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Thursday, October 1, 2015

(or Doug's Adventures in Miniature Stained Glass)

Disclaimer:  No Manor Doors were harmed during the disaster that follows

Train Wreck at Montparnasse in 1985

The Montparnasse derailment occurred at 4 pm on 22 October 1895 when the Granville–Paris Express overran the buffer stop at its Gare Montparnasse terminus.  The train was late and trying to make up for lost time, and entered the station too fast.  The driver crashed through the station wall and fell onto the street below - Place de Rennes, due to his air brake failing.  Unfortunately, a woman who was temporarily standing in for her husband as a newspaper seller was killed.  The driver was fined 50 francs. 

I am reasonably sure that the minor disaster our Steampunk Manor door experienced was not near as severe as the Montparnasse derailment.  No one was killed.  Rather, the manor door was rescued, and is awaiting a new and better experience next time.  We hope.  Desperately!

However, it was a truly traumatic experience, and what is worse?  It isn't over yet!  

The Starting Point

But I WILL get ahead of myself, won't I?  Slow down Doug, and tell the word at a time.

It began innocently.  As the creator of the Steampunk Manor, I have a very specific idea of what the Manor Door should look like.  It must be grand, interesting, and must mesh well with the already designed Front Windows.  A very simple request. Or so you would think. 

I tried...really I did.  I tried Glass Paint, I tried India Ink.  I tried them all over again.  I even thought about trying to find "the picture" of a stained glass window, and just print the crazy thing in 2D. Did it work?  

Well, you be the judge.

I DID manage to create the door of my dreams.  It was easy, if a bit time consuming. I cut out the wood shapes...varying each to provide interest on the two sides of the door (you get it, the INside and the OUTside, right?)  I dutifully sanded all sides, cut out a center third piece to act as the frame for the acetate window, and cut the acetate to fit.  All was well with the world.


We began an attempt to create a beautiful stained glass door.  I had an inspiration picture.  I loved it. I still do!

Forgive the Yellow Cast...My Dining Table is Yellow!

I even managed to capture the essence of the design that I wanted for the window, get it proportional, and add the Art Noveau detail of the side windows to the design. I was on my way to success. Right?

Oh! So Wrong.

Wrong, Wrong, Wrong, Wrong, Wrong!

I started the little adventure using Liquitex Colored Ink.  Beautiful Colors, JUST the colors I wanted to use. 

I carefully painted each pane of the window design, using the utmost care to get even and beautifully blended colors.  This is what it looked like once it dried.

UGH!!!  Shiver, Shiver....Eeeew!    It looked HORRIBLE.  Victor Horta IS now turning in his grave! Right?!!

OK...grow up Doug.  The door is PERFECT.  Exactly what I wanted.

The Window?  Not so Much! 

It "SORT OF" achieves the effect I wanted in the dark....

And it is "SORT OF" OK from a distance.   But not really.  

So back to the drawing board.

So we tried Glass Paint.  This didn't even rate a serious effort.  It actually dries slightly better than this...but it is NOT the look I wanted for the Manor. 

I did find out that it looks somewhat better when added to a different kind of acetate. This is a specialty acetate that is designed to accept ink and paints. 

The Glass Paint worked SLIGHTLY better on this.  It would be the RIGHT look for a small forest cottage or a bathtub sliding door.  Something to file away for the future, but definitely NOT suited for the front door of the manor!

I also tried the India Ink again, and Yes, it was much better on this acetate, but it still does not achieve the clarity I wanted for the front of the manor.

So far, we have failed.  But not to worry...we have another idea up our sleeve!   My next try will be to use a product actually designed for Photography...a diffuser and color correction product made of polyurethane plastic and a layer of deeply dyed polyester.   The colors are beautiful...and there are a myriad of colors.

More than enough to get the variety I had hoped to get with the window, and an opportunity to get a MUCH better color range than I have had with the other mediums.  The product is slightly expensive, but I did a test before buying.  I wanted to see if clear glue would be obvious behind this product. So far, so good. 

Sort of!

Hope you enjoyed my learning curve!  Under any circumstance, I must say that my fail was not QUITE as large as the Montparnesse accident...but it was close.  :0) 

I am hoping to show you a finished product soon that is as beautiful as the one I have in my dreams!

Until next time!

Doug S


  1. Hello Doug,
    It's great to see a new post! Please change the title to "Doug's adventures in miniature stained glass " This was not an epic fail, more an unpleasant learning curve. The design for the door and the door itself are gorgeous and look perfect with the chateau. I have only tried small tiny sections of stained glass and it is not an easy technique to master. You've learned what does not work, but watch out, because when you find the right product I KNOW the results will be out of this world!
    Big hug

    1. Hi Giac, I've changed the name of this post, just for you! :0) Now you can brag about making a difference in the world! It was all, of course, tongue in cheek, but hey, we can roll with the punches. :0)

      Thanks for your encouragement! I will get it all figured out..I have high hopes for the Rosco Gel. It seems to be a great product for what I want to do...we'll see!

