Stained glass


For many years, artisans have been inspired by different types of materials and one of the most important has undoubtedly been glass . The stained glass has been adopted with the passage of time, as a kind of art giving way to stunning shapes ranging from small objects to be used in modern facilities. In them, practically any type of scene or artistic motif can be represented and they are widely used in the decoration of temples and churches. It is also known by the name of polychrome stained glass.


What is stained glass?

A stained glass window is a piece of glass that has managed to be colored using different types of metallic oxides, allowing it to acquire specific tones. It is a decorative element that is placed with a series of pole rods that give it greater support.


Stained glass features

Among its main characteristics we can mention the following:

  • The stained glass windows have a good harmony with the environment that surrounds them as the artists use cold tones for places where heat predominates and warmer tones when the cold prevails in the place.
  • Their structures are solid so that they have a good reinforcement and do not fall.
  • They have designs that are easy for the public to understand.
  • They provide an adequate visual aesthetic .
  • They are usually large in size , for example the stained glass windows used in churches, however today many people learn the technique of making small designs for decoration purposes and as a hobby .
  • They also fulfill an educational and symbolic function .
  • They are organized appropriately to give more importance to some of the elements that are in them.


The origin of the stained glass window dates back to Egypt and  Mesopotamia . It is believed that around 3000 BC the technique began to be used as different objects dating from that time have been found. At that time, the stained glass window was considered a luxury and not so much as an object of decoration. Experts say that when Christians were allowed to practice their religion more openly, the stained glass window began to be used as a decorative object, mainly in the local churches.


During the 9th and 10th centuries , churches began to be built more frequently and at the same time stained glass was used as a means of decoration. The Byzantine art had a special influence on the windows of that time and the images were made using red, blue and white.

In the 13th century , the stained glass window was completely united to the architecture; The Gothic style that prevailed at this time caused its use to increase considerably and this caused the stained glass window itself to develop significantly. It was used to capture the biblical narrative , decorative borders began to be used and naturalism was also present in the designs.

By the fourteenth century , the silver yellow color began to be introduced until the golden tone was achieved . It was at this time that the stained glass window experienced its greatest variety in terms of design, style, feeling and color. During the 15th century , the different enamels began to be introduced , considered the most important technique in their history , artists began to produce works for the wealthiest and each of them had their own technique and style.

In the 19th century, thanks to romanticism , stained glass took on even more strength, and styles began to be based on the neoclassical architecture of the time. With the technology of the twentieth century, many possibilities were opened for this technique and for artists worldwide, techniques that gave way to important inventions in terms of its manufacture.

Stained glass types

There are several types of stained glass that are detailed below.

Romanesque stained glass

This type of stained glass has a wide range of colors, with bright tones following the laws of superficial lace. Its motifs are geometric and are based on the stories that the bible tells .

Gothic stained glass

Gothic stained glass is characterized by the use of backgrounds without color or grayscale , it focuses on showing themes of humanity and some of them usually include gold in their pieces.

Stained glass with copper tape

This technique is known by the name of Tiffany and to perform it a copper tape is used to join each piece of glass and thus form the stained glass window. The technique was invented by Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Contemporary stained glass

This is the type of stained glass that we most commonly see today. The glass is painted by artisans who use a number of different special paints to color the glass.

Stained glass with silicone

The process to make this type of stained glass is the same as any other, but substitutes lead for a sheet of glass and silicone . After cutting the pattern to be made and placed in position, silicone is applied to the glass using a spatula and the glass pieces are placed, which must be left to dry for at least 48 hours.

Cement stained glass

Cement is used instead of lead and is used to cover windows or for exterior decoration .

How do you create one

The steps to create a stained glass window are explained one by one as follows:

  • Stained glass design : this step is of vital importance and is usually carried out in a workshop, depending on the size, and then taken to the place where the stained glass will be placed. It is important to analyze the space to take the right measurements as well as to study the amount of light that needs to pass through.
  • Glass cutting : years ago an iron punch was used which was heated to the maximum to be able to make the cuts. Currently, there are tools that can be used for this purpose.
  • Paint on glass: grisaille is used for them , a paint made with a series of mineral pigments, metallic oxide and glass. When applied in design, it must be heated to ensure color fixation. In this phase the contours are also delineated.
  • Leaded : Lead is the ideal material due to its ductility and malleability .


The techniques for making a stained glass window are based on the aspects mentioned below.

  • Preparation of the design , which must be approved by the person who wants the place after analyzing the place where it will be placed.
  • The cut , which will be made under the guidance of the previously established pattern and using a diamond tip cutter.
  • Paint , for which silver nitrate is used to the surface of the glass and then apply the tones. This painting must be applied with brushes or brushes to obtain different types of effects.
  • The burning is another important technical and do in gas furnaces or electric.
  • The glazing is the latest technique and remains intact since medieval times. It consists of joining the different pieces of glass with strips of lead.


The main function of stained glass windows is to promote art through glass, to create eye-catching decorative spaces in the places where it is installed. Another of its important functions is to be able to represent different motifs, mainly religious , through its designs, as well as to provide modern decoration in homes and businesses.

Stained glass paints

To color the stained glass, special paints are needed. The copper oxide one can give red, green and blue. The calcium fluoride provides a white color , but not glossy. The violet hue is obtained from magnesium dioxide and cobalt oxide gives a blue hue.

You can also count on red and purple, yellow and green tones thanks to iron oxide 2 and 3. The wide range of colors makes the stained glass more visual attraction for those who observe them.


The importance of this type of art is based on the ability to artistically express architecture . In addition, they are responsible for representing different biblical elements in churches, which helps to increase the spirituality of the prayer centers.

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