Unveiling the Process

One of the misconceptions people hold is that a stained glass artist who designs and
makes leaded stained glass windows makes their own sheets of different colored glass.

On the contrary, the process of making sheets of stained glass sheets is accomplished in a manufacturing facility with the apparatus to blow glass, or to mix, heat, and roll out sheets of colored glass.

The purpose of this blog will be to take you through the step-by-step process of
manufacturing stained glass sheets. The process is a fascinating blend of artistry and precision engineering.

In this blog, we will explore the journey of raw materials to finished product, unraveling the meticulous steps that bring stained glass sheets to life.

Step 1: Raw Materials

The journey begins with the selection of high-quality raw materials. Stained glass sheets are primarily made from silica sand, soda ash, and limestone, fused together to create a durable and translucent material. Metal oxides are then added to impart vibrant colors to the glass.

Step 2: Melting and Forming

The raw materials are melted in a high-temperature furnace, reaching temperatures exceeding 1700 degrees Celsius. The molten glass is then carefully shaped into large sheets through a process called rolling. This step is crucial in determining the thickness and overall quality of the stained glass.

Step 3: Annealing

To relieve internal stresses and ensure uniform thickness, the freshly formed glass sheets undergo an annealing process. The sheets are slowly cooled in a controlled environment, preventing any warping or cracking that may occur due to rapid
temperature changes.

Step 4: Cutting and Shaping

Once the glass sheets have been annealed, they are cut
into smaller, manageable pieces using precision tools. These pieces may vary in size and shape, depending on the intended design or use. A typical sheet size used in our Pompei studio is 24” x 48”.

Step 5: Surface Treatment

The surfaces of the glass pieces undergo treatment to achieve specific textures or finishes. The glass texture used most in our Pompei windows is “Waterglass,” manufactured by Oceanside Glass & Tile of San Diego. Techniques such as acid etching, sandblasting, or polishing may be employed to add depth, character, and visual interest to the glass.

Step 6: Coloring

The magic happens when the glass pieces are infused with vibrant hues. Metal oxides and other pigments are carefully applied to the surface or incorporated into the glass during the melting stage. The meticulous blending of colors requires both skill and artistic intuition.

Step 7: Quality Control

Before the stained glass sheets leave the manufacturing facility, rigorous quality control measures are implemented. Each sheet is inspected for imperfections, color consistency, and overall structural integrity. Any deviations from the desired standards are addressed to ensure only the finest products reach the market.

Conclusion:

The manufacturing process of stained glass sheets is a harmonious dance between tradition, craftsmanship, and modern technology. From the selection of raw materials to the final quality check, each step contributes to the creation of a product that not only reflects the beauty of art but also stands as a testament to the skill and dedication of those involved in the process. The next time you admire a stained glass masterpiece, remember the intricate journey it took from the furnace to its final form.

We’ve Made Ordering a Stained Glass Window Easy!

As part of the order process, we create a scaled, colorized design proof and mail you a glass sample set based on your color palette and privacy requirements. This allows you to view the colors and textures in the environment where your window will be installed.

Interested in More Stained Glass History?

For more information on the history of stained glass and a glossary of stained glass terms, check out the Stained Glass of America website.

Get in Touch

We’d like to hear from you!

Email us at info@pompeiglass.com
or call us at 781-395-8867