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Stained Glass Design Tutorial

The purpose of this stained glass design tutorial is to provide easy-to-follow instructions to help beginning stained glass artists learn the basics of how to draw their own designs.

Select a photograph with clearly defined elements, and good composition.



Crop in different ways and select most pleasing combination. I prefered the third combination for this project.

You may use a software program that can handle "layers" to trace.


In this example, I traced the pattern and a ready-made circle frame on two affixed pieces of paper.
In red, I noted the areas that need re-working. Pieces too small or un-cuttable, too many converging lead lines, leadlines meeting a bad angles, etc.

Here are some examples design flaws requiring correction:

One easy way to reduce lead lines is to incorporate the design in a frame, such as a ring as shown below and in the bumblebee pattern:

You can avoid further lead lines by extending your design outside the frame, as shown below. The pelican pattern is a useful example.

If you MUST have leadlines, avoid running a straight line to the frame as illustrated below. For a real-life application of this principle, view the chinese character pattern.

Leaf tips should not end like a "peace sign" - rather, the sides are better made purposely uneven. It looks more natural, and avoids lumps of solder at the joint. See some actual leaves in the duck pattern



The pattern is re-drawn and cleaned up.

Because there were so many leaves and blooms cutting into the circle frame, the 'rays' were not necessary.
I removed them from the scanned pattern with an airbrush tool spraying in white.

You can see the finished pattern page here


For more tips to make a stained glass pattern, be sure to visit:

Stained Glass Patterns "dot org"