained glass is a beautiful decorative accent using pieces of colored glass cut and set into leading to create an image. It can be found all over the western world in places like church windows, homes, and businesses. Church windows often have dazzling displays of stained glass which inspire people to want to learn more about it. There are a number of techniques for learning how to create stained glass, depending on how much of the process you want to know about.
Stained glass, especially in the form of windows, is a unique art form. Stained glass windows are sometimes called illuminated wall decorations because of the way they play with and enhance natural light. Stained glass is not used in rooms which need a great deal of even, natural light: it is used to enhance the beauty of a room or to tell a story. It takes some time to learn how to design stained glass well, so that it will complement rather than overwhelm a room. With some practice and education, you can create beautiful stained glass objects which will be treasured by their owners for years to come.
The glass used in stained glass is colored in a number of ways which have different qualities. In the first technique, stained glass is created by mixing metal oxides with glass to create vivid, solid color. The oxides are mixed in while the glass is being annealed so that it will not shatter from minor impacts or temperature changes. Another technique called plating involves painting the colors directly onto pieces of glass and baking them in a furnace so that the color blends with the glass, although it can be damaged by scratching. This technique is also used by some artists to make stained glass windows or accents, with the artist painting a pattern or scene directly onto a large sheet of glass which is fired before being installed. Another popular type of glass, flashed glass, is made by dipping clear glass into hot glass of another color to create a layer of color on the glass.
If you are interested in learning how to make the glass used to create stained glass, you should take glass blowing craft classes. A number of art centers and colleges have glass blowing programs and offer classes to the public by arrangement. In a glass blowing class, you will learn about the different types of glass, how to blow strong durable glass, and how to add color to glass. You will also learn about the equipment needed to make glass.
If you do not have an interest in the production techniques used to make glass, but would like to learn to make stained glass art pieces, you can either take classes or use books. A basic class is recommended so that you understand the fundamentals of working with glass, including how to cut glass well, how to connect pieces of stained glass with leading or grout, and how to safely handle toxic substances used to make stained glass. After you have taken a basic class, you may want to purchase several books, set up a project table, and start creating. You can also learn about painting details onto the glass and making solid frames to display stained glass pieces, as well as different techniques and styles used in stained glass art.