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Helping You Choose Stained Glass Colors

Stained glass colors are what makes a window ‘sing’. If you get them right your window will hit the high notes. If you get it wrong it will seem out of tune.

Lead Lining is a little-known technique that will help you make the right colour choices first time. Students of my online Leaded Stained Glass Artistry course absolutely loved it.

stained glass winter trees
“Winter Trees” during the lead lining process. By glass artist Sarah Davis

Choosing Stained Glass Colors – Lead Lining

See those blobs of black plasticine? They are holding each piece of glass up on a base sheet of tempered glass.

Why? So that you can step back and have a look at the colour balance of your work-in-progress.

Lead lining helps you assess the stained glass colors and how they balance together and with the lead/solder lines BEFORE you solder the panel together. It is the only way to get a feel for how your panel will actually look when finished.

This is how you do it:

  1. get a piece of toughened/tempered glass that is bigger than your panel
  2. paint the lines with black paint on the back of the toughened glass. Turn your cutline over and paint the lines where the lead/solder will go. Try to make these the same width as the lead/foil lines you will be using. Leave it to dry.
  3. when it is dry turn the tempered glass over. Using warm putty and your thumb, scrape bits of it around the edge of each piece and stick them on the glass in the appropriate place
  4. prop it up on your easel so that you step back from the window and get a sense of the colours and balance in the daylight.
  5. don’t forget to assess the lead/solder lines too. These can look very different with coloured glass than they do on paper and may need adjusting – making wider or narrower for example
  6. I have left these overnight so that I can see how the glass works in reflected light when it’s dark, but best not to leave unattended incase some precious pieces slip off
  7. make any adjustments needed to the glass. For example, if something is screaming ‘Too dark!” then cut a lighter piece and replace the dark piece with it until you’re happy with the balance
  8. keep making adjustments until you’re 100% happy that the stained glass colors and lead/solder lines are all working in harmony
  9. then remove each piece carefully off the tempered glass, making sure all the plasticine is taken off
  10. reassemble on pattern on leading up/soldering board and finish constructing the panel

Achieve A Balanced, Harmonious Panel

winter stained glass trees
Completed “Winter Trees” panel by Sarah Davis.

Lead lining is a step that lots of people don’t take the time to do but is very valuable, especially if you have a big window.

The lead/solder lines affect the tonal and colour pattern of the window and you won’t see this if you are looking at your window on a light box with white light in-between each piece of glass instead of a solid black line.

It’s better to change one or two pieces of glass at this stage rather than be forever regretting the piece or wayward line that got away!

Carry on with your lead came panel by following these tutorials here

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