Dollhouse Stained Glass Effects

  • 01 of 07

    Creating Miniature Stained Glass Effects

    Dollhouse Stained Glass Created Using a Printed Transparency
    The Spruce / Lesley Shepherd

    Stained glass effects are useful for many types of miniatures. The techniques shown here can be used to color miniature glass and plastic containers, lampshades, plates, and serving trays as well as to create the effects of stained glass windows in miniature for dollhouses or other scale buildings.

    Clear acetate sheets or thin glass work best as a surface. Test your colors on a surface sample first. Some plastics will cause coloring pens or felt pens to bead up. Other colors may destroy the plastic surface you want to use. Check first.

    Stained glass is most realistic if the colors match real samples and the lead lines between the colors follow paths properly. Glass pieces with an inner curve are difficult to cut, lead lines often divide pieces into simpler shapes. Some lead lines are used to emphasize the shapes in the overall picture, others balance the overall picture. Look at photographs of leaded glass similar to the design you want to reproduce to make sure you can copy not only the colors but the distinctive leading lines.

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  • 02 of 07

    Materials You'll Need

    Materials for Making Dollhouse Scale Stained Glass Windows
    The Spruce / Lesley Shepherd

    To create miniature or dollhouse stained glass for windows or other purposes you will need:

    • Transparent ink pens capable of writing on glass or plastic (or you can use craft store glass effect paints) For these projects, we used sakura glaze pens.
    • Acetate sheets or thin pieces of glass, acrylic or plastic glazing. Some clear report covers from the stationery store work well.
    • A stained glass pattern in the correct size to trace over, or you can use an overhead transparency you print with a laser or inkjet printer to print directly on clear plastic.
    • A black gel glaze pen to create raised black lines to resemble lead lines on stained glass, or thin peel off lines in a silver color, available from scrapbooking suppliers. or you can use printable inkjet decal film for lead lines.
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  • 03 of 07

    Choose Your Patterns

    Patterns for Simple Dollhouse Stained Glass Windows
    The Spruce / Lesley Shepherd

    Print this pattern to the scale you wish for your miniature scene or dollhouse and use it as a guide beneath your window or sheet of plastic. Alternatively, print this pattern onto an overhead transparency sheet using an inkjet or laser printer. Check that the transparency sheet is compatible with the type of printer you are using.

    If you prefer, print an alternate design from a book of stained glass patterns or from a website that offers copyright-free patterns.

    The detailed window in the introduction of these instructions was created by printing a Dover Books' illustration for a William Morris woodcut onto a piece of overhead transparency film using an inkjet printer. In this case, the slight coating on the overhead film did not detract from the final design.

    Choosing Patterns for Miniature Stained Glass

    Simple patterns work best. Patterns with a lot of free-flowing lines will require a very steady hand with a pen. If you wish to use silver peel off lines to create lead lines for miniatures, use designs that do not have many curves.

    If you intend to use a gel pen to create the lead lines, choose a design with lines that are far enough apart that the pen lines will not obscure the glass design. If you choose a traditional stained glass window that has detailing applied to the glass (faces, hands, etc.), choose a design with the largest subjects you can find. Very elaborate designs may become too crowded to be effective when reduced to a smaller scale.

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  • 04 of 07

    Print Patterns on Overhead Transparency Film Using an Inkjet Printer

    Overhead Transparency Printed by an Inkjet to Make Dollhouse Stained Glass Windows
    The Spruce / Lesley Shepherd

    The photo above shows miniature window designs printed on an overhead transparency using an inkjet printer. Suitable overhead transparency pages can be bought from a stationary or office supply store.

    Some overhead transparency pages have a coating to enable the ink to adhere better. You may need to clean this coating off the nonprinted side of the transparency before you use markers, glaze pens, or stained glass paint to color your design. Test a corner of the sheet to determine if this is necessary. Many coatings can be removed with alcohol on a cotton swab.

    It may not be possible to completely remove the coating from the overhead sheet to create a completely clear window. If this is the case, your window will have a slight frosted effect which will be appropriate for particular applications.

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  • 05 of 07

    How to Paint on the Film

    Dollhouse Stained Glass Colored with Glaze Gel Pens
    The Spruce / Lesley Shepherd

    Tape your film or glass over your miniature printed stained glass window design to hold it perfectly flat. Fill in areas of color using glaze pens, markers or stained glass paints.

