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Books that Illuminate: Essential Reads on Stained Glass

Table of Contents

Books on All Aspects of Stained Glass and Stained Glass Windows


Stained glass is a timeless artistic expression that combines light and color to create captivating imagery, whether it be storytelling, abstract designs, or enhancing the beauty of a room. For those who appreciate this delicate craft, exploring the literature surrounding it can offer valuable knowledge about its origins, methods, and progression. As someone who is passionate and knowledgeable about stained glass, I am excited to share some highly regarded books that cover various aspects of this art form and its stunning windows. Note that most of these books have an Amazon link provided for more information and pricing. Let’s get started!


History and Lore


“Stained Glass: Masterpieces of the Modern Era” by Xavier Barral i Altet


Delve into the history of stained glass from the 19th century to modern times. This book showcases stunning photographs of stained glass artworks from around the world, offering readers a comprehensive overview of contemporary techniques and artists.

stained glass

“Louis Comfort Tiffany: Masterworks” by Camilla Bédoyère   (Amazon link)


This luxurious volume presents a stunning new edition featuring a silver-printed cover. Tiffany possessed remarkable expertise in various forms of art, such as jewellery design, ceramics, enamels, and metalwork. However, he gained the most recognition for his exquisite stained-glass designs. Utilizing opalescent glass in various hues and textures, he crafted an impressive collection of Art Nouveau pieces that resembled precious jewels. Many of these remarkable works are showcased within the pages of this magnificent publication.


The Basics for Beginners


“Stained Glass Basics: Techniques * Tools * Projects” by Chris Rich and Martha Mitchell and Rachel Ward  (Amazon link)


“Presents the fundamental techniques of working with stained glass….Excellent color photographs and diagrams show materials and tools, as well as the cutting, assembling, and soldering of glass items… includes hanging glass panels, boxes, and lamps…. All have pattern diagrams and technical tips for construction….This is a good book for use with classes of beginning glass crafters.”—Library Journal.


“Stained Glass Making Basics: All the Skills and Tools You Need to Get Started” by Lynn Haunstein  (Amazon link)


This comprehensive guide provides beginners with all the necessary information and guidance to successfully create beautiful stained glass projects. The projects are designed in a progressive manner, starting from the easiest to the more challenging, which helps in developing proficiency in handling tools and mastering necessary skills.


Sophie D


“Stained Glass: A Maker’s Guide to Creating, Installing and Repairing Leaded Glass” by Sophie D’Souza  (Amazon link)


This informative book offers a comprehensive guide to the art of creating stained glass. Focusing primarily on the use of leaded glass, it covers various types of glass, techniques for cutting and designing, as well as the step-by-step process of constructing your own glass panel. It also delves into the subjects of glass installation, restoration, repairing, and pricing for commissioned work. Skillfully written by a renowned craftsman, this book serves as both a practical instruction manual and a source of inspiration for anyone interested in exploring the uplifting realm of stained glass.


Advanced Techniques


The Complete Guide to Glass Painting: Over 80 Techniques with 25 Original Projects and 400 Motifs by Alan Gear and  Barry Freestone  (Amazon link)


“Dazzling full-color photographs instruct and inspire… you will learn every step of this beautiful craft covering everything from basic outlining to special paint effects, from cutting glass to stenciling and stamping color….in addition to a comprehensive guide to the different paints…. A motif library of of 400 designs…offers unlimited potential.”—Glass Craftsman.


A great post I wrote on how to use paint to add details to stained glass art is here (link to post)


DIY Projects for Enthusiasts


“40 Great Stained Glass Projects” by Michael Johnston  (Amazon link)


Instructions on creating angels, candle holders, suncatchers, mirrors, picture frames, garden ornaments, and various other stunning projects, ranging from easy to more intricate. Complete patterns for all 40 projects (plus 2 additional patterns) in their actual size. Comprehensive guidelines for each project accompanied by many detailed, step-by-step photographs. Incorporates valuable advice from a skilled stained glass artisan regarding soldering, working with lead and foil, and constructing three-dimensional projects.


