Why do I think he could win Craft Wars? Not because he's the best crafter out there (sorry, babe) but because he is the most determined. A few years ago, Allan really wanted a Dr. Who scarf, circa Tom Baker. (Did I get that right? If so, I should get wife brownie points.) Those scarves, though? Ridiculously expensive. So Allan decided he would make one. Come again? I asked. But he had it all planned out - YouTube knitting tutorials, patterns, color swatches - he was determined. And you know what? He did it.
|Sniff, I miss my old home office.|
So, today is my chance to do a little guest-blogging. It’s not often that I get crafty, or at least blog-worthy in my craftiness, but Cher liked this project, and it came out OK. First, a little background.
This project was borne of a couple of facts that are pretty fundamental to me. One, I get bored during the summers. Two, I get distracted by passersby. I teach at a small women’s college here in Columbia, SC, and at the early part of the summer, right before I finished my summer teaching and before I was faced with nearly three months down-time, I changed offices. My new office is attached to a resource center (I’m the new director, thus the new digs), and as such it has two doors: one leading into the center, which is usually open when I’m there, and one facing the walkway/lobby of the library basement where the English department (my department) is located. No, I don’t train slayers, as Julie Kagawa once suggested to me. But I do prepare young women for equally frightening thinks: teaching English.
Anyway, the door facing the basement lobby (and the stairs leading down to it— a really busy area) has one of those windows that is large enough to see into but small enough that, if you really want to check out what’s going on inside, you have to leer into. This freaks me out to no end, so I thought I would kill two birds, as it goes, by making a little project for myself to stave off the summer blahs and also obscure myself from lookie-loos and vice versa. Obviously, faux stained glass was the first thing to come to mind.
I’ve actually wanted to do this for a while, but never really had a window to do it on. The supplies were pretty reasonably priced and the work not that difficult (even I could do it!), and it was a lot of fun. Here’s how it went down:
I started off by making a template in the shape of the window I was covering. I stole found images from online and grafted them together on the computer until I was happy with the design. You can see the template, taped behind the work surface, below:
The next step really appealed to my OCD, as it allowed me to be meticulous without really having to be exact. Using the black lines on the template as rough guides, I used Plaid’s Gallery Glass® Redi-Lead™ lines, thick for the nail and outlines, and thin for the random shapes in the fill areas. I trimmed as I went with a craft knife, and by the time I was done I felt like a pro. Definitely something you get better at. In the first image below, you can see how I used the thick led lines to shape and, in some areas, shade the central images:
Here is the completed window, with the template still in place. You can tell, especially at the bottom, how the template was really more like a “suggestion” for where to place lines:
Here’s the finished lead lines sans template, but before touch-ups:
Gallery Glass ® also makes something called Liquid Leading™, ostensibly for doing free-form lines, but I used it to connect my less-than-perfect sections:
Again, I like the detail work of using a craft knife, though I’m hardly good at it. In the picture above you can see the excess fills on the glass, and me trimming below. Also below, I did a test run of the first color of stained glass.
After all the leading was done and I was satisfied, I started to fill in with color. Choosing the colors was pretty easy. Thinking of this as a crest-like window, I surrounded the grey nail with orange (actually, amber) and two shades of blue (sapphire and blue diamond) to represent my Gator bona fides. All using Gallery Glass ® Window Color™, though only because that’s what Michaels has. I’m no brand whore.
Here’s the start of the orange. I wanted this as more of a contrast color, so I kept it minimal:
Surprisingly, the filling in was one of the hardest parts, if only because I kinda had to guess at which colors to use where. As you can tell in the pic below, the colors are a lot more opaque when wet than dry. I would end up having to put at least two coats on, and I ended up doing only a few shapes at a time, so I could see how they looked dry and decide what color needed more, and where.
I actually have some experiences with real stained glass, though I can’t say it helped me with this. My father is a Presbyterian minister, and at the church I grew up in, there were these hundred-year-old stained glass windows. This is how I decided to mix the blues— I remembered as a kid noticing that solid colors were never really solid, but rather a mix of similar shades, even within the people depicted. Slowly, my fake window took shape:
Another thing I remembered vividly from the windows in my dad’s church, was that because of their age, dad oversaw a restoration. Glass, since it’s technically a liquid, moves down. We can’t see it, but after a good many years, stained glass has to be, well, adjusted. I had a similar problem that you can see in the picture below. I picked Columbia College’s colors as the trim, and the purple rectangle at the top right has dried— but not before most of the paint collected at the bottom of the section. Not a problem, in that nothing ran outside of the led lines, but it did necessitate another coat, and after awhile I became somewhat expert in putting the paint thickly at the top and letting it run down to fill. This is the finished product from the inside of the door (minus touchups):
And here’s what most people see when they walk by my outer door:
Not bad, and the comments people have had (and shared to my face) have been positive.
This has been a long post, so thanks for sticking with it if you did. Usually it takes people a while to realize that they’re looking at a nail in the window, then a few more moments (sometimes not at all) to realize why. I’d originally wanted to do a version of the 70s era Doctor Who logo, only with my last name instead of “Who,” but the image was too complicated to be done on such a small window. Oh well, maybe next time.
Today, Allan, I raise my fork to you. You take the cake.