by Ami Perry
(Rock hill, SC, USA)

Hi Sue,

My name is Ami, I was wanting to do a stain glass window in my living room that will incorporate all of my family initials in an abstact way. Their initials are L, A, A, R, and C. I was wondering if you could help me out with that and possibly give me some examples or ideas.



Hi Ami,

Letters with flowers twining around them. It's not abstract, but is doable.
A border of blocks with a letter in every other block. That way you could put any design you want in the main part of the panel.

Go here to find a list of alphabet pattern books. There are many, with a variety of styles. I think you need to decide what style of letters you want to use before you start designing. Seeing the letters will give you ideas as well as a much better idea of what you want to do.

I hope this helps you,

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add a background

by Martina
(Greenwood, IN )

I have found many patterns that are just one object, i.e. teddy bear, clown, flower, how do I go about adding a background to this? Thanks for any help.
BTW-I asked how to make your pieces fit, I took your advice and did one piece at a time, and my design came out beautifully, thanks!
Martina Brown
Greenwood, IN


Lay the pattern out on a piece of paper that you have drawn a square or rectangle the size you want the finished piece to be.

Put the pattern wherever you think it would look best. It's not a good design idea to have it perfectly centered.

Once the pattern is where you want it, start drawing cut lines from any place there are protrusions, to the edge of the square or rectangle. Try not to make them absolutely straight lines. A gently curved line looks much better.

Draw and erase cut lines until it looks like you have pieces you can cut.

Another way to do it is to have squares or diamonds as a background, and perhaps a border as well. The single item can sit on the squares or diamonds and the cut lines would only need to go to the nearest intersecting line.

If you are a subscriber to my Stained Glass Gems ezine, you will find designing tips in issue #15. You should also find some helpful ideas there.

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Designing problem

by Wendy

This is what I'd do

This is what I'd do

I am designing a panel for a friend who just bought her own business and I cannot figure out how to place the lines radiating out from the letters so it won't look amateurish. The entire piece will be 10"x14" with a 1" beveled border. I have been making pieces for many years, but seldom have had to design something entirely from scratch, especially just lettering. Can you point me in the right direction? Thanks!

Hi Wendy

I put up a picture of what I'd do. If you'll look at the capital S, I took the extra line out of the top one. In my opinion, that removes some of the clutter. I put bevels between the 2 words to help break up all of the open spaces. I also colored in the top word just to show you how the cut lines receed into the background.

I realize that the glass on top of each word is a large piece. You'd need a saw to cut it.

Have a play around with it now and refine it to your liking.

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Window Design Question

by David


I am constructing a window, with lead came, that has 2"x2" bevels in each corner. The window will be framed with 1/2" zinc channel. What is the best way to compensate for the 1/8" channel depth? I need for the bevel to look square. I will cut the bordering glass 1/8" larger to compensate, but not sure what to do about the bevels???

I'm probably missing something obvious, but any help would be appreciated.



There are 2 ways you can do it.

Cut the edge glass the same width as the bevels. Peel the face off of a couple strips of lead. Slide one or two in the channel of the zinc, the flat side of the lead strips against the heart of the zinc. Slide in a bevel to see if one piece of lead face is enough to bring the bevel out where you want it. If not, add another strip of lead. The technique is referred to adding a shim.

The other way is to cut the rest of the border glass the extra 1/8", which would then make it wider than the bevels. When you lead it up, the bevel edge will sit in 1/8" from the edge of the glass, but it will still sit under the edge of the zinc. Add pieces of lead face, shims, as described above, to take up the space between the bevel and the heart of the zinc.

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unique shapes

by e monty
(vancouver bc)

i am wondering if it is possible, or if anyone has created a stained glass piece from random pieces of glass. is it possible in any way to construct something out of randomly broken pieces? or do the pieces have to fit together perfectly like a jigsaw? my creative side would like to collate a multitude of beautiful pieces of glass to create an image, rather than pre-plan, draw, score, etc. is this at all possible?


Yes it is possible. I've seen many projects done that way. It is a good idea to lay it out first just so you can change things around if colors don't work together. The only things to watch for are hinge joints. Do some reinforcing with copper re-strip in those areas.

You should solder a copper wire around the entire edge of the finished piece so it doesn't pull apart. There will be quite a few places where two pieces of glass will only be attached at a corner or point. They will be vulnerable to pulling apart when the piece is hanging. The weight of the glass under those areas will pull on the soldered point and eventually pull it apart.

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Stylized Gum Flowers...How to Add Flowers

How do you think I could add some of the gum flowers to this panel. This window is along side a door, and is quite long. I love this pattern but think adding a few more flowers would be beneficial. I would appreciate your input. I'm rather artistically challenged! Thank you.
Judy Kunda


Hi Judy,

It should be fairly easy to make this pattern longer. As I recall, I actually designed this pattern for a sidelite.

Try copying the top branch with the flowers and leaves. Remove some of the flowers so it doesn't look exactly the same. You could rearrange the flowers and leaves to give it a totally new look. You might even reverse the entire branch before making the other changes.

It could then be added lower down, perhaps coming out from the left side of the picture.


Break up the pattern into sections and you can change and rearrange each section until it looks good to you. It's amazing how you can take a pattern and rearrange it so that it looks totally different from the original.


You can copy the pattern 2 or 3 times and cut it up into pieces, then lay out the pieces on another piece of paper until you have something that pleases you.

It doesn't matter if you're artistically challenged (and in my opinion, nobody is!). You are actually working with what's already there and changing it to suit your needs.

I hope this will give you some ideas,

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