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THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO MOSAICS
The Complete Guide to Making Your Own Stained Glass Patterns

Are you tired of paying for patterns that aren't quite what you are looking for?† Have you ever seen a photo, painting or drawing and wished you had a pattern for it?

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Into this & print it (in minutes)

This guide was written to teach any stained glass artisan how to easily take an image and convert it into a stained glass pattern and then print it out any size using any standard printer.† It also covers how to alter and customize existing patterns.† It's easy to do and once you're familiar with the process you can start turning out your own unique custom designs.

THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO MAKING STAINED GLASS PATTERNS

The cost of stained glass patterns can often be high and many times you donít get exactly what you want. Also, no matter what pattern you buy it will always be someone elseís design, not yours. This guide will walk you step by step through the process of creating your own unique custom patterns. Lets get started.

Step one - Go to www.jasc.com and install the latest paintshop program. The instructions below are for an older version but the concept is the same.

Step two - Finding images to convert to patterns.

You can find images to convert all over the internet and if you have a scanner you can even scan your own pictures and convert them to patterns. The two keys to finding a good image to convert is that the image must have contrasting colors so the software can find the edges and it must be an object that can be broken down into pieces thus forming a pattern. The ivy border stone on our website is a good example of this.
Dark images and pictures with shadows in them tend to be more difficult to convert. Line art and clip art are easy to turn into patterns since the edges are easy for the program to find. Drawings and cartoons are also easy since they have fewer and more contrasting colors. Pictures of stained glass pieces convert very well for obvious reasons. The bottom line is that the computer must be able to distinguish between the background and the object and also the separate pieces that make up the object. (Rose petals for example on a light background)

On the internet, when you find an image that you like, right click on the image and choose ďsave image asĒ. Save the image into a directory that you have made especially for pattern images. If you want to change the name of the image do it now while you are saving it. If you are using a scanner, just save the scanned image into the same directory. If you have a CD full of images do the same thing.

Step three - Loading the image into Paint Shop.

Open up the program and choose file, open. Go to the correct directory and choose the image you want to work on. You can also choose browse and see all the images at one time and then choose.

Once the image is opened you need to convert it to a .jpg format. This is done by choosing file, save and picking the .jpg format as the file format. Save the image to the same directory. Close the image on the screen and pull the new image which should have a .jpg extension up. This will be the image that you will work with. If the file is already in a .jpg format you can skip this step.

Step four - Trimming the image.

Cropping or trimming an image gets rid of the objects that you donít want in a picture and lets you focus on the object that you are wanting to make into a pattern. You can crop or trim the image by choosing the rectangular selection tool (dotted line rectangle) on the tool bar. Once you select this tool you place the mouse arrow on the top left part of the image and while holding down the left hand mouse button drag down to the bottom right. Let go of the button and you will see that a part of the image has been selected. This is the part that the program understands you want to keep. Everything else will be deleted. Choose image, crop and the program will crop or trim the picture for you. You may want to try it and then hit edit, undo and then go to the next step.



Step five - Convert the image to greyscale.

The image needs to be converted to greyscale so that the program will have fewer colors to work with making it easier to find the edges of the object you are wanting a pattern of. Choose colors, greyscale and the program will convert the image for you.

Step Six - Resize the image if necessary.

If the image is small you may want to resize it to make it easier to work with. If it is large you can downsize it. The larger you resize an object the smoother the lines will be when you finish. You can resize an object larger than your viewing area and then zoom it down to work on. Doing this will make the edges of your finished pattern smooth. Choose image, resize. Make sure the maintain aspect ratio box is checked and enter the first part of the new size which will be the width. Since you checked the box the software will fill in the second number for you when it resizes the image. The image ivy1.jpg should be resized up at least double.

TIP: You can leave this box unchecked and alter the image any dimension you want.

Step Seven - Isolate the image from the background and Floodfill the background white.

First, the object of flood filling is to isolate the object that you want a pattern of. You change the color of everything in the image except the main object to white. Before you do this you need to make sure that there is a contrasting color all the way around the object. If part of the object you are working with and the background are close to the same color the flood function will color that part of the object as well as the background when you are only wanting to color the background. You can avoid this by using the draw tool to make a little white or black line between the background and the object in the problem area. For example, an eagle on a light background will contrast well except for his tail and head. Therefore, you draw a dark line from the dark part of his body tracing around the tail and touching the dark part of his body on the other side. By doing this you have protected the tail of the eagle from being colored white with the background. The ivy1.jpg imageís colors contrast very well and it is not necessary to separate the individual leaves from the background. If an object in an image is so close to the color of the background that you have to draw around the entire object you probably should select a different image. At the most you should only have to isolate small sections of an object.

