Glass appliqué is a relatively modern technique and will produce a very similar result to the traditional leadlight.
I prefer it over leadlightig as the lead is poisonous and this technique is less labour intensive. It is also more secure as leadlighting can leak over time. Breakages are less likely to occur. There is more freedom in the design process, particularly for abstracts. The tools and most of the materials required can be sourced from a stained glass supplier. Grouting is available from some tile shops. Loctite glue is generally found at bearing shops. Tools: • Diamond glass cutter • Glass pliers • Glass grinding machine (not absolutely necessary, but nice to have) • Waterproof pen Materials: • 3mm minimum plain Window glass • Stained glass of your choice (choose very carefully, particularly if you want to mix translucent with opal glass. It may be wiser to take wispy or streaky instead of opal. Also heavily textured glass is not ideal because it will not sit flat on the window glass and will create bubbles) • Loctite 358 (glue) and small brush • Grouting (must be black)
The lines have to be a minimum of 4mm wide (use a felt pen to outline the lines or draw a double line). Each item, i.e. petal of a flower, needs to be numbered to avoid confusion when locating the final components.
Copy the design
Put the copy of the design under the window glass and secure it with sticky tape. The original is used to cut out the template. If you are an experienced cutter and you are working with translucent glass you may not need to do this and simply put the design under the coloured glass and cut inside the line. A loss or gain of 1mm over several pieces makes a significant difference to the final image. Your grout gaps will become too wide or too narrow. Lay the pieces of stained glass on the plain glass marked with the same number. Continue cutting until complete. Look at the piece and decide if changes have to be made or if some pieces need to be corrected with the grinder. Wash and polish each piece of glass including the window glass. Make sure you put each one back as you go along to avoid forgetting the location of each element.
Use a small brush to put the glue on the stained glass and press it into place. Make sure you have enough but not too much. Moving the piece back and forth helps to eliminate bubbling.
Note: The bigger the piece the more difficult to prevent bubbling. Try to keep pieces small. Once you have glued a few pieces secure them with sticky tape so they stay in place.
The glue will not set for some time, particularly if you are working with opal glass. The drying time depends on the colour. Some colours dry much quicker than others. If you are happy with the spacing take it into the sun and the glue will set rapidly. If the object is too heavy or big to carry, leave it near a window and it will set usually by the next day.
It is possible to do appliqué onto an existing window. You will need to take the window out and lay it down flat before proceeding as above, but leave a 5 to 10mm space along the inside of the frame. If it is a glass picture to be hung on a wall or placed into a window you need to make a frame in wood or lead.
Finally you are ready to do the grouting, which will give it the appearance of a lead window. Mix the grouting with water to putty consistency. Take a little at the time and press into the spaces between the glasses.
Wipe over the glass slightly to remove access grouting. Let the grout set then wipe it with a damp (not wet) sponge and then with a soft dry cloth.
Your glass appliqué is finished!