Pattern books inspire stained glass design

How Pattern Books Inspire Your Stained Glass Projects

Pattern books are a valuable resource for stained glass artists looking to find inspiration for their projects. These books feature a wide variety of designs, ranging from intricate geometric patterns to whimsical nature scenes. By flipping through the pages of a pattern book, you will discover new ideas and concepts that you may not have considered before.

One benefit of using pattern books is that they provide a starting point for creativity. Artists can take an existing design from a book and put their own unique spin on it, adding personal touches and modifications to make it truly their own. This allows for endless possibilities and encourages artistic exploration.

Additionally, pattern books can help artists develop their technical skills in stained glass work. By following the instructions and diagrams provided in these books, beginners can learn different techniques such as cutting glass pieces, soldering them together, and applying decorative elements. With each project completed using patterns from these books, artists gain confidence in their abilities and become more proficient in the craft.

Notable artists who have been influenced by pattern books

Artists throughout history have found inspiration in pattern books for their stained glass projects. One notable artist who was influenced by pattern books is Louis Comfort Tiffany. Known for his intricate and colorful stained glass designs, Tiffany often used pattern books as a starting point for his creations. He would adapt and modify the patterns to suit his artistic vision, resulting in unique and breathtaking works of art.

Another artist who drew inspiration from pattern books is Frank Lloyd Wright. Although primarily known as an architect, Wright also dabbled in stained glass design. He utilized pattern books to explore different motifs and compositions that he could incorporate into his architectural projects. By incorporating stained glass elements into his buildings, Wright created a harmonious blend of light and structure.

In more recent times, contemporary artist Judith Schaechter has been greatly influenced by pattern books in her stained glass work. Schaechter’s pieces often feature intricate details and complex imagery that evoke emotions and tell stories. She uses pattern books as a foundation for her designs but adds her own personal touch to create visually stunning artworks that captivate viewers.

The Path to Paradise: Judith Schaechter’s Stained-Glass Art

These artists demonstrate how pattern books can serve as valuable resources for stained glass artists looking to expand their creative horizons. By using these references as a starting point, artists can experiment with different techniques, motifs, and compositions while still infusing their own unique style into their creations.

Exploring the Benefits of Using Pattern Books for Stained Glass Designs

Using pattern books for stained glass designs offers numerous benefits. Firstly, these books provide a wide range of options and design inspiration. With various themes, motifs, and styles available, artists can find the perfect patterns to suit their artistic vision. Whether they prefer traditional or contemporary designs, pattern books offer a wealth of ideas that can spark creativity and help artists explore new possibilities.

Another benefit of using pattern books is the convenience they offer. Instead of spending hours brainstorming and sketching out designs from scratch, artists can simply browse through a book and choose a pattern that catches their eye. This saves time and allows them to focus more on the actual creation process rather than getting stuck in the initial design phase.

Pattern books also serve as valuable learning resources for both beginner and experienced stained glass artists. They often include step-by-step instructions along with helpful tips and techniques for achieving certain effects or working with specific materials. By following these instructions, artists can enhance their skills and gain confidence.

A Look at the Different Types of Pattern Books Available for Stained Glass Artists


A perfect example of a pattern book inspired by current trends is this one by stained glass artist Kerian Massey (Amazon link)


When it comes to pattern books for stained glass, there are a wide variety of options available. One type of pattern book focuses on specific themes or subjects, such as flowers, animals, or geometric designs. These books can be great for artists who want to create pieces with a cohesive theme or who are looking for inspiration in a particular area. Another type of pattern book offers a collection of different styles and techniques, allowing exploration of various design possibilities.

For those who prefer more traditional patterns, there are also vintage pattern books that showcase classic stained glass designs from different eras. These books often include detailed instructions and historical information about the patterns, making them educational resources as well.

In addition to physical pattern books, there are also digital versions available online. These e-books provide convenience and accessibility for artists who prefer working with digital tools or who may not have access to physical stores that sell pattern books. Digital pattern books often come with features like zooming in on details and printing out individual pages as needed.


