How To Hang Stained Glass Windows

by Rachel Laurendeau on April 2, 2012

Whether you have an historic home or live in a new development, stained glass windows can add beauty and architectural interest to your home. There are many options when sourcing stained glass windows: there are small pieces that can be hung as insets in your larger window, you can commission a panel and choose a pattern and color that you love and that fit will perfectly into your existing window frame or, you can source out vintage pieces that match the era and style of your home.

When I moved into my newly constructed home, I knew that I wanted it to feel lived in, loved and cozy and this meant adding many personal touches to the house. Many of the older homes in our neighborhood have leaded windows with simple patterns that I admire. So began the quest for the perfect stained glass window. Since I’m trying to add details to give my home more character, I’ve decided to scour the local antique shops and markets for the perfect old window that will hang above my front door in the transom. The transom is a new window so the shape is modern and finding the perfect vintage piece is proving more of a challenge than I anticipated. I will continue my hunt for the perfect piece of vintage glass art for my home but if I don’t find it soon, I will be contacting a local stained glass artist to commission a piece that will fit directly into my existing window.

But the question remains, once I find that perfect piece, how will I hang it without damaging my new windows? I’ve done a lot of research and here is what I’ve found.

Installing Vintage Pieces
Typically, vintage or antique windows that have been removed from older homes are still in their wooden frames. You can carefully drill a pilot hole at each end of the top frame, inset by a few inches, then screw in eyehooks. You can then attach strong stout wire, or better yet, small chains to each hook. There should be another set of hooks well anchored into your ceiling or window casing to which you attach the other end of each chain. If you have vinyl windows, you may want to check with your window replacement expert as to whether or not screwing into the vinyl casing would be all right or if you should consider anchoring the hooks into the wall above the casing. Since stained glass windows are heavy, it is important to anchor the hooks into wall studs if at all possible.

Installing Commissioned Stained Glass Panels
If you have recently had your windows upgraded with replacement windows, and decide to commission your dream stained glass piece, it is best to install the panel on the inside of the house on top of the existing glass pane. The artist will first take exact measurements of your window and created the panel so that there is approximately and eighth of an inch between the leaded glass edge and the edge of your window sash. Once you have cleaned the windows perfectly, inside and out, use brad nails to pinch the panel against your window. Once the panel is in place, caulk the gap between the panel and the window sash; wait until the caulk has cured and remove the brad nails.

Hanging handcrafted stained glass windows in your home will add a touch of historical charm as well as create beautiful light and color. Now that you know how to hang them, what’s stopping you from finding the perfect work of art to add to your windows?

If you like this blog post, you may also be interested in reading What Impression Is Your Door Leaving.

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