Choose the flood fill tool from the toolbar. Its a little paint bucket with a drop of paint coming out. You will see a flood fill tolerance window. Adjust this tolerance towards 100. The tolerance setting tells the computer how far it can go in changing colors. For example, if the tolerance is set low it will only convert the color you click on. If it is set high it will convert the color you click on as well as colors that are close to that color. Practice using different settings. If you donít get what you want just click edit, undo and try again. (edit,undo only takes you back one step in version 4.12) Also, each image you work with will require different tolerance settings. Its always better to start with a lower tolerance and go up.

IMPORTANT TIP : YOU CAN TRY MANY TOOLS AND EFFECTS ON AN IMAGE AND THEN CHOOSE EDIT, UNDO TO GO BACK. FOR EXAMPLE, FLOOD FILL AN AREA AT ONE TOLERANCE LEVEL AND IF YOU DONíT LIKE THE RESULTS HIT EDIT, UNDO AND RAISE OR LOWER THE TOLERANCE. IF PART OF THE OBJECT GETS COLORED BY MISTAKE, HIT EDIT, UNDO AND SEPARATE THAT PART FROM THE BACKGROUND WITH A LINE. HIT EDIT, UNDO EACH TIME BECAUSE IN VERSION 4.12 IT ONLY GOES BACK ONE STEP. IN VERSION 5.0 AND ABOVE YOU CAN GO BACK MULTIPLE STEPS.

Choose white as your color. There should be a white and a black choice at the bottom of your toolbar. Usually the left key will give you white and the right key will give you black. For more choices you can double click on the black or white color and choose another color for that key. Normally you leave the left key as black and the right as white. Click on any spot in the background using the mouse button that is set for white. If only part of the background get colored you can either click on the uncolored parts until the entire background is white or you can click edit, undo and raise the tolerance level of the floodfill tool.

Step eight - Separate any pieces that are touching.

If two pieces of the object are touching the software considers them one piece. Choose the pen tool and set the size to 1 or 2. Go between pieces that are touching and disconnect them with white. If you zoom in, this is very easy and fun. Choose the magnifying glass on the tool bar and zoom in as much as you want. If the object you are working with is all one piece with no spaces between pieces you will need to draw lines between where you think pieces should be. Run your lines along contour lines of the object. (Look at the bald eagle file on disk 4.) You can make as many or as few pieces as you want. The more pieces the more detailed the finished product will be.

NOTE : FOR STEPPING STONE PATTERNS PIECES CAN BE FAR APART LIKE IN THE IVY EXAMPLE. HOWEVER, THE IVY PATTERN WOULD NOT WORK WELL AS A REGULAR STAINED GLASS PIECE. MOST OBJECTS THAT WORK WELL AS REGULAR STAINED GLASS PIECES WILL NEED TO HAVE PIECES SEPARATED BY THE ABOVE PROCESS.

Step nine - Blur the object slightly.

Blurring the object will give you smoother edges when you execute step eleven. Choose image, normal filters, soften. This is an important step in that it will smooth the edges of the individual pieces making a much nicer pattern.

TIP : THE BLUR FEATURE IS AN EXCELLENT TOOL FOR MAKING PIECES EITHER LARGER OR SMALLER A LITTLE AT A TIME OR FOR INCREASING OR DECREASING THE GAPS BETWEEN PIECES. USING THE BLUR FEATURE IN THIS WAY SHOULD BE DONE AFTER STEP ELEVEN. FIRST, CHOOSE IMAGE, NORMAL FILTER, BLUR (OR SOFTEN). NOW, TO MAKE THE PIECES LARGER WITH LESS GAP FLOOD FILL THE PIECES BLACK AT A HIGH TOLERANCE. TO MAKE THE PIECES SMALLER WITH MORE OF A SPACE BETWEEN THEM FLOOD FILL THE BACKGROUND WHITE. (ADJUST THE TOLERANCE UP OR DOWN FOR BEST RESULTS) AFTER YOU ARE SATISFIED PROCEED TO STEP TWELVE.

Step ten - Airbrush any pieces that are incomplete.

If a piece is incomplete or if you just want to touch up the image you can choose the airbrush from the toolbar and touchup any incomplete pieces. Again, if you zoom the image this is easy and fun. You can also airbrush out anything left over in the background with white paint. The airbrush as with all the tools has different settings.

Step eleven - Floodfill the object.

