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  • Barbra Davis

6 Good Reasons to Learn to Make Stained Glass

Dragonflies for a wedding party

If you are looking for a new hobby to fill those retirement hours, you might consider stained glass art. I have enjoyed making and selling glass suncatchers for over a decade and I still love to create in this medium. You might want to try making some glass pieces, too. Here are 6 good reasons.

1) It’s a very satisfying and rewarding hobby.

Not only do you have the satisfaction of mastering the techniques, but the finished product is it’s own reward. The beautiful glass, enhanced by light streaming through it, produces a "painting" unlike that of any other medium. Since stained glass pieces, properly cared for, can last a lifetime, it can be an enduring legacy for friends and family, too.

2) It’s a great stress-reliever.

We’ve had doctors, nurses, accountants and more take our stained glass class, and all agree that it’s great for stress relief. Since you need to pay attention to what you are doing, you often lose track of time and don’t realize how long you have been working. You forget all about the outside world and unleash your creativity. If you can find a place offering "open studio" time, where many glass artists work at the same time, you can also enjoy the company–another great stress-reliever.

3) Stained glass can add value to your home.

Windows, side panels, door inserts, lamps and cabinet doors created from stained glass are not just beautiful–they increase the value of any home. Just be sure you are willing to part with your work if you sell the house! (If not, make hanging panels instead of built-in so you can remove them before a showing.)

4) You can produce great gift items at a fraction of their cost.

With all of us looking for ways to cut our expenses, you can readily see how creating your own gifts would be a real positive. In fact, handmade items are making a real comeback as people realize how much work goes into the gift. You can also produce very personal and specialized items for friends and family.

5) Using your creativity is the best way to hang onto it.

It’s an amazing fact that the more you allow your creativity to flow, the better you get. Stained glass is partly craft (the mechanics of cutting, grinding, foiling and soldering) and partly art (choosing or creating a pattern, finding the best glass by color and texture for the project, and adapting the design to your purposes). Practice will greatly improve both aspects and enrich your life at the same time.

6) You might be able to produce a little extra income.

We warn our students: as soon as your friends and family see your work they will want you to make something for them, too. Of course, you need to determine if you will make gifts for them, or charge for your efforts. Our best advice: charge them for the supplies you use, and add the cost of one tool you would like to own (a good cutter, a special soldering iron, etc.). This is very fair to both you and the buyer, who will save a considerable amount over studio-purchased work.

After you get a few pieces under your belt, you might consider checking local stores to see if they would work a consignment (or outright purchase) deal with you. Selling online is another option to seriously consider, even if you just want to make enough to cover the cost of your hobby.

Let me know your thoughts if you are considering giving it a try.

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