Stained Glass Paints and Silver Stains

The glass paints and silver stains you need

Glass paints e.g. Reusche Tracing Black (DE401) don’t work in the same way as silver stain:

  1. Glass paints use a different firing schedule
  2. Glass paints fuse to the surface of the glass, silver stains “sink in” and change the very structure of the glass

You need a separate set of brushes for paint and stain.

This is because – even with the recipe and techniques that we propose for silver stain – stain is very sensitive to contamination.

Glass paint

Glass paint mainly comes in dark colours e.g. black, brown and red.

You use it to trace and shade.

Mixed with a medium like water or oil, it can be applied so thickly as to completely block transmitted light or so thinly as to be barely noticeable. In this respect (unlike silver stain and enamels), glass paint does not change the native colour of the glass.

At Williams & Byrne, we mainly use glass paints made by Reusche. (“Mainly” but not always because, when we’re doing restoration and conservation, we must use whoever’s glass paint comes the closest.)

Why do we use Reusche’s glass paint? – The reason is, it allows itself to be mixed into a lump like this:

Glass paint from Reusche

Reusche’s glass paint (unlike other brands) mixes to a perfect lump that retains its shape

Why do we always make a lump of paint? – The reason is, we can just cut off a slice or two as we need it, then work that paint to the consistency and strength we need. This is an efficient way of working.

What’s the problem with other brands? – When you try to mix a lump with other brands, many of them don’t hold their water or oil: they just run and spill all over the palette. This means they’re uncontrollable for the kind of painting we want to do.

To paint with a lump, it follows you need more than a teaspoonful to start with.

This confuses some people because many books advise you to mix up just a teaspoonful of paint.

And many stockists sell tiny quantities of paint.

What can we say? Well, we’re confident most books would advise otherwise if their authors simply tried the approach we recommend, namely, painting with a lump of paint (not a teaspoonful).

Secondly, most stockists don’t paint for a living, so their experience doesn’t count.

Fortunately, one stockist does paint for a living. PELI Glass. Which is why they can supply you with sensible quantities of Reusche glass paint.

The classic paint collection from PELI Glass

The “Classic Glass Paints” collection – excellent paints, sensible quantities

As well as 150 g. of Reusche’s tracing black, you also get 50 g. each of bistre brown, violet of iron and red for flesh. Plus a bottle of liquid gum Arabic (which is much, much easier to use than the powdered form that other stockists push).

PELI Glass can send you what you want, pretty much wherever you are in the world.

In fairness, if you’re in or near the US, also check out Reusche. Reusche themselves sell bulk quantities (225 g. / 8 ounces minimum line order) and they have US suppliers who sell smaller quantities.

Here’s the PELI Glass catalogue; and here’s Reusche’s (for suppliers, see page 14).

Using glass paint and water

Water-based glass painting

Stained glass painting, the classical foundations

For recipes, techniques and projects using glass paint and water, see Part 1 of Glass Painting Techniques & Secrets from an English Stained Glass Studio:

“How you can shade, trace, flood and highlight in a single firing and why you absolutely need a LUMP of glass paint (not a teaspoonful) to do this”

Know more, click here:

Click here to learn more about Part 1

Using glass paint and oil

Advanced glass painting with oil

For recipes, techniques and projects using glass paint and oil, see Part 2 of Glass Painting Techniques & Secrets from an English Stained Glass Studio:

“How you can use oil to shade effortlessly and leisurely and still do ALL your stained glass painting (front and back) in just one firing”

Know more, click here:

Click here to learn more about Part 2

Silver stain

Just as you’ve had a top tip for using glass paints – paint with a lump (not a teaspoonful) – so we’ll give you a valuable piece of information about silver stain.

Namely, don’t waste your time mixing it with water or vinegar. (For a useful post, see here.)

Use oil instead.

And a gentle reminder: use separate brushes for silver stain. This is because, even with oil, silver stain is sensitive. And because you fire stain after you’ve finished all your tracing and shading, you definitely don’t want your stain firing to ruin all your hard work …

Again, we use Reusche’s silver stains. Again, you might want to check Reusche’s prices. But, since stain is expensive, you might not want to buy 225 g. / 8 ounces directly from them …

Silver stains from PELI Glass come in convenient 50 g. / 1.75 ounce containers:

Silver stains from PELI Glass

Silver stains from PELI Glass come in practical sizes

Here’s the PELI Glass catalogue; and here’s Reusche’s (for suppliers, see page 14).

Wherever you get your stain, just remember to keep your brushes separate. Also to use oil, not water or vinegar.

Using silver stain and oil

Glass painting techniques and secrets - Part 3

Recipes and full instructions and video demonstrations for silver staining with oil in Part 3 of Glass Painting Techniques & Secrets from an English Stained Glass Studio:

“Silver stain – How you can trace, blend, shade and flood from a reliable batch that keeps for months”

Find out more right here:
Click here to learn more about Part 2