Stained Glass: From Cathedrals to Cottages

It used to be that stained glass art was reserved for churches and castles. That is not the case anymore, and these light-filled art pieces are accessible to anyone. The stained glass for sale on eBay both honors its past and embraces the present.

What kinds of stained glass art can you buy?

While stained glass window panels may come to mind when most people think of this style of art, many other forms are available. On eBay, new and vintage stained glass pieces are sorted into a few distinct categories:

  • Stained glass panels - This is still one of the most abundant styles. From permanent window fixtures to seasonal or temporary hanging art, panels are a classic and versatile medium.
  • Suncatchers - You might argue that all glass catches the sun, but this particular category of stained glass is generally smaller and more portable than the full portals.
  • Ornaments - Generally the smallest category of all, these can be hung from Christmas trees or windows or even worn as jewelry. Picture frames and other smaller accessories also fall into this group.
  • Vessels - Stained glass vases, bowls, or decorative glasses fall into this category. Though they have a practical use, they are also pieces of art.
How are these art pieces made?

Enthusiasts might wonder what goes into the art of staining glass. While there is more than one method, here are some common themes:

  • Colored or painted glass - Central to every piece is the glass itself. To stain glass, metallic salts are typically added to the molten glass during production. Another method is to paint clear glass, then fire that glass in a hot kiln to fuse the paint permanently to it.
  • Shaping - While glass can be hammered and shaped while molten, flat panes can also be cut into the desired shape and combined with other pieces.
  • Lead - For stained glass window panels, each piece of glass is held in place by strips of lead, which are soldered together for stability.
  • Cementing - For added stability, a special cement is sometimes applied to the piece, which adds support and provides extra strength to the lead frame.
Common themes in stained glass

Though almost all styles of art can be found in stained glass, from landscape to abstract, here are some common themes found on the eBay stained glass page:

  • Floral - As is natural for such a light-filled art medium, nature is a recurring subject matter. Flowers and plants are common, from stained glass window panels displaying blooming fields to hand-blown and -shaped flower ornaments.
  • Animal shapes - Animal themes appear in pieces from resting cat paperweights to colorful butterfly suncatchers.
  • Abstract - Geometric and abstract designs, which artisans of Southeast Asia historically specialized in, now can be found across all cultures. These designs, found primarily on the Contemporary Original list, combine vibrant colors with appealing shapes.