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Decorative Glass Panels Offer A Touch of Glass

(HIT) - Decorative art glass used in doors, sidelight panels, cabinet doors, ceiling lights and windows can create a unique, custom appearance for your home. And the recent introduction of decorative glass products for the do-it-yourself market makes it easier than ever for homeowners to exercise their creative freedom.

Decorative art glass projects or panels can be completed in as little as a few hours, according to Jim Frey, Product Development Manager for Rockler Woodworking and Hardware. "The more intricate you get the longer it will take, but the whole process itself is fairly simple. Every item comes with instructions on how to apply, so it’s not hard to do." Sandy Jendal from Chrysalis Decorative Glass, Inc. in McKinney, Texas, adds: "The most popular places to incorporate decorative glass are doors, sidelight panels, transoms, cabinet doors, ceiling light panels and bathroom windows. It’s ideal for applications where privacy is required without sacrificing natural light."

Products needed for a decorative glass panel project include embossed film for a textured glass look, leading and glass bevels. All of these products are available in craft centers and from woodworking retailers like Rockler Woodworking and Hardware.

Starting A Decorative Glass Project

Begin by making a template of your decorative glass project design. Design ideas for your decorative glass panel can be found by looking through interior design magazines, by searching the Internet or by scouring your imagination. If you decide on a design from another source, use the enlargement tools on a copier or your computer’s software to blow it up to the panel size you want to build. Print your template and, if needed, tape the pieces together to form a single template sheet. Use your decorative glass design template to determine what supplies you’ll need for the project.

Create Your Decorative Glass Lead Lines

Once you’ve chosen a design and created a full-size pattern, attach the pattern to the front of your glass panel with clear tape. Then turn the panel over and clean it thoroughly, then apply your self-adhesive lead strips … following the outlines visible from your pattern. Burnish the lead to press it firmly against the glass, especially in areas where different strips of lead meet or cross each other. You can lift and adjust the lead as needed for a short period of time before the adhesive cures.

Decorate The Flip Side Of Your Glass Panel

When you’ve finished applying lead strips to the back side of your decorative panel, flip it over and remove the paper template. Clean the glass on this side of the panel to remove tape residue and other contaminants, then let it dry thoroughly. Once it’s dry, you’re ready to apply embossed film.

Cut each piece of embossing film slightly larger than the panel in which you want it to appear. Remove the paper backing carefully, and spray the adhesive side of the film sheet lightly with distilled water. Position the film on your glass panel, then use a squeegee or soft cotton cloth to remove air bubbles and excess water. Trim the film with an Exacto knife or other sharp hobby knife, cutting just short of the center of each lead line in your decorative panel design. If your decorative panel design calls for bevels on the edges, make sure you trim your film carefully along the bevel edge on your pattern. Repeat the process for each segment of your design, leaving about 1/16" between each piece of film to make sure there aren’t any overlaps.

Apply Decorative Bevels To Your Panel

If your decorative panel design calls for bevels, apply adhesive as per the instructions that came with the bevel kit. Let the bevels dry for at least 12 hours, then go ahead and apply lead stripping to the front side of your panel. Follow the lead lines on the opposite side of the panel as closely as possible.

Jendal recommends trying these techniques on a piece of scrap glass (any smooth surface will do) to familiarize yourself with the products and procedures involved. "You don’t have to be an artist," she said. "All you need is a steady hand. That’s what it boils down to, since you’re just cutting film and tracing around a pattern with adhesive-backed lead. (The process) is kind of like coloring in a coloring book."

For more information about creating decorative glass panels, visit or call the company toll-free at 1-800-279-4441.

Courtesy: Home Improvement News and Information Center

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