Commissioning Stained Glass

The Design

The Glass

Construction Methods

Leaded Lights


Laminating and Bonding

Decorative Techniques

Painting and Printing

Sandblasting and Etching

Fusing, Slumping and Casting

Restoration and Repairs

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This is standard colourless window glass, available in varying thicknesses. It is made by floating molten glass on to molten tin to get an ultra-smooth surface. It can be toughened or laminated for strength and safety and is often sandblasted or engraved with lettering or patterns.  It can also be used as a base glass for contemporary work employing fusing, slumping, bonding and painting.

Roundels, Lenses and  Bevels

Individual 3D glass shapes are available to add interest and depth into stained glass. Victorian  roundels are particularly attractive as they sometimes contain two colours swirled together and distort light to a greater degree because they are thicker in the centre.  

Mouth-blown (hand-made)

This is glass made in the traditional way where molten glass is blown into a cylinder and then flattened to form a sheet. Its beauty lies in its exceptional clarity and non-uniform appearance (“Antique” mouth-blown).  It is available as reamy (swirling texture) and seedy (with many small bubbles).

Pot-metal glass is mouth-blown glass of a single colour, and flashed glass is mouth-blown glass made from two layers, usually clear with a thin veneer of colour.  The coloured layer can be removed to reveal the base glass using sandblasting, etching or engraving to create a design.   


This is the type of glass commonly seen in domestic Victorian and Edwardian stained glass windows.  It is also somewhat confusingly called “cathedral glass”. It is available from smooth to heavily textured and in a wide range of colours.  These textured glasses are often used to distort the outside view to provide more privacy, for example in hallway windows.

Other speciality machine-made glasses include dichroic or iridescent glass, which have a reflective metallic surface yet are still transparent (unlike mirrored glass). Dichroic glass  transmits and reflects two different colours, for example it may appear blue when held up to the light but coppery when light is shined on it.

An interesting array of clear machine-made colourless glass with marked geometric patterns is also available, for example reeded glass. A leaded light made using a selection of this type of glass can make a strong contemporary design statement.

Streaky, Opal and Wispy

Streaky glass contains two or more colours and is available in transparent or opal sheets.  Opal glass has a milky appearance and can be used to obscure the background.  A mixture of clear and opal is often referred to as wispy glass.  Used discriminately, opal and streaky glasses can be used to great effect in stained glass.  They can be either mouth-blown or machine-rolled.

The Glass