Stained Glass Overlay, or SGO, is a contemporary approach to the ancient art form of Traditional Leadlight or Stained Glass. The same artistic skills of the traditional craftsman are used to create either dramatic, colourful effects for a bold statement, or the subtle, elegant grace of bevelled and textured glass, but in a more modern and practical way.
To best explain how SGO works, I will briefly explain how Traditional Leadlight is made. Individual pieces of coloured or textured glass are cut to shape to form a pattern and then locked together with lead came very much like a jigsaw puzzle. The diagram below showing the leading process of both Traditional Leadlight and Stained Glass Overlay will help explain this. The lead came is then soldered together at the junctions on both sides, the panel cemented and finally polished. For a more detailed explanation, please see our section “Traditional Leadlight”.
Young and old have long admired the beauty and elegance of Leadlight windows, but often found them to be expensive, because of the labour intensive method of construction, and relatively fragile should they suffer from impact or heavy weathering. In the early 1970’s in the U.S.A., research and testing was undertaken to find a more modern way of producing the same eye catching, breath taking results, in a stronger and more cost effective way. Stained Glass Overlay was born.
Quite simply, rather that cut multiple pieces of coloured/textured glass to size, one full panel of glass to the finished size is used. A lead profile strip is then bonded to one side of the glass to form the outline of the design. On the other side, a Mylar film providing a wide range of coloured and textured effects is then permanently bonded to the glass to give the appearance of separately cut glass sections. Once cured on, a second lead profile strip is bonded to cover all of the “seams” created by the colouring/texturing process. This means that we have not weakened the structure of the entire panel by cutting the glass, we have in fact strengthened it with the application of the Mylar. This finishes the panel and it is ready to install in to your new or existing joinery. Bevelled glass pieces can also be included in the design for that touch of class.
Stained Glass Overlay can be used in single and double glazed situations in both timber and aluminium joinery.
There are a number of benefits to fabricating a panel in this way. Firstly, as we are working with one complete panel of glass, we can use toughened and/or laminated glass to give the ultimate in strength and security. Toughened and/or laminated glass is designed for potential impact areas or larger panels where safety is paramount and required by law . Specifically where modern building codes of practice call for safety glass such as wet areas of the home, stairwells, or high wind zone locations. Stained Glass Overlay is completely air and water tight. Secondly, the fabrication process has fewer steps and this results in time savings which converts to cost savings. Thirdly, we are not restricted as to the shape of individual pieces of glass to be cut. We can include very delicate or intricate design elements without compromising structural strength. We can adhere to traditional style designs or be much more modern with our design style if preferred. This can take away some of the heaviness that some Traditional Leadlight designs require.
All adhesives and colours utilised in the lead and Mylar film are protected from the harmful effects of U.V.
By far, the most often heard statement when clients visit our studio or see our panels in situ is “you really wouldn’t know the difference, would you?”
Stained Glass Overlay is rapidly becoming the primary choice of customers looking for a modern, practical, strong and cost effective way to enhance their environment with decorative glass.
Click on the albums below for photos of various design styles.