“Kicking Glass: A Creative Guide to Stained Glass Craft” by Neile Cooper   (Amazon link)



Author and skilled artist Neile Cooper provides a detailed step-by-step guide to help both beginners and advanced crafters master stained glass art. This creative manual features a wide range of projects, from simple designs like suncatchers and boho lamps to more intricate creations such as 3D structures and delicate glass butterflies. The author’s expertise is conveyed through clear tutorials featuring photographs, instructional drawings, and an impressive collection of 16 captivating patterns.


Designs and Patterns


“The Stained Glass Garden: Projects & Patterns” by George W. Shannon and Pat Torlen  (Amazon link)


Cultivate a glass garden! George W. Shannon and Pat Torlen, expert educators and artisans behind the renowned On The Edge Glass Studio, present a captivating selection of patterns for stained glass flowers, butterflies, birds, birdfeeders, planters, lanterns, and mobiles. Through a multitude of detailed photographs, they provide comprehensive instructions on the fundamental aspects of both copper foil and lead came construction, covering everything from necessary materials and tools to step-by-step techniques.


“Masterworks of Art Nouveau Stained Glass” by Arnold Lyongrun and M. J. Gradl   (Amazon link)


Art Nouveau emerged as the primary art style in both Europe and America during the turn of the 20th century. One of the most charming manifestations of this style can be observed in the exquisitely colored stained glass designs of that era. These designs feature soft and muted hues that beautifully complement intricate depictions of birds, animals, geometric patterns, foliage, and flowers. This particular publication brings together two scarce and significant portfolios from the early 20th century, showcasing almost 200 stained glass designs in vibrant full-color.


“Tiffany Windows Stained Glass Pattern Book” by Connie Clough Eaton  (Amazon link)


The art studios of Louis Comfort Tiffany were known for creating a wide range of stained glass objects during the early 1900s. However, their true expertise lay in crafting exquisite windows. Thanks to this meticulously crafted pattern book, you now have the opportunity to recreate several of these stunning stained glass designs. The talented designer, Connie Clough Eaton, has adapted numerous authentic Tiffany window patterns, capturing the elegance and essence of the original pieces through 60 detailed black-and-white line illustrations. This collection offers a selection of royalty-free patterns for landscape and memorial windows, panels, transoms, skylights, glass screens, and other artistic mediums.


The Artistic Perspective


Inside the world


“Reflections on Glass: 20th Century Stained Glass in American Art and Architecture” by Virginia Chieffo Raguin


Raguin provides a deep dive into the artistic and architectural wonders of stained glass. From detailing the inspirations of various artists to exploring the integration of stained glass in modern architectural designs, this book captures the essence of stained glass as an art form.


For Collectors


“Antique Stained Glass for the Home” by Molly Higgins  (Amazon link)


This second edition showcases a wide variety of stunning windows including etched, beveled, painted, and mosaic designs. Gain knowledge about the impact of renowned figures in the field of decorative windows. The catalog includes original content, a comprehensive analysis of glass and leading types, prices for each window, and additional information that will assist you in evaluating decorative windows available in the market.


“Old Stained Glass for the Home: A Guide for Collectors and Designers” by Douglas Congdon-Martin  (Amazon link)


There are more than 350 instances of architectural stained glass featured in this collection, which encompasses various countries and stretches across several years. The designs vary from complex Victorian aesthetics to the geometric patterns of the Prairie School. This updated edition not only showcases leaded windows but also includes etched glass and beveled constructions. Every artwork is accompanied by a colorful illustration, along with details regarding its dimensions and current market worth. It is noteworthy that stained glass, both contemporary and vintage, is experiencing a resurgence in popularity and is increasingly making its presence felt in domestic settings.


The Magic Beyond the Windows


While stained glass is often associated with windows, its influence doesn’t stop there. It has adorned lamps, added beauty to household objects, and even emerged as independent art pieces. By diving into these books, you don’t just explore the art of crafting stained glass; you gain a window into its soul.




Whether you’re a novice wanting to experiment with a new hobby or an artist aiming to specialize in stained glass, the world of literature has something to offer. These books provide a rich blend of history, technique, design, and inspiration, ensuring that readers receive a well-rounded understanding of stained glass. Illuminate your world by embracing the multifaceted beauty of stained glass, one page at a time.


Note: Dive deeper into the world of stained glass by exploring more on my blog,