When we were planning the guest bathroom redo, I though it would be nice to add a stained glass window like we did in our 1914 Bungalow in San Jose. I kind of handed that project over to Lori, letting her come up with the design and construction of it.
She came up with a beautiful design that reflected what you would see outside if the window wasn’t there. Fuschias, a hummingbird, a butterfly, and dragonfly seemed ambitious but since this was her project I wasn’t too concerned.
She selected the glass and started cutting. The glass we had done for our bungalow was very geometric with straight cuts. We quickly found that this window was going to require a glass grinder, so I found a cheap one on Ebay that worked just fine for our needs. Lori spent hours cutting and grinding the numerous pieces, but it ended up too much for her to assemble it, so it got dumped onto my extensive list of projects.I would do a bit each night, as much as my fingers could handle. As I started assembling it, I found that I had to reshape, or completely re-cut most of the pieces to get them to fit right. My advice for beginner glass makers is to cut as you go, don’t pre-cut everything. Another thing I would do differently is buy a pair of lead snips. During one of my trips to Jimenez Glass Studios, I asked Artemio, the owner, what he used to cut the lead. He demonstrated the snips he uses, and not only were they way faster than the knife I was using, but they cut the lead a lot cleaner. With all the intricate cuts needed for our window that would have been a huge time saver. Unfortunately by that point I was mostly done with the cutting. But if I ever do another window…
After about 5 months of us working on it, it was finally done and ready to be installed. Which is when one of my fears the whole time working on it was confirmed. When Lori picked out the glass she wanted something that was iridescent for the hummingbird, butterfly and dragonfly. However, the glass she chose had a silver backing, making it opaque. So when viewed in the room, those areas became black against the transparent areas lit by the bright outside light.
This really bothered me so on a scrap I experimented to see if the coating could be removed, and to see what the glass would look like without it. I found that using a wire brush in a Dremel tool I could remove the coating without damaging the glass, and with the coating removed, it was a nice shade of green. So I went ahead and painstakingly removed the coating from all those pieces.
With all that work put into the piece, I didn’t want it damaged by some random bird flying into it so it is protected on the outside by a sheet of clear Plexiglass.
The window adds a lot of character to the finished bathroom and I’m glad it all turned out ok after all the work we both put into it.