What is Faux Stained Glass?

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  • Written By: S. McNesby
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 03 October 2019
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Faux stained glass is a decorative window covering or accent made to mimic the look of real leaded stained glass. Using a faux technique to create a stained glass look is an economical way to accent a plain window. Temporary motifs and window clings can also be made using faux stained glass techniques. These items can be displayed until a holiday or season ends, then removed and stored until the following year.

Plastic-based paint and dimensional paint are combined to make faux stained glass crafts and effects. Several craft manufacturers offer faux stained glass product lines, complete with pre-made leaded shapes and paint that dries to a sheer, flexible finish. For most faux stained glass crafts, some form of simulated leading is applied to the surface first to form a design, and then the color is filled in to complete the image.

Leading for faux stained glass is available in several forms. Pre-made leading comes in precision-cut shapes and has an adhesive backing. The backing is removed and the leading is applied directly to the glass or window surface. Once this rubbery leading is applied, the sheer paint can be added immediately; there is no waiting period. This type of leading is ideal for beginners or for quick, straightforward designs.


Liquid leading is a dimensional paint product with an applicator tip. It is helpful for custom work, since any desired shape can be created. This type of leading needs to dry completely before the sheer colors can be applied. Applying liquid leading requires a steady hand and a little practice; this type of leading is most suited to intermediate faux stained glass crafters.

Black or dark-colored hot glue sticks can be used with a glue gun to apply leading to a glass surface. Hot glue designs are easy to apply and customize; paint can be applied as soon as the glue is cool. These leading lines can be used by crafters of any level, but care should be taken to avoid burns; the glue gets very hot. Never use hot glue on plastic surfaces; they will warp or melt.

Paints used for faux stained glass can be applied directly from the bottle using an applicator tip or with a paintbrush. Stained glass paints take several hours to dry, so the paint can be reworked until the right look is achieved. The paint colors will look slightly lighter when they dry. Mistakes can be wiped away while the paint is wet, or sliced away with a razor blade after the paint has dried.


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