To get bright and consistent colours when using enamels on float glass, you must paint on a particular surface. It's called the 'air side'.
This only applies to the combination of coloured enamels and window glass. The enamels change colour if painted on the 'tin' side. So how do you know which surface is the tin side?
Using a UV flashlight
You can determine this by using a short wave UV flashlight. This sometimes called a Tin Side Detector.
By looking at your sheetglass in a darkened room with the UV flashlight under and up against the glass, you will see the tinned surface showing up as a blurry white ring. You won’t see this ring on the air side.
Using a single drop of water!
- Clean the window sheetglass
- Hold it at about a 45 degree angle, and drop one drop of water on to one side
- Turn over and repeat
- Compare the flow of the drop
- The water drop will break up and become uneven on the tinned surface
- Use the other (air) side for painting enamels on to.
This art work uses a combination of sponges and badger brushes for the painting.
The sponges for the textured, more definite ‘lines’, the badger brush for the blended background.
The secret, and the reason for so many firings, is to put lots of thin layers of paint and to gradually build up the colour.
This enables you a high degree of control over the finished window – you don’t want the stained glass paint too wishy washy, nor do you want it to bubble up and be too dark to see through.
- Coloured stained glass paint doesn't have the transparency and vibrancy of artglass. It isn’t glass and can never replicate it.
- The low firing enamels aren't weatherproof.
- You need access to a kiln for firing the paint.
- You can paint very large areas with a near-infinite amount of colours.
- You don't have to break up your design with lead lines, which can make for a very light, free window.
- You can control the depth of color and subtlety of you work with the stained glass paint.
- You can add all sorts of painted textures and patterns.
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