Faux Stained Glass Window Art Silhouette

Turn a window or glass framed picture into a beautiful faux stained glass window art silhouette. This window art uses glue and acrylic paint to achieve breathtaking colors for a fun art project.

Faux stained glass window art with glue and acrylic paint

Have you ever found yourself with an old window or glass framed picture and you didn’t know what to do with it? How about a blank wall that needs some art? Here is a fun project that uses school glue and acrylic paint to make a beautiful faux stained glass window art silhouette that is sure to enhance any room.

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Acrylic paint and school glue

Materials You Need:

5 Steps for Painting a Stained Glass Window Art Silhouette

Step 1: Prepare your picture

Take the clear acrylic sealer and spray the glass. (Note:  You will need to set up an area that is safe from the over spray of the acrylic sealer). The acrylic sealer will give the glue paint something to adhere to. You can let the glass dry while you mix up the colors you will need for your picture.

Glass window leaning against blue tarp

Decide which colors you want to use and mix 1-2 drops of acrylic paint in about a Tbsp. of clear school glue. You don’t want to mix too much ahead because glue dries quickly and you don’t want to waste your colors. I mixed mine in small paper cups.

Cups of paint mixed with glue

Step 2: Paint the stained glass window art background

Use the different colors you have mixed up to paint the glass of your picture. Play around with blending colors or paint everything one color. This part is up to you and your creativity so have fun with it!

Painting glue paint on glass

Tip: If you want a more intense color in a certain area, first paint a layer of glue paint on the glass. Then use straight acrylic paint and paint over the area you want to darken. Note: The colors will separate a little because of the glue, so you will have to go back over it with your brush a few times to mix it into the glue. 

Painting stained glass silhouette window art

I used the above method for the sun on my sunrise picture as well as the white and yellow areas on the clouds where I wanted the colors to seem more intense.

Sunrise painted on glass window

Let it dry!  

I allowed mine to dry overnight and it was ready to go the next day.

Need to pick the perfect paint color to go along with your style and decor? Learn how to pick the best paint color for your home and style by signing up for the pdf below.

Step 3: Prep the painting for the silhouette

Grab your white school glue and take the lid off. Add black acrylic paint to the bottle, put the lid back on, and shake, shake, shake until it is well blended. (This does require a bit of shaking, so you might as well turn on some music and really get into it.) 🙂

Start with 15-20 drops. You can always add more if it is not black enough. Note: The glue will look grey when it is wet, but dry black.

There are several methods you can use to apply your silhouette template. The easiest one is to use a printed picture or coloring book page and tape it to the back side of your picture. It should be fairly easy to see since the glue paint gives the effect of a see-through stained glass.

If you have a bigger piece of glass (like me) then you can either free hand trace a picture on the back of your glass with a dry erase marker, or look at a smaller picture for inspiration and just go for it. It all depends on your comfort level and the size of your glass.

I combined a little of all three methods: I drew a basic outline of my tree on the back of my glass to get an idea of the sizing. (Make sure you draw on the BACK of your glass, not on your paint! Then you can wipe it off easily after you have completed your painting.) Then I looked at the picture that was my inspiration and free handed the rest.

I used the paper template method to get my words straight.

Outline of tree silhouette on glass window

Step 4: Paint the silhouette.

Use the black glue and squeeze your design out onto the side of your glass that you previously painted with the colored glue. Note: This area will dry raised.

School glue and paint used to make a silhouette art project

Work from top to bottom or side to side, whatever is comfortable. You just don’t want to rub off all of your hard work with your hand.

Pop any bubbles with a toothpick or the bubbles will dry into little crevices on your painting. Don’t worry, if this does happen (it happened to me), you can come back with a little extra glue paint and try to blend it in.

As the glue dries, IT WILL SHRINK. Don’t worry if you see some color bleeding through. You can go back over it with more black paint. This has the added bonus of increasing the texture of your silhouette.

If you do make mistakes, you can use a craft blade to fix the edges. Just don’t get too carried away because you might scratch the paint off your background.

Step 5: Stained glass window art final steps

If you want to add anything to your picture that isn’t raised, you can use paint markers. I used black paint markers to write the words on my picture and used a print out taped on the back so I could trace it and keep everything straight.

Painting words on glass with paint marker
Black tree silhouette and verse on glass window

Note: After I had added the silhouette to my tree, I realized that I wanted to add a little blue to my painting. I was able to paint the blue glue paint over the existing dried glue paint, though I noticed it did pull up the paint underneath if I wasn’t careful. So, if you want to add another color, it can be done. Just proceed with caution so you don’t mess up the other colors on your painting.

Another note: This also came in handy when I accidentally scratched some paint off of a little section of glass. I was able to come in and blend in more paint to cover the exposed glass.

When you are satisfied with the way it looks, let everything dry for at least a day.

