What is stained glass?

The French term vitrail came to Castilian as stained glass. It is a noun that refers to a stained glass window that displays different colors. It should be remembered that the concept of stained glass can refer to the structure that, with the glass, allows the closing of a window, door or other opening.

Also known as polychrome stained glass windows, stained glass windows are made with pieces of glass of different shades. In general, these glasses are colored with enamels and then joined by means of rods. The origin of stained glass is very old: in the times of the Roman Empire, they were already used in religious buildings. From the 13th century onwards, with the heyday of Gothic architecture, the use of stained glass windows was widespread for the representation of historical scenes or those belonging to the field of religion.

Over the years, the characteristics of stained glass have changed. They are stained glass windows that enclose the images in ogives or temples, for example, surrounded by mosaics of a geometric type. Even into the 20th century, renowned artists such as Henri Matisse and Marc Chagall continued to create stained glass designs, bringing the technique back to life. Cologne Cathedral, Germany, is one of the buildings that currently displays the best-known stained glass windows. This temple, which is part of the World Heritage Site, began to be built in 1248. In Spain, the Cathedral of Leon also stands out for its stained glass windows. In fact, his collection is one of the most important in the world when it comes to medieval stained glass. Homemade stained glass, step by step Although in our homes we cannot create stained glass windows with the dimensions and complexity of the most famous in the world, nobody prevents us from making beautiful designs using practically the same materials. It should be noted that it is a rather risky process, so it is not recommended to do it around small children or pets. The first step is choosing the design. If we have never made a stained glass window, then it is advisable to look for a simple one, so that we can complete it and learn the rudiments of the technique before moving on to a more complex one. One of the points to take into consideration is to avoid motifs with sharp edges, so rounded figures are recommended. At this early stage, we must also think about the number of pieces needed to form the design. For starters, it’s best to strike the balance between an attractive yet simple stained glass window with as few pieces as possible. Once chosen, we must capture it on a sheet of paper, either by hand-drawing or printing, ensuring that the contours are thick and well defined.

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Now is the time to buy the most suitable type of glass for our project. One of the most recommended for beginners is laminate, which is offered in their classes: opalescent and cathedral. Some of the aspects to consider are the degree of transparency, the texture and, of course, the price. Regarding the tools, we will need: a glass cutter, pliers, a copper sheet, a soldering iron, emery and a pen or marker. Finally, the work itself begins. One by one, we must place the glass slides on the drawing, to copy the shapes of the pieces with the pen or marker. With the glass cutter, we started to mark the contour of each piece, and then we helped each other with the pliers to separate them. Sharp edges should be ground to make them smooth and smooth. Once we have all the pieces cut and polished, we must cover their edges with copper sheets, and these will be the ones we weld to obtain the final design. As an optional last step, it is possible to frame the stained glass, something very useful for the presentation of certain reasons that are difficult to maintain.

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