Here is a great way to recycle those old single-paned wood-framed windows that many of us (including myself) have leaned against a garage wall or in a basement somewhere. I’ve also saved most broken mugs, tiles, old jewelry, marbles, shells and colored glass in all shapes and sizes. Truth be told, most artists like myself are excellent junk collectors. We hate to throw out just about anything, as we know there is a future art project where the items may come in handy. Waste not, want not. I believe that!
Let’s get started! One of the beauties of using these old wood-framed windows is that it has a ready made frame. Pick one that has a good piece of glass not broken or cracked. If lose, you may first want to reglaze or caulk it securely into place. Clean the entire window and frame, and allow ample drying time.
Another nice aspect of this project is that if you want to use a pattern, whether it’s your original or someone else’s, you can simply tape it to the under side of the glass. Start in the middle of the design or with the focal point, meaning the most prominent part of the design. Use an all purpose glue that is compatible with glass, stone, metal and wood, and that will dry clear; I used Weldbond for the windows that are pictured here, it did take about a week to completely dry clear.
I didn’t use a pattern for any of these. The two with mermaids began with the mermaids and choosing sea glass shapes that seemed to fit the design. Then, I worked my way outwards, playing with the material at hand which included sea glass, shells, beads and metal. After everything is glued into place and dried well, it’s time to grout! Choose a nice contrasting color or neutral tone as desired, mix water with the grout as per the instructions that accompanied the product. This step is better done outside and I highly recommend rubber gloves, protective eye wear and a dust mask. The grout will start to dry within minutes and as soon as it starts to set up (harden) you’ll want to clean the excess off undesired areas using an old cotton cloth. I installed the two mermaid mosaics in our two outhouses. For the one with the two masks, I just screwed a few sturdy hooks into the top of the frame and now it’s mobile to hang in any window that is bigger than it.
Have fun; here you can do no wrong. It’s a great place to recycle broken parts and pieces of just about anything, organic that is! Think "transparent verses opaque" for a beautiful stained glass look. Enjoy!
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