For this craft, you need just two things, glass and paint. It’s that easy!
Some of the best places to look for glass are of course charity shops, car boots and even kitchenware stores could have plain glass jars at reasonable prices. Check your cupboards for old glassware, dishes, jugs or even lamps, some of the older pressed glass items have embossed designs which are great for ready-made designs to paint. Use empty sauce jars, wine bottles and liqueur bottles can sometimes have good embossed designs ready for you to convert.
If you don’t want to use glass, explore the use of acrylic which is available from DIY shops, use a craft knife to cut to shape.
Design ideas can come from many sources, old Christmas cards,
magazines or even wallpaper samples. Keep a folder for inspiration and don’t be afraid to design and create ideas of your own. The actual shape of the glass can lend itself to great inspiration, wide open-topped jars could make great tea light holders, for example.
The next thing you will need is the paint itself, which will be widely available on-line or at a good craft shop. A special outliner liquid that comes in tubes is used to draw the design onto the glass.
The first thing to do is to get your design. Many patterns are available on the internet or even colouring books, better still if you are quite creative, draw your own. There are also available pattern books of stained glass designs. Another idea is to get gardening catalogues and use a photocopier to blow up pictures of leaves and flowers to reproduce an accurate floral design. Greetings cards can be a good source of a subject, don’t discard the message inside, this can be used on a piece of work that you produce for a special occasion. Once you start looking, design ideas will be just about everywhere, very soon have a large eclectic collection ready to inspire at a moments notice.
Next is the glass, two styles are available, glass cut to your requirements from a glass merchant or ready-made items. A glass merchant may have off-cuts available very cheap or often free. If you get glass cut to a specific size, it would be wise to ask the merchant to ground the edges for you. If you intend to use the glass in a window or door, then seek the advice of the merchant, who can tell you the correct type of glass to use to comply with current regulations. Frosted glass can produce very effective finished projects with its “bumps and waves”. Ready-made glass could be anything new or old from charity shops or cheaper stores.
Onto the paint, three types are available, spirit, water or acetate-based. If you are trying this craft for the first time, I would recommend using water-based paint which is very forgiving and not too strong smelling. Spirit-based paint will need to be used in a well-ventilated space, making sure you have plenty of cleaning products to hand in case of spills or accidents. If you decide to use acetate-based paints, these will also need to be used in a ventilated room and you will need a special cleaner for this. Start with the primary colours, Red, Yellow, Blue as well as Black and White and learn to mix as many shades as possible. As your experience grows then you can buy some more unusual colours with sparkles and special effects. Other things you might like to consider are glass objects that can be stuck onto your design, jewels and beads can be found on old jewellery in the charity shops or car boot sales. You can also find flat bottomed pieces of round glass, often sold for flower arranging or home decoration, these are sold by a lot of Homestore retailers or even on-line.
Let’s start with a basic project, take a glass jar and decide on a pattern to use. Now you need to make this pattern fit the jar. If you have access to a photocopier, reduce or enlarge the pattern to the correct size or use a grid method to enlarge or reduce as required, this is done by dividing the pattern into several squares then take a blank piece of paper and divide that into the same number of squares, either smaller or larger as necessary. Now copy each square onto the blank paper. Of course, with artistic talent, you can always draw freehand. There are two ways to attach the pattern to the jar, either tape it to the inside ( nice and firmly) or tape it to the opposite side of the jar. Now you need to use the tube of outliner to transfer the pattern onto the jar. Start at the top of the jar and work down, squeezing the tube slowly and smoothly as you go, keep the nozzle clean and put the lid on when not in use because it dries very quickly. Now that you have transferred the design make sure it is completely dry before moving on to the next stage, check the tube for recommended drying time. Use a cheap paintbrush to paint the colour onto the jar. This is because the cheaper brushes allow the paint to run off the brush rather than holding the paint as a quality brush would do. Paint carefully inside the outline and let each colour dry before painting another colour next to it. When you have finished, leave the jar to dry completely for about 12 hours. Place a tea-light inside the jar, light it when it’s dark outside then sit back and admire the way the light shines through your first painted glass creation.