DIY “Leaded” Glass

I love leaded glass, especially in exterior transom windows of old storefronts. The transom above our front door is a leaded glass window (albeit new) and I love it. I WISH our house had some original leaded glass, but alas all we have are energy efficient double pane windows. I know, I am the only person on earth who complains about how energy efficient her house is…

The Storefront Window

We looked into getting some real leaded glass for the storefront window transoms, but it was darn near impossible, and pretty much a huge waste of money as our current windows are perfectly fine. The problem is however, that once I get an idea into my head I am not easily dissuaded. So I started researching for a solution and came across this:

Pebeo Vitrail lead adhesive strips. It’s used for faking your own stained glass. They have a line of glass paints, and you literally make your design out of this tape, then fill it in with the glass paint.

I didn’t want the stained glass look, but the lead looked like a pretty cool idea. So I popped into every art store I came across, and on my third try I managed to find a package. It was $24 for 33 feet. I thought that would be plenty for my project and headed home.

I then did some research for leaded glass patterns.

We narrowed it down to either a Diamond pattern, or  a Regent pattern. I drew both out to the size of our transom windows, and once drawn out, we liked the Regent the best.

I headed outside and thoroughly cleaned the windows and then taped my drawn out pattern on the inside of the window. I then set to re-create the pattern on the outside of the window. It was a bit tricky due to the space between the front pane of glass and the back one where the pattern was. If I change the angle I was looking at the window it changed the pattern. I tried hard to keep it straight and true but alas its a bit crooked. Shh don’t tell.

The adhesive leaded glass was very easy to cut, but the backing wasn’t that sticky. You really need to burnish it in place with the provided application tool to make sure it stays where its supposed to. Once I got into the swing of things my lines became straighter and my cuts more precise. Just as I was fining the first of two windows I noticed that I was dangerously low on adhesive lead! Eeep. Apparently 33 feet doesn’t go that far when you have an intricate pattern. So I was unable to finish both windows, so for now I have one leaded glass transom window. What do you think?

“Leaded” Glass Window (view from outside)
“Leaded” Glass Window (view from inside)

Author: Kristen

Kristen & her husband El Granto & their Vizsla Odin live in a converted Storefront in downtown Toronto.

14 thoughts on “DIY “Leaded” Glass”

  1. Wow, I’m so impressed. Great info and site, Kristen. I’ve spent so much time looking for the best, most affordable place to buy the self-adhesive lead came – suggestions? Thanks!

  2. It looks really good! I was just a little unclear on whether there is actual panes of adhesive leaded “glass” to cut and paste on top of your window or if its just the tape. You mentioned the tape and the paint but did I miss something? Is there a type of adhesive glass that you add to your own windows? Thanks!

  3. I think u did great. I looks really authentic. How do u think this product would work on mirrors? My sister has a large open floor plan home with tons of wall space. She would love to do the mirrors that mimic long skinny leaded glass, she texted me this a.m. She found some for $400.00 OUCH- that was for four- she really needs five to fill her space.
    Menards has cool shaped cathedral like door mirrors I think we could work with for like $20.00 each. Been searching the web and this is the only thing I have found!!!!! Thanks for all the details!
    I would really appreciate your opinion .

    Tanks & sorry 4 long email!

    1. Hi Brenda,

      I think it would probably work perfect for a mirror! The only thing that may happen is being able to see a bit of the back of the tape in the reflection of the mirror. Why not get some and try it on a small piece of dollar store mirror first?

  4. How have the windows held up after rain? I’ve heard that when rain hits the leaded metal it can harm the window (make it milky).


      1. hi I noticed you said rafter a year they still look great! Now it’s been a couple more years wondering if they are still looking as good and if I dare do the same!

      2. Your windows look great! I’m about to start a big window painting project in India and am torn between using the puff-paint like outliner vs. the leading you used. Either way the leading would be inside, but four a few months out out of the year (now…) it gets unbelievably humid here with the monsoon. While I’m initially painting the windows before they’re installed, once in they’ll be permanent- and very high. It would be very difficult to do again.

        How have your windows held up outside? Has any leading peeled off, or it’s still looking good?

        Any help would be so appreciated!


        1. It has held up perfectly! No peeling or movement whatsoever. That window gets a ton of sun and rain, and we get fairly humid in the summer. I would recommend it!

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