    If you are coloring onto a printed overhead sheet, clean the backside of the sheet with soap and water or alcohol (make sure the printed side doesn't get wet or damp or it may run). Color on the backside of the overhead sheet, the side which is not printed. That way the printed design lines will cover any slight mistakes you make.

    Fill in colored areas that are not adjacent. Allow the color to dry before coloring the area which borders it, otherwise, the colors may bleed.

    For deeper colors, apply a second coat of ink or paint to the section after the first coat has dried.

    • To create marbled glass: Apply a small patch of opaque white glaze to the area you wish to marble, then apply small patches of color and stroke them through the white glaze with a blunt toothpick or pin. Use the toothpick to move the marbled glaze to the edges of the fill area to completely cover it. Allow it to dry (opaque white glaze pens seem transparent until they dry).
    • To create streaky glass: Use two closely related colors to fill the area and allow them to bleed or run together. If you do not have a second closely related color, apply your color to the patch you wish to appear streaky, allow it to dry, then apply a second layer in streaks on top of the first (don't completely fill the area the second time).
    • To create old clear glass: Fill the area with clear glaze and allow it to dry. Apply a second coat thinly to the first in a swirl pattern, or streaks (do not completely fill the area with the second coat). When viewed from the front of the window it will appear to have streaks and swirls in the clear finish when dry which will resemble old rolled glass.
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  • 06 of 07

    Applying the Lead Lines

    Dollhouse Stained Glass with Silver Sticker Lines Added to Mimic Leading
    The Spruce / Lesley Shepherd

    To apply lead lines to miniature faux stained glass, first ensure the object is completely colored, all colors are dry and surfaces are clean. (See the previous step.)

    Using Peel-Off Lines as Lead Lines

    To use peel-off lines, carefully pull back on an individual line and remove it from the backing. Place the line on the colored plastic or glass, extending it slightly beyond the area you intend to cover. Use a craft stick or paper embossing tool to press gently down on the line as you lay it in place. Trim off the excess slightly beyond where you will have it end in the final.

    Apply all lines to your piece, cutting and trimming as necessary. A fine pointed sharp craft knife will help trim the final ends square. If the piece will be fitted into a dollhouse window frame, add a final peel-off line as an outline on all outside edges. Leave a border (1/8 to 1/4 inch) along the outside edges of your stained glass piece to allow you to fit it into a window frame.

    Using Embossing/Glaze Pens as Lead Lines

    To create lead lines with an embossing/glaze pen, determine which side is the right side. If you have created texture with glaze pens to create special glass effects you may want to use the uncoated side of your panel as the right or show side. Lay your colored panel on a flat surface and tape it down right side up. Draw a black glaze pen slowly over the surface to create raised black lines in places that would normally be leaded.

    Remember that tight inside curves are difficult for glass. Pieces are often cut to have simple curves. If you are using a reduced glass pattern for your miniature stained glass, you can follow the actual lead lines given. If you are using an illustration, you will have to determine where the most logical lead lines should go.

    Using Printed Transparencies

    If you use printed transparency the print outlines will serve as lead.

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  • 07 of 07


    Miniature Faux Stained Glass Windows, Wardian Case and Serving Tray
    The Spruce / Lesley Shepherd

    Miniature faux stained glass can be used to decorate boxes, create serving trays, and replicate miniature windows for dollhouses or other scale buildings. The same technique can also be used to color miniature pitchers and plates to create the effect of clear plastic or colored glass.

    Three-dimensional objects can also be given the effect of stained glass. The Wardian Case shown here was created as a flat object and folded and glued into shape after the colored glaze was added with glaze pens.

    Create a Glass or Colored Plastic Serving Tray for Miniature Settings

    1. Determine the dimensions and shape you would like for your serving tray.
    2. Determine where the crease lines will go for a platter, plate or shaped tray.
    3. Lay a piece of acetate or plastic over a printed template or illustration.
    4. Copy the design using gel glaze pens, markers or stained glass paints.
    5. Leave to dry.
    6. Fold gently on fold lines or crease to form a rim (plates and platters).

    Create Colored Plastic Dishes

    Use glass paint or glaze pens to coat a plastic plate or dollhouse dish. Set aside to dry. Use as many coats as necessary to create the depth of color you wish. As with the stained glass windows allow each color to dry before coloring adjacent areas.