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Insta-Elegance

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I grew up in a pretty 1920-something house with leaded glass windows. I never thought much about these windows because they were just there. (And they were just windows.) But they really were lovely. Each diamond-shaped panel of glass was at a slightly different angle from the next, giving the windows a faceted look. The glass was also just a little thick-and-thin so my view outside was just a little warped. (Which explains so much to my friends and family, I know!) These windows gave our house an old-fashioned, storybook day-dreaminess.

Maybe I’m trying to re-create that romantic look, or maybe my childhood leaded glass windows helped form my interior design style, but I love to give my plain windows a faux leaded-glass treatment. The look is one of those (sometimes unnoticed) subtle design details that shapes an interior’s style.

Giving your windows the faux leaded glass treatment is so easy thanks to a few inexpensive craft store supplies. I use a product called Gallery Glass by Plaid, which is available at craft stores like Michaels or Hobby Lobby. (For my international readers, you can find Gallery Glass on ebay or on the official Plaid website as well.) Gallery Glass is a faux stained glass system comprised of dimensional glass paint and sticky “leading” strips. (Now I will be the first to admit that this product has been the cause of a HUGE number of misguided craft endeavors. Teddy bear and balloon suncatchers? Wedding bell-bedazzled hurricane vases? Trust me: it can get ugly. But when used with taste and style, this product can give your windows a gorgeous stained glass look. I personally only use this Gallery Glass to replicate classic stained glass design. Craft shame avoided.)

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The faux stained glass window pictured is on one of my farm-house doors. This project was simple and great for a first try at faux stained glass. To start, I first traced my window dimensions onto Kraft paper and planned out my design. I divided the pane into twelve vertical rectangle. Then for the design, I curved the last 2 inches of each line into a simple Gothic arch at the top and bottom. (A Google image search for “Gothic Stained Glass” will yield lots of inspiration.)

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I taped my simple pattern to the back of the window. Applying the Gallery Glass Redi-Lead leading strips, which are long, skinny black stickers that replicate the look of true leading, I followed all of my lines. The next step was to use a faux solder. The “solder” comes in a squeeze tube and looks just like black puffy fabric paint. Dab it at each “leading” joint. When the “solder” was dry, I used the Gallery Glass Window Color in “Crystal Clear” to fill in the leaded panes. I swirled mine on to give a slightly bumpy, “old glass” look. (And I love the little bubbles because they give it an old-fashioned authenticity.) I have lots of paper towels on hand because gravity always wins when you apply a drippy paint on a vertical surface. The glass paint cures in a day or so and then is quite permanent.

This project is perfect for a weekend. The supplies are pretty inexpensive and the time commitment is small, but the finished window is . . . just dreamy.