Glass Crafted

How To Cut Stained Glass Patterns

For beginners looking to get started with stained glass making, one of the first skills you need to know is how to work with patterns. Both how to cut the pattern itself (to make sure your pieces come out the correct size), as well as how to actually use those pattern pieces to make the final cuts on your glass.

Check out this awesome video guide from Youtube User eHowArtsAndCrafts, staring Shanon Materio of McMow Art Glass Studios. She goes through all the key points which we’ll summarize for you down below.

The process consists of 4 basic steps which we will detail for you:

Step 1: Make a copy of the pattern.

Step 2: Cut out the pattern pieces.

Step 3: Transfer the pattern to the glass.

Step 4: Cut the glass using the transferred pattern.

Stained Glass Art : How to Cut Patterns in Stained Glass

Key Takeaways

1) Make A Copy Of The Pattern

Rather than hacking up the original stained glass pattern, the recommended approach is to make an exact copy of it (either by tracing, photocopying, or other method).

Once you have your copy made, it’s time to mark them up so you know which pieces go where. Do the following:

  • Write a unique number or letter on each piece in the pattern (same number on both copies for each piece).
  • Consider using letters to identify the type of piece (e.g. L for a leaf), so you know which glass to use.
  • Consider using an arrow to identify which direction the grain should go.

These tips will help you stay orgnized, and can come in very handy for large patterns. Be sure to further transfer the numbering / lettering to your cut pieces so you don’t lose track!

2) Cut Out The Pieces

Once your parts are numbered, the next step is to cut out the pieces using either an exacto knife or pattern scissors.

In the video, she explains that it’s important to know whether doing copper foil or lead came so you know which pattern scissors to use. Lead came is thicker, so removing more of the black line helps make sure it will all fit together correctly.

Likewise, the copper foil method is less thick, so it’s ok to remove slightly less of the spacing. Please refer to our guide on choosing the Best Stained Glass Pattern Shears if you have more questions.

3) Transfer The Pattern

Now that all of your pieces are cut, the next step is to transfer the pattern to the glass so you can cut it. There are 2 options recommended in the video:

  • Use spray adhesive to stick the pattern piece directly to the glass.
  • Trace the pattern on the glass using a pen.

We tend to recommend the spray adhesive option, since it’s a bit faster, and can lead to more accurate cuts. If you’re going to go the pen tracing route, make sure to use a sharpie or something else that will work on the glass and not be wiped away too easily.

It’s also a good idea to write the number / letter from the first step on the cut piece if you use the pen method so you don’t lose track of what goes where.

4) Cut The Glass

Once the pattern is applied, it’s time to get cutting! In the video, she notes that if you use the pen / tracing method, you should be sure to cut just on the inside of the line you traced. If you’re looking for a good cutting tool, check out our guides on The Best Wet Saws For Stained Glass.

Wrapping Up

Stained glass patterns are quite common among hobbyists, and can help you bring an intricate pattern to life. Knowing how to most effectively use the patterns is a great starting point for any beginning stained glass artist to understand.

This awesome video tutorial has some great nuggets of wisdom, that can make the whole process easier. We’ve summarized the key take away, and leave the next steps up to you! Go get started!!