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Stained Glass Windows

By Anna Greco

Glass was invented in the Middle East in the 1st century AD. Syria quickly became the glass capital of the world. The Syrian people created both the art of glass blowing and stained glass. For hundreds of years, glass made in Syria was sent all over the world. It was prized for its clarity and color. Today, Syria is still known for its beautiful glasswork.

To make colored glass for windows, powdered metals are added to melted glass, which is then formed into sheets, cut, and put together like a puzzle. The pieces of glass were traditionally held together with lead. 

The windows made from this glass are beautiful and functional. They are designed to allow a lot of light into the building as well as to withstand harsh weather and maintain the strength of the structure.

Syrian stained glass, like most stained glass in the Middle East, never shows images of people. Sometimes they show plants, but most often they are made up of geometric designs using triangles, squares, pentagons, hexagons, and octagons. What patterns can you design?

The Damascus Room Left Side Windows
Metropolitan Museum of Art

Instructions for Making a Tissue Paper Stained Glass Window
Materials Needed
  1. Print out the optional window design, if selected
  2. Cut out a piece of parchment paper slightly larger than your design
  3. Trace the design or create your own with a permanent black marker
  4. Flip the paper over so that the design is facing down
  5. Spread a thin layer of glue within the design on the parchment paper.
    This example uses Elmer’s Wood Glue but any glue that dries clear will work.
  6. Tear a piece of tissue paper roughly 1 in x 1 in and place it in your design.
  7. Pat gently
  8. Repeat until the design is filled
  9. Let the glue dry and cut out your window
  10. Display in a sunny window with the tissue paper side facing out.

By Anna Greco

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