  2. Hello Doug,
    Firstly, it's lovely to see a post from's been too long :)
    I agree with Giac, don't look on this episode as just found out different ways of what you don't like! I really hope this new product is all you hoped it would be, but in any case I have no doubt that you will persevere and end up with stained glass to die for. The shape of the manor door is just lovely and compliments the windows perfectly. But I wouldn't have doubted that for a minute!
    All the best

    1. Good Morning Vivian! It has been a while since I've posted. I am in the throes of preparing to sell our home, and that added to the family and health issues we've experienced in our extended family has usurped much of my energy and time to work on the miniature house. Life has it's ebb and flow...I'm in the middle of the flow right now!

      Next post WILL be a victorious one. :0) At least I hope so. I think that the gel will work for what I want...I've played with it enough that I think I can wrangle a passable stained glass door out of it.

      Thanks for your vote of confidence! I look forward to winning the battle.


  3. HI Doug, long time no see. It's good to see a new blog post of your hand :D!
    I completely agree with both other bloggers, Giac and Vivian, please, don't be too hard for yourself. You've just learned a lot about how to create faux stained glass in miniature and........I think me too ;O!! It is very interesting to see how you'll tackle this 'problem' in the near future. I really hope the Rosco Gel will be your answer to this 'problem' and a big help for the rest of your gorgeous windows and door windows designs.
    Perhaps it's possible to paint at an acetate sheet with Decorfin glass paint? Years ago I've once tried this technique for creating a very small piece of faux stained glass and it worked well, at least for me it did.
    I wish you a great weekend and good luck with finding out how to create your perfect stained glass door for The Manor :D!
    Kind regards, Ilona

    1. Good Morning Ilona! Boy, I must have come across like I totally hated myself or something...grin. I really don't!! I guess I need to quit using this sort of all will get an incorrect impression of me!

      I hope you did learn from my "failed experiments", and we will soon see whether my new plan will work. Thank You SO much for the suggestion about Decorfin glass paints. I looked them up, and they seem to address the issues I was having with both mediums so far. I will definitely look into this as one more part of the experiment!

      Stay tuned for more of the stained glass saga!

      Thanks Illona!


  4. I was about to suggest Inkjet printable acetate before I read the last bit of your post. The Cinegel medium looks really vibrant and I think, will look beautiful as stained glass. Like the other commenters have said, your attempts have not been a failure. You are brave enough to let your readers view the trials and tribulations of your design and they are experiments rather than failures. The door will be stunning when you finish, I am sure of it.
    Lovely to see a post from you btw. You know we worry....=0)

    1. Bravery? Or sheer idiocy? :0) I am torn between the two descriptions.

      I'm excited about the potential of the Cinigel...we shall again see how it all shapes up. Good thing I mostly enjoy the experimentation process, is all I can tell you! I have so much fun (and frustration, I would have to add!) with the discovery process. Perhaps that is why I post these 'experiments'.

      The piece of gel I used is a very vibrant color, but one of the things I love about the Cinigel is that it also comes in some very muted colors. I have some of those more muted colors on order, waiting impatiently for them to arrive so that I can conclude my NEXT experiment!

      Awww...Thanks Mom! :0) I know what you mean though...about worrying. You do wonder what happened to people don't you?. For now, my problem is too much to do and not enough energy to do it. No worrying required :0)

  5. Oh, the things we go through to get the effects we want!!! Looks like the door will be beautiful when you do get it figured out...and thank goodness you don't have to hire a crane to hoist a train up in the process. ;-) Hang in there!

    1. Likewise...I have been wondering how to make the ideal front door for my Victorian as well. Luckily I won't get there for a long time...

  6. Hey Juliette! And here I thought I KNEW what I wanted....going in, I was so sure of the design...the farther I've gotten in to this the messier it has become! BUT, you are right, things could be much worse! Cranes and thousands of dollars maybe even millions saved...I think I like this mini business!

    I really am just experimenting, and nothing is quite "like it should be". But I won't quit! I promised myself.

    Thanks for stopping by! :0)


  7. Hello, I just discovered your blog. Keep up the good work! Troy

    1. Hello Troy! Thanks for stopping by!

      Thanks too for the bit of encouragement. I am on a bit of a forced hiatus at the moment, so my posting has slowed way down, but I do plan to continue and keep working at it! It's too much fun to stop now!


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