At this point you should have a white background and the object you want a pattern of should be grey. Also, no pieces should be touching. Change your color choice to black and floodfill each piece black. Donít accidentally floodfill the background. If you do choose edit, undo.

If you want the pieces to be larger with smaller gaps or smaller with bigger gaps you would now apply the tip given in Step 9.

Step twelve - Tracing the contour.

Choose image, edge filters, trace contours. At this point your image should be completely converted to a pattern and ready to resize and print.

Step thirteen - Printing the pattern.

You can either print the entire pattern to one sheet of paper if your printer will handle the job or you can cut the image into a couple of 8 1/2 x 14 pieces and print the two pieces separately. If you are making a small piece then a single 8 1/2 x 11 or 8 1/2 x 14 is enough. The ivy border stone example will fit onto a single 8 1/2 x 14 sheet.

To print the ivy border stone pattern you will need to rotate the image so it goes the same direction as your paper. Choose image, rotate, right 90 degrees and click ok. Now choose file, printer setup and choose 8 1/2 x 14 paper. Choose file, page setup and click on use full page and center image. Choose file, print and print the image. Your done.

On larger patterns you simply choose the rectangular selection tool off the toolbar and copy and paste sections of the image. Drag the tool over the section you want to copy and choose edit, copy and then edit, paste, as new image. Do this until you have all the pieces displayed on the screen. Make sure you overlap a little. Print each piece using the instructions above and tape them together. If you want a nicer pattern take a large piece of paper or a clear piece of thick plastic and trace over the taped together pieces with a good felt tip marker.

Making patterns out of polyurethane film

You can buy a sheet of semi clear, flexible plastic/polyurethane from a plastic wholesaler or retailer in your area. It usually comes in 4 x 8 sheets but you can buy smaller pieces or get some scrap from them. Its about as thick as poster board. A 4 x 8 sheet runs $20 and would make probably 35 patterns so it goes a long way. You cut out a piece of the plastic with scissors and lay it over your pattern. Take a indelible marker and trace out the pattern on the plastic. Use the scissors to cut out the pattern and your done. Since the material is flexible its easy to cut and the pattern pieces you get will last you forever. Once your glass is cut you can use the plastic pieces as guides for grinding.

Advanced and Special Effects -

Once you have saved your new pattern you can use Paint shop to alter the image in many ways.

If you want to see it in different colors use the colors, increase color depth command and choose 16 million colors. At this point you can flood fill each piece a different color if you choose. Double click on the black box at the bottom of the toolbar and choose your color.

Choose image, deformation browser and try the different effects. You can also choose colors, negative etc....

Combining or merging two images

Another advanced function is the ability to combine parts of two patterns or to move parts of a single pattern around. This gets a little more complicated but is a great tool for making custom patterns. First, open up two patterns or images and put them side by side on the screen. One could be an object and the other could be a border with nothing in the middle. Lets assume that you want to put the object inside the border for a stepping stone pattern. There are two tools you can use to cut out an object. One is the lasso tool and the other is the rectangle tool. The rectangle tool when chosen will give you further options for an ellipse, circle or square. There is also a feather function for softening edges. The lasso or freehand tool is the most versatile of the choices in that you can make any shape you want around an object. Choose the freehand tool and while holding down the left button on your mouse go around the object that you want to copy. When you have gone around let go of the button and a dotted line will appear around your selection. Go to edit, copy. Click on the other image and then go to edit, paste and choose either new image, new selection or into selection. Choosing new image will create an entirely new image using the selected portion. Choosing new selection will put the selected area into the other image and let you move it around. If you click the left hand button of your mouse once the image will freeze and you can resize it and then move it again. After it is where you want it to be click the right hand button to lock it in. If you make a mistake click edit, undo and try again. You can use this same technique for moving objects around in the same image. For stained glass pieces you need to have everything close so it can be soldered as a single piece so this is an excellent function for doing this.

Paint Shop Version 5.0 or 6.0 have even more functions and are worth trying. You can go to www.zdnet.com, www.hotfiles.com or www.jasc.com to download the latest trial copy.
OTHER GUIDES & RESOURCES AVAILABLE FROM COLE FARMS, INC
STAINED GLASS STEPPING STONE FORUM
COMPLETE GUIDE TO CREATING STAINED GLASS PATTERNS FROM PICTURES
THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO MAKING AND MARKETING STAINED GLASS STEPPING STONES
THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO MOSAICS†
THE ULTIMATE STAINED GLASS PATTERN PACKAGE
COMPLETE GUIDE TO CUSTOM GLASS ETCHING