Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Steps To Creating Unique Stained Glass Patterns

Learning the steps to creating unique stained glass patterns is not that difficult however it does require some guidance and a few items you need to acquire.

You will need some original photographs or images, a flatbed or office jet type scanner and a photo editing software program of some sort.

The latter can downloaded for free from several sources online.

To create your own unique stained glass patterns you can use pictures, photographs, on line renderings, etc. for your pattern, but make sure that whatever you use has contrasting colors.

This is important so you can make a clean distinction between edges when tracing your pattern.

With animal pictures in particular, the head, ears, eyes, and body parts should all be visibly clear and distinct.

Images that can be broken down easily into individually distinct pieces are obviously preferred.

If you run out of your own pictures, you can always do a Google search for "free .... images" and replace the .... with the name of the type image you are looking to convert into a stained glass suncatcher project.

You can also find free clip art on the Internet by Googling "free .... clipart" and inserting your preference in the .... area.

Clip art images usually have distinct edges and are more easily converted into stained glass projects.

When you decide on what image you want to convert, save it on your computer as a .jpeg file for use later.

If you decide on using your own personal photographs, you can save it on your computer using a flatbed scanner or one of the many "all in one" office scanner, copier, fax combos on the market.

Next scan the image and save it on your hard drive for later use or copy the image directly onto a piece of 8 1/2" x 11" paper.

Change your printer preference properties so it copies using only the black ink cartridge or gray scale.  This makes the edges show up clearer when going on to the next step.

Using a "light box" or just putting the printed picture on a sunlit window, trace the image on to a second blank sheet of paper using a lead pencil so you can easily make changes.

Remember that the finished project is in stained glass so don't make any super sharp angles, tight corners, etc.  Keep in mind that you need to fabricate each piece in glass so, if you need additional lines to make the piece "work", put them in where required.

It's a good idea to first trace the outline and then the inside shapes.  Just make sure you can cut and foil each piece from stained glass.

When you have your initial tracing, remove it from the light box or window and use your imagination.

Here is where you add additional lines or create new shapes.  It is also where you need to remove or make changes to pieces that you know cannot be cut with your equipment at hand.

When you are satisfied with your tracing, scan the pencil drawing and save it on your hard drive.

Use photo editing software to make your pattern the size you want it to be or just use your copier to blow up the pattern.  You can always go to a print shop and have them blow up the pattern if it is cost effective.

Next, print your images out on heavy bond paper that you would use to make business cards.

You can purchase this in quantity from Staples, Office Depot, etc.

Cut around the outside of each piece of the image with a pair of scissors and place the pieces on a piece of paper a bit larger than your finished project.

Connect each piece together with lines but make sure that they can be cut into a finished stained glass piece.  Use common sense.  Some pieces look good on paper but cannot be formed into a finished project.  Thin or narrow pieces when foiled often do not show the color of the glass and are the first pieces to get broken in the foiling process.

When you are satisfied with your pattern, number each of the pieces in the pattern along with the color of each piece.

In order to make sure all the lines in your final stained glass project are oriented in the same direction, identify each piece of the pattern with a small arrow or double backslash mark to show the direction of the grain of the glass.

With some projects and glass it doesn't really matter, but for some projects like fish, butterflies, flowers,etc. it can make or break your finished project.

Always make two copies of the finished stained glass pattern.

One copy will be taped onto your working surface to build your stained glass project on and the other will be used to trace and cut the individual pieces onto the stained glass.

It's a good idea to use crystal clear packing tape and covering each of your numbered pieces so they can be re-used more than once.

For longer use, you can also either laminate or tape over the copy you are using on your work surface.

Creating unique stained glass patterns is easy once you get your feet wet and understand that some pieces cannot be easily cut from glass.

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