Spray it once again with clear acrylic sealer before hanging it on the wall to seal in all of your paint and prevent it from scratching off.

Tree silhouette and verse on sunrise painting

Stained glass window painting over couch

And this is what it looks like with light shining behind it.

Stained glass art with light shining behind it

Another method:

If you are looking for more of a stained glass look, you can apply the black glue paint first, let it dry, and then paint with the colored clear glue inside the lines.

You would use the same mixing ratios and methods listed above, but the pictures would turn out more like a stained glass window. It is a little harder to blend your colors with this method, but you can still play around with it.

Want to remember this project for later? Save it to your favorite DIY Pinterest board.

A Beautiful faux stained glass art silhouette made from paint and glue.

If you try this project, I would love to hear any tips or alternatives you found that work. What was your inspiration?

Looking for more art tutorials? Check out these posts on How to Make a Faux Chalkboard and how to make a DIY Snowman Lighted Canvas Picture.

DIY Faux Stained Glass Window Art with Glue and Acrylic Paint
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16 thoughts on “Faux Stained Glass Window Art Silhouette”

  1. When making the stained glass window can I paint everything on the back of the window instead of on the back and front of the window if I’m correct

    Reply
    • You can! Just be aware that anything you paint on the other side will be a mirror image. This mostly will affect text, but if you are just painting a picture then you should be fine.

      Reply
  2. Hi Erin! Am very interested in your technique, would like to try. Could you use this technique for suncatchers outside? ~k

    Reply
    • Hi! I am so excited that you want to try this project.
      I think using this technique on sun catchers would depend on where you were planning on hanging your sun catcher. Because this project uses school glue and water soluble acrylic paint any moisture would cause the glue to get tacky and come off. If you hung the sun catchers on a covered porch where they couldn’t get wet or sealed the painting in between two pieces of glass, it could work.
      I would love to hear if you find a way to make it work.

      Reply
  3. I have a few old windows, and I want to try your technique, but I’m curious about two things…
    1. Why you used both white glue and clear glue.
    2. How does the back of the window look in case I want to hang it as a “curtain”
    Thank you!

    Reply
    • I am so glad that you want to try this project! It has been one of my favorite diy art projects I have done so far.
      Great questions! 1) I use 2 types of glue to achieve the stained glass look. The clear glue gives your painting a see through look, like stained glass. The white glue mixed with black is thicker and more opaque, giving the feel of the leaded lines in traditional stained glass.
      2) The back of the window looks just like the front, though it is a mirror image. So if you are planning on writing text on your window, the back will look a little funny because the words will be facing the wrong way. If you are just planning on painting an image, there shouldn’t be a problem.
      I hope this helps!

      Reply
  4. Great tutorial. I hav a bunch of out of fashion pictures under glass and in nice frames. I am going to use them by removing pictures and backing to have framed faux stained glass items to give as gifts. My question is did you paint on front or back of glass. Thank you.

    Reply
    • What a great idea! I did paint them on the front and then sprayed them with acrylic sealer. So far the painting has not gotten scratched at all. I did this because it was easier to put an outline behind the glass and trace it. You could paint the inside of your glass if you are worried about it scratching, however it will show up as a mirror of what you painted on the inside so keep that in mind. I am so glad that you are creating some fun art with your frames.

      Reply
    • I have not tried to remove it because it took a lot of time to make! However, I did accidentally scuff it when I first moved it and the glue came off fairly easily. I had to make a few repairs. Now that it has been sitting longer, I don’t know how easy it would be to remove the glue. And I don’t know what the glass would look like underneath if I peel the glue and paint off. Here are a few thoughts I have, though I have NOT tried any of them. 1) If you are wanting to remove the picture and change it each season I would not prime the window with the acrylic sealer or seal it afterwards. I would think that using a flat razor to scrape the glue off would maybe work. 2)Possibly wetting the painting would cause the glue to come off easier.
      Again, I have not tried either of these techniques, so if it is something you were interested in trying, I would test it on a small area first.
      I would love to know your results and hear if it works for you.

      Reply
  5. I bought my supplies today. I made fake backlit windows in my basement and plan to add the Faux stained glass – hopefully changing it seasonally.

    When you mentioned above that you painted over the existing dried glue paint, were you staying that you started with a layer of clear glue?

    Reply
    • I am so excited that you are going to do this project! The fake backlit windows sound like a great way to use this technique.
      I used the white glue mixed with black paint and went over the clear glue mixed with paint, but you can do the black design first and then fill it in with color. For me, it was easier to blend colors without the black lines blocking my painting. I also painted over the existing glue paint when I decided to add a little blue to the sky so I added blue paint to more clear glue and went over a little of the yellow. You do have to be careful when adding more glue because it tends to pull up some of the glue paint you already laid down. I also fixed a little spot on the bottom that got scratched when we moved the painting.
      I hope that helps clarify. Please let me know if you have any more questions.

      Reply

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