3 Tips For Better Tracing


In today’s video, 3 tips for better tracing.


Before you start though, 2 quick points.

The paint

In the video, it’s not our usual mix of 3 parts tracing black with 1 part tracing brown.

This time it’s a gorgeous paint called Umber Sepia.

Umber Sepia is lighter than our usual paint. The texture’s also different: stickier perhaps.

We use it here because of the techniques which follow afterwards: a lighter tracing line than usual was what we wanted.

Those strange dark lines

The strange dark lines you see across the neck don’t figure in this video, so I’ll explain them:

See those dark lines? Know what they mean?

See those dark lines? Know what they mean?

This project’s from a set of 16 skylights we made a while back. Each skylight about 3 feet by 3.

The client wanted us to make them seem ancient.

  1. So the first thing we did was, we distressed the tack-fired paint with steel wool.
  2. And the second thing we did was, we smashed the glass and then repaired it. Most times we did this with a hammer. But, when it came to faces like this one here, we did it with a diamond cutter.

Those 3 lines you see are where we plan to cut, then fix it back with copper foil. It hurt to cut the face like this but it didn’t hurt as much as when we had to use a hammer on the other pieces.

The video

If you’ve got a question, write it in the Comments box below.

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18 thoughts on “3 Tips For Better Tracing

  1. Very zen, Stephen. Would that we do everything with intention … LOL! Buddhist even have an “antidote” to breaking glass: don’t get attached, nothing is permanent. 😉

  2. So, so, so interesting. So easy, for you, to draw so well. What kind of brushes are you using? That is the first thing I noticed watching you video. I would love to try this brush. And thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and experience. Thanks a million times.

  3. Great video, great design too! I would never have thought about hitting my glass with a hammer, but I like your “out of the box” thinking :). Your 3 tips are very useful, as always, even when you practised 3 days at your studio, like I did, there’s nothing like a reminder now and then to keep you focused on what you are doing on your palette. So thanks a lot for the reminder!

  4. That’s a brave thing to take a hammer to your beautiful work and hope it requires minimal repair. But knowing you guys l guess it was a great success. Thanks again for all your inspiration. Eileen

  5. Another great video, thank you Stephen and David. Please could you post a picture of the final result? All this “hammering” talk has piqued my interest no end!

    All the very best to you both.

  6. I am impressed as always. I found your website several weeks ago when I was getting back into stained glass work after a long break. I’d never attempted painting before, wanted to go the traditional route, and had no clue how to go about that. I am so pleased to have found your treasure trove of good advice and techniques!

    I hope you don’t mind, I featured your website and studio on my new blog, (in true tongue-in-cheek fashion), along with photos of my bathroom window renovation project, which I don’t think I could have pulled off without the advice I found here.

    Thanks so much,

    • Sorry: I don’t know the answer to this. Reusche glass paint works wonderfully on glass because of the physical properties of both the medium and the material. Whether the same paint will bond with subway tiles is something you’ll have to test in order to establish.