Sunlight moves through a home with the changes of the day.
And it appears a steady stream of homeowners are using stained and beveled glass to add color to the incoming light.
To create a stained glass overlay, a sketch is blown up to become a larger outline pattern behind the glass piece. With the pattern as a guide, the colorful mylar is attached by adhesives to the glass and leading is added along the seams. Projects require patience, as well as an eye for color and design.
Stacy Hill, who has the Stained Glass Overlay of Heartland Minnesota franchise in the lakes area, said the work in creating custom stained glass overlay has been steady. Hill said a strong economy helps because the look is not a home necessity, but it can alter a room without breaking the bank.
Tucked into the woods in conjunction with the Signspot, just north of Brainerd, Hill said the work itself requires patience.
"It's real slow and painstaking," Hill said.
Stained glass overlay colors and patterns can be added to any type of glass, including shower doors. It can be used for kitchen ceiling panels and sliding glass doors, which gain from a protection benefit as the glass is held together by the mylar in the event of a shattered window.
In traditional stained glass, which is also available from artisans in the lakes area, each different color separated by lead is a separate cut glass piece. In stained glass overlay, the color comes from mylar film applied to the glass surface with adhesives. Lead goes over the seams on both sides to create a traditional look. Because of the way it is applied, the overlay can be used on any type of glass from tempered to Plexiglas. It can be used on shower doors, ceiling panels and entryways.
Lynn Davis, Brainerd, picked a beveled glass pattern with a lot of leading for her home's entry.
"I love it," Davis said, noting the beveled glass also acts as a privacy screen in the evenings when the house is lit inside and the glass lets daylight through. "I didn't want color but I needed something."
Ceiling panels and long, narrow windows or doors are candidates for stained glass overlay applications.
The beveled glass proved to be a good alternative.
"As far as design goes, color -- the sky is the limit," Hill said. Textures can also be added with the glass taking on a rippled effect as though a gust of wind was actually changing the glass surface like a breeze on a pond.
Lead can be silver gray or brass, which is often used to match home hardware, such as kitchen cupboard door pulls.
Stained Glass Overlay can: -- Multiply the strength of glass because the lead strips and color film are applied to a solid piece of glass. -- Be applied to Plexiglas, such as ceiling panels. -- Be applied to shower doors. -- Be used for odd window shapes, such as octagons that are difficult to cover. -- Be used for shade protection or privacy for entryways and bathrooms. -- Be used as a safety measure for sliding glass doors. -- Be applied to mirrors. -- Provide added insulation when using an extra piece of glass for overlay and installing in front of existing glass.
Hill said many individuals are choosing wildlife as part of the overlay scene. Loons and chickadees are popular models. Blue herons and cattails are likely subjects for the long, thin accent windows, or side lights, on either side of entry doors. Floral patterns have faded somewhat in the popular choices. And beveled glass, which is the actual bevels used by a traditional artist, is gaining.
"A lot of people have been opting for that," Hill said. "It's a little more timeless. A little more formal."
When Hill works, she creates a color rendering of an idea. Customers may have a visual in mind or may look through books for examples of other overlays. Colors often depend on the home style and swatches from carpeting, wallpaper or upholstery. Once the main colors are picked, Hill improvises with accent colors, such as a variety of greens in order to keep a piece more vibrant.
It is a skill she learned in college and on the job with her parents, who used to own the Iron Owl, and through a training session in California. The work requires an eye for design and color along with the ability to stand in front of fluorescent lighting as images move from a sketch to an oversized pattern that provides a blueprint behind the glass for the overlay work. Individual pieces of colorful mylar are attached to the glass and the lead added.
Projects may take weeks to complete. Large projects included Michael's on 10 in St. Cloud and a Burger King in Grand Forks, N.D. Hill was awarded a 1992 international design contest win for best commercial project in the Stained Glass Overlay company.
About 90 percent of the followup work with customers is done through the mail or over the phone lines. Hill said the stained glass is more of a comfort item and benefits from a strong economy as homeowners have the money to put in the extras as homes are remodeled or constructed.
Hill said most work is priced by the square foot and by the complexity of the design from simple to average or intricate. How much of the window is left without color also plays into the calculations. Costs can be $50 to $65 per square foot for overlay. Sand blasted etchings can be $30 per square foot for a frosted glass look.
But homeowners do not have to include a major project to change a room's look with a custom design. Hill said such jobs can run $20 to $150 for a small cupboard door.
"It can change the whole look of the kitchen," Hill said. Other options include small patterns in the corners of bathroom mirrors. "... It's fun to do because no two pieces are alike."
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