This pattern book, authored by stained glass designer Ed Sibbett, features more traditional designs (Amazon link) 


Finding the Perfect Pattern Book: Tips and Tricks for Making the Right Choice

When it comes to choosing the perfect pattern book for your stained glass projects, there are a few tips and tricks that can help you make the right choice. Firstly, consider your skill level and experience as a stained glass artist. If you’re just starting out, look for pattern books that offer beginner-friendly design inspiration with clear instructions. On the other hand, if you’re more experienced, opt for books that challenge your skills and push your creativity.

Another important factor to consider is the style of stained glass art you want to create. Whether it’s traditional or contemporary, there are pattern books available for every aesthetic preference. Take some time to browse through different books and see which styles resonate with you the most. Pay attention to details such as line work, color choices, and overall composition.

Lastly, don’t forget about practicality when choosing a pattern book. Consider factors like size and format – do you prefer large-scale patterns or smaller ones? Do you want a physical book or would an e-book be more convenient? Additionally, think about how versatile the patterns in the book are. Can they be easily modified or combined with other designs? This flexibility can greatly enhance your creative process.

How do you transfer a pattern onto stained glass?

Transferring patterns onto stained glass is a pivotal step in the stained glass creation process. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it:

Select and Prepare your Chosen Pattern

Begin with a clear and readable pattern. For beginners, start with a simpler design before progressing to more intricate patterns. Make two additional copies of your pattern to work from, so you don’t damage or alter the original. If you’re using a book or a one-off pattern, use a photocopier or scanner to reproduce it.

Add Notations to the Pattern

Number each piece shown on your reference pattern copy. This will assist you in organizing and ensuring each piece finds its correct position during assembly. Also, mark the direction of the texture or grain with arrows, if your glass has any. This will ensure consistency in your design, particularly when the texture or pattern on the glass needs to flow in a specific direction.

Cut with Pattern Shears

The easiest way to separate your pattern pieces and make sure there’s enough room for your lead or copper foil is to use pattern shears. These special scissors have three blades – one on the top and two side by side at the bottom with a gap in between that matches the space between your glass pieces. Pattern shears are used only on the pattern lines separating two distinct individual pieces.

Using Pattern Scissors to Cut Stained Glass Patterns

When using lead shears, a 5/64″ strip of paper is removed, while foil shears remove 1/32″. Simply follow the lines of your pattern and cut out the pieces. Use regular scissors for cutting the outer edges of your pattern.

Clean and Transfer

Ensure the glass you’re using is clean and free from any dust or oil. This helps the pattern adhere better during the tracing process. Use either of these two common methods for transferring a pattern to glass: carbon paper or permanent marker.

Place a sheet of carbon paper (graphite paper) between the glass and the pattern piece. Then, use a stylus or ballpoint pen to trace over the pattern, transferring the design onto the cleaned glass.

Alternatively, directly trace the pattern pieces onto the glass using a fine-tipped permanent marker (such as a Sharpie). Using a glue stick helps to keep the cutout in place on the glass while tracing. The lines can be wiped away later with acetone or a similar solvent after cutting and grinding.

Number and Mark the Pieces

Copy all numbers and markings onto each piece of glass individually (from your reference pattern) after tracing them out. As you work with each small piece you will know immediately how they fit back into the overall design.

For a refresher on cutting glass including tips for success, read my post titled

“Stained glass scoring and breaking” (link to post)

Cut and grind the Glass

Once the pattern and notations are transferred, use a glass cutter to carefully cut the glass along the pattern lines. After cutting, use a grinder to smooth out the edges and make minor adjustments so each piece fits perfectly.

Remember, the clarity and accuracy of your transferred pattern play a pivotal role in the final appearance of your stained glass artwork. Ensuring precision in this step will simplify subsequent stages in the stained glass creation process.


Pattern books are an invaluable tool for stained glass artists that inspire design and offer guidance. They provide design options while also fostering creativity and skill development. Incorporating pattern books into your creative process not only provides endless design options but also saves time by offering ready-made patterns to choose from. Additionally, these resources act as valuable educational tools that allow you to learn new techniques while honing your existing skills.  So, have a look around. I’m sure you’ll be able to find a pattern book that not only inspires but also suits your skill level and artistic preferences. Happy hunting!


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