How to Light Up Stained Glass

Stained glass is so beautiful when displayed in a window where the sunlight shines through the glass. The effect of the sunlight reflecting light through the various glass textures and colors adds a dramatic elegance to the room.

To install art glass into a window opening you have two options. Purchase or make a glass piece that is the exact size of the window opening. Place the art glass piece over the existing window and secure with molding or brackets. Be sure to thoroughly clean the window prior to installation. To display smaller art glass pieces, hang it above the window using decorative chain or fishing line.

If you do not have a window where you would like to display your art glass piece, you can create a faux window. With a press of a button, your art glass will light up.

To turn your art glass into a faux window, you will need to make a shadow box. To make a shadow box you will need wood for the outer frame, sides and back of shadow box. You will also need rope lights or strip lights that will fit into the interior measurements of your shadow box.

First measure the length and width of the stained glass piece. Take these measurements from the outer perimeters of the glass. If you wish to have a mitered frame, add the width of the framing stock to your measurements.

Example: Measurements of perimeter of stained glass piece is 21″ x 24″.

Width of wood for frame is 2″.

Using a miter saw or miter box, cut 45 degree angles on each end.

You will need 2 pieces that are 25″ and 2 pieces that are 28″ from tip to tip.

Use wood glue and trim head screws to assemble your frame. Now you are ready to make the box part of the shadow box.

Cut 2 pieces of 1-1/2″ wide wood that are equal to the outer length of the art glass piece plus 1/4″ and two pieces that are equal to the outer width of the art glass piece plus 1/4″ and 2 times the thickness of the wood.

Using wood glue and brad nails assemble box sides and attach to frame. This leaves the back of the faux window open so that you can insert your glass. Place stained glass into shadow box and attach with glass brackets and/or silicone. Then add strip lights or rope lights around the interior of the box just behind the stained glass insert.

To make the back of the shadow box, cut a piece of plywood or masonite to fit over the assembled box sides and frame. Be sure to make a hole for the electrical cord. Using wood glue and brad nails, attach back to box sides.

An alternative to making a stained glass lighted shadow box would be to hang art glass in front of wall flooded from above by flood bulbs which are mounted behind a soffit. This method requires the glass artwork to be hung away from the wall about 4 – 5″. You can accomplish this by hanging art glass from the soffit which will allow the lighting to be behind the art glass just like sun shine coming through a window.

Source by Maureen Summy