In a previous post, I stenciled the handmade headboard in our guest bedroom. This post is focused on stenciling a large piece of tempered glass for the same room that I found at a used fixture store. I think it was actually made to cover the top of a table, and perfect for creating funky, stenciled artwork. Tempered glass is heat-treated to resist breaking. I it does break, it merely crackles up into small rounded pieces, versus sharp shards like untreated plate glass. It also has a nice rounded, polished edge. My piece is about ¼” thick, but you can find it in various thicknesses.
I have been creating reverse-painted glass art pieces for many years and the endless possibilities never fail to fascinate my imagination. Though I made this giant piece as artwork for a wall or to layer on this old dresser, you can choose to add felt pads and use it as a centerpiece or to cover a dresser or table top.
- Tempered glass, new or used. Mine cost $10 used. You can use the glass from a picture frame if you put it back in the frame, since it is likely to break and cut fingers.
- Royal Design Studio Tribal Batik Allover Wall Stencil
- Clear Shellac
- Rollers, paint brushes, palette like an old cookie sheet lined with tin foil, glass cleaner, paper towels, rags
PLAN YOUR DESIGN AND SET OUT WUNDASIZE
Clean the glass with isopropyl alcohol and let dry. Lay the stencil in position on what will be the back of the glass and tape into place. Cover the palette with tin foil and pour on a small amount of Wundasize. Run the roller through the size, and offload excess if needed. It takes just a very thin coat of this adhesive for the metal leaf to stick. Roll the size over and through the stencil onto the painted glass using a very light pressure. Leave the stencil in place.
ADD THE LEAF
In about 10 minutes, when the Wundasize has come to tack, you can begin laying squares of leaf onto the stencil. Plan how you want the silver and gold to appear, and start with one color. Then add the other color in order to stay within the flow of the design. Use your hand to smooth the sheets of leaf, but don’t burnish until all of the sheets are complete to keep the tiny pieces from one color from sticking in the area of the other color. I used a soft paintbrush to burnish all of the leaf after I finished the application. Remove the stencil.
Pour the Royal Stencil Creme paint colors onto the palette. Use a small roller to add the first color, skipping areas in order to leave open areas for the other colors. Add the next color, etc. Use any pattern you like. I did straight lines, but circles or curves work too. For some folks, painting projects like this are a breeze. For others, getting loose with color, especially when you can’t see exactly what you’re doing, is difficult. If you’ve never done this before, practice on a small piece of glass first, without the stenciled leaf. Then you can wash off the paint if you don’t like it, dry the glass, and start again.
Working on the back of glass is a reverse-thinking process. What you put on first blocks out what you add next, and you can’t change it. Remember to leave open areas to keep from filling up the entire surface with just one or two colors.
One trick is to use a white sheet or white paper on the table so you can flip the glass over and hold it over the white to see what you have done during the process. I held the glass up on the table and used the white closet doors to check out my progress. I noticed that I still had some transparent areas after I painted the first colors. At this point you can add white, black, or any color to fill in if you wish, or just leave it as it. I painted the entire back in the Renaissance Red.
I let the paint dry all afternoon. To seal the paint, I roll or brush on about three layers of shellac. It dries quickly so you can do several layers fast. Shellac is not water-based, and normally needs to be cleaned up with denatured alcohol (nasty stuff! )so use an old throwaway foam brush or roller to avoid cleanup. If you are creating art, this is plenty of protection. If you want to use it as a table runner, consider adding two layers of black enamel, which is oil-based adds even more protection. You can wipe by hand with soap and water to clean it.
You can also use your art as a serving tray, but only use rounded edge knives for cutting to avoid scratches.
Since we rarely have sleepover guests, I layered the art in front of the large, plain flea market mirror, then added an old gilded one. I really get crazy with the layers as you can see, but adding funky and found items like my painted ostrich egg, seashells and a bird nest is how I roll.
Are you loving this type of stenciled project idea? Here are some more great DIY posts to check out!
- Give Your Mirror an Antique Look with Stencils
- Painter’s Paradise Stenciled Wall Art
- Bling Up Your Bookshelves with Stenciled and Gilded Looks