How To Fix a Broken Piece in a Stained-Glass Window

Windows with stained glass have been popularly used for centuries to decorate public and private dwellings. What is interesting with stained glass windows is they tell stories or they signify a story board about the place, important events or people. In churches, they display images of religious connotations.

Stained glass windows last for years but like any other material, the solders are bound to lose their elasticity and eventually break. When this happens, the glass it holds is broken. Sometimes because of some outside force, pieces of the stained glass get broken. If this happens, fix that broken piece by following these steps:

  • Measure the broken piece. If the broken piece is still intact in the window, measure the area of the glass. If the broken piece isn’t intact anymore, measure the hole where the broken piece was located. Trace the area on a piece of butcher paper (be sure to write down the length of each side).
  • Clean the area around the broken area. Remove the broken piece of glass by chipping the glazed compound holding it. Don’t remove the glass by breaking it into smaller pieces. That would be messy and the small glass chips can enter into other cavities. You can heat the solder with a flame torch to soften it and you can remove it easily using a screwdriver. After you chip or chisel the old solder, carefully tap the broken pieces to pop it out using pliers (be careful not to break it further). Be sure the hole is thoroughly cleaned of solder and smaller pieces of glass.
  • Find the glass that fits. Purchase colored glass that resembles the broken piece. Be sure it has the same intensity of hue and has same thickness. The new stained glass should have the closest resemblance to the old broken glass or it will stand out from the window’s entirety.
  • Replace with the new glass. With your template, trace the shape of the broken glass onto the new stained glass. With a glass cutter, cut the new glass and grind it for an accurate fit. Once you have cut, ground and cleaned the new glass, replace it in the location of the broken glass. There should not be any gap more than 1mm on all sides of the new glass.
  • Solder the glass into place. Using a soldering iron, heat the solder and trace the edges of the new piece of glass. Solder is very hot and be careful not to catch drips. If the broken piece is at the edge of the frame, you can apply the solder with the glass window hanging by the edge. The solder can drip to the floor and not accumulate on the table where it can stick to other places within the project (This only applies to glass windows that you can take out of its place). Use a good amount of whiting and leave the window overnight to dry completely.
  • Clean the glass. Clean up the edges of the glass by scraping excess solder. Use a soft brush to remove any particles. Clean the surrounding areas of original location before carefully inserting the window back into it. Secure to hold it in place while you seal the edges.

Use heavy-duty gloves and protective goggles before working on glass. Tiny fragments of glass pose as a safety risk. Never eat or drink while working on this. If you accidentally get burned with the solder, use lavender oil to ease the pain and burn. Now enjoy your restored stained glass window!


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