The production of a stained / leaded glass window is fairly complex, though modern tools and techniques have allowed artists to create more detailed work. A window can be a combination of art design, engineering and interior design. Windows can be the main focal point of a room or can be used to enhance the overall interior/ exterior design through style, color and light reflection.


Design consultation – 10% payment

The first step in the process is meeting with the artist to discuss the project and design requirements. An onsite visit may be necessary to provide feedback on appropriate window design styles, color implications, installation requirements and window placement. Measurements can be taken to review the size and structure of the window, as well as provide feedback on styles and restrictions.


Initial design draft to full design/ mock up – Once the studio has been commissioned for the window, multiple draft designs will be presented and reviewed. This process may include an interior design that has been involved with home furnishings, color scheme, drapery or staging. Additional items will include types of glass, exposure to natural lighting, privacy issues and coordination of multiple rooms/ spaces.

Once the design draft is agreed, a full design / mock-up will begin. If the window has a unique design (round, oval, half round), a cardboard mock-up may be used to ensure proper shape and fit at installation. The full design may include steel reinforcement, if the window is very large. A 10% commission down payment is required at the start of the full window design.


Materials purchase – 40% payment


Art glass selection / materials purchase.

Once the design has been approved, the next step is material purchase for art glass, framing, lead came and finishing items. Since the art glass is the primary component of the commission, clients will have the option of reviewing the selections available from art glass distributors. Art glass is produced using large sheets of glass, ranging from 4 square feet up to 16 square feet. Some distributors will cut the glass sheets and sell art glass in smaller sizes. Most commissions will require more art glass than the window size, due to possible breakage, artist discretion for selected colors/ shape and scrap. Example, a 4 ft by 4 ft window (16 square feet) may require 32 square feet of glass for production.

If the client is interested in hand selecting the art glass, arrangements to travel to distributor locations can be made. The cost of travel will be built into the commission pricing to accommodate. Other materials will be purchased to produce the window at various times throughout the production process.


Glass cutting / fabrication

Once the glass has been acquired and shipped to the studio, the process of glass cutting and shaping will begin. Depending on the design and complexity of the window, glass cutting requires many hours to ensure that the window design fit and finish are accurate. An example of this process is similar to a jigsaw puzzle, where the glass must fit together tightly and smoothly. While there are grinders and band saws available for difficult shapes, 95% of the glass is hand cut and shaped with grozier plyers. Once the glass cutting is complete, the client will be invited to the studio to review the window and make any last minute changes before production.

Upon glass approval, the window will move into the fabrication stage. There are two types of fabrication available. For very detailed and complex windows, the copper foiling technique will be utilized. This involves wrapping each piece of glass with foil and then soldering the pieces together. The other method used lead came channels, where the glass pieces are separated by lead and then soldered at the joints. This produces a cleaner design finish and is often used for transoms, doors and sidelights. Once the entire window is staged, the window is soldered at each joint with a smooth and uniform bead. Once the soldered has cooled, the window is puttied to ensure maximum strength and insulation. Finally, the lead is darkened with patina and the window is polished/ buffed.


Installation – 50% payment

Finally, the window is installed at the client’s home. Permanent installations are inserts into the wood frame, with moldings applied on the exterior of the art glass. Cabinet doors and French doors are installed into existing frames or custom millwork, if available. Free standing installations will have a frame or installation in front of the window/ door. 

 Estate Quality Art Glass Creations

Aldie Glassworks