Saturday, July 21, 2012

Kitchen cabinet panel replacements - Pattern making

My new stained glass commission is for the replacement of three dated cabinet panels for a kitchen that's about to be renovated.  Here they are: (Click on any photo to enlarge).

The first step after speaking with my customer was to arrive at a design which would complement her new kitchen.  During a site visit to view the space, I presented several drawings for her review.  There were three in particular that got a thumbs up.  I then prepared full color computer renditions of the designs, using the color palette we discussed.

Much of the fun of doing custom windows is the collaboration that takes place .. My customer actually came up with her own designs!  She showed them to me on our second visit when we took measurements and made templates of each window.  I then went back to the drawing board (actually, back to my software) and prepared new renditions of the windows, both of which were exactly what she had in mind.  Here they are:

The windows will be constructed using three types of glass: Clear Glue Chip (as seen on the border of the larger windows), pale amber opalescent (as seen in the center of the larger windows and the majority of the smaller window), and medium amber hammered Cathedral glass (used for the diamond shapes).

The glass arrived this week, and I've completed making the patterns.  Here's how that's done .. After preparing the approved designs in my software, I custom size it to within 1/16th of an inch, then print an actual size copy which is used to produce the glass cutting pattern.

Items needed to create the pattern are:  Recycled manila folders, carbon paper, push pins, a Homasote work surface, a good ruler and a ball point pen.  (Homasote is recycled and made in the U.S.A. It is sound proofing board used in the building industry.  It is readily available, and can be cut to size, from any Home Depot or Loew's).

Shown below is the "pattern sandwich" consisting of the actual size design, carbon paper, and the manila folders which have been taped together, edge to edge, a bit larger than the design.  Notice that I randomly add push pins into the Homasote to assure that nothing shifts while I'm tracing the pattern.  I then number each piece and note the color of glass to be used. 

After the design is traced onto the manila folder patterns, they are carefully cut out using special "foil scissors" as shown below.  These double-bladed scissors cut a narrow strip between each piece which becomes very important later in the process when the copper foil is added to the edges of each piece of glass.  (More on this later). After all the pieces have been cut for each pattern, I organize them, by type of glass, into recycled envelopes.  Since the template for each of the larger windows was the same size, I'll be cutting one set of patterns but using it twice.

Shown below is the glass for this project with the gardening gloves I use for handling the glass .. safety first.

And here is my studio space (Click on it to enlarge).  I change the configuration of the space based on the project at hand.  With two stained glass commissions in the works now, I have 3 tables set up.  Behind one of the doors is my craft room where I cut all the glass.  Behind another door is the sink and my electric glass cutter, which I use when needed.  Having tile floors is a big plus!  Shards of glass must be swept up frequently.

Next on the blog will be the glass cutting for the windows.  Stay tuned ...

Visit my website to see more of my work .. Thanks!


  1. Nice cabinet panels and workspace. Have fun making these windows.