Stained glass projects can create many different beautiful images that come to life in the light. These images aren’t created by one single type of stained glass, but by combining several different types to add texture and depth to the image.
So, what are the different types of stained glass? The types of stained glass include antique, cathedral, opalescent, baroque, waterglass, textured, iridescent, granite, glue chip, hammered, seedy, beveled, and wispy.
There can be other types of stained glass, but these 13 are the main types and are the most commonly used in stained glass creations. Let’s explore how each one differs and the ways they can help your stained glass project stand out.
13 Types Of Stained Glass
Stained glass is a much broader world than many people may realize. There are tons of different types of stained glass, all made by blending in color with hot glass – not by painting.
While there are over 20 different types of stained glass, we’ve narrowed it down to the 13 main types of stained glass you’re most likely to see.
To get a visual example of some of these types of glass, check out the video below.
1. Antique Glass
Antique glass is named because it uses the antique art of blowing glass with the mouth-blown method that’s been used for centuries.
There are two types of antique glass: full and semi-antique.
Full antique is made by the mouth-blown method, while semi-antique seeks to replicate the look of full antique glass through a machine process, rather than being hand blown.
Both full antique and semi-antique glass are great to use for backgrounds, a full panel, or just the border.
As you can probably imagine, semi-antique glass costs less because it’s mass-produced in a machine, while full antique glass is more expensive because it’s hand made.
2. Cathedral Glass
Cathedral glass is one of the main types of stained glass used. It can be either mouth-blown or machine-made, but either way, it’s a sheet of colored translucent glass.
There is typically only one color, and it’s made so that you can still get a lot of light through the glass and can even make out shapes behind it.
It’s name cathedral glass because it’s the original type of glass that was used to create those beautiful stained glass windows we can see today in cathedrals built centuries ago.
Cathedral glass can be used for anything on a stained glass project. Its simple yet elegant look is perfect for details, the background, or the whole window.
3. Opalescent Glass
Opalescent glass is different from cathedral glass because it’s more dense and opaque, rather than translucent.
It can appear milky with some swirls in the colors. The colors are added to the glass in a way that they appear darker, not allowing as much light through as cathedral glass does.
Opalescent glass can be made with either one color on its own, or two colors mixed together. They can be blended smoothly or leave dynamic streaks, creating a glass type known as streaky glass.
The amount of opacity in opalescent glass can vary. Some opalescent glass won’t let any light through at all, and some will allow for a small amount of light to pass through.
4. Baroque Glass
Baroque glass is the first on our list that has a notable surface texture.
This glass type has a heavy texture full of swirls along the surface. It’s typically made by combining opalescent glass with cathedral glass, giving them a brand new look.
Baroque glass is commonly used for backgrounds, since you can achieve many different dreamy looks by swirling opalescent and cathedral glass together.
For example, baroque glass would work great to create a body of water, a field of grass, or a sky during sunrise or sunset. It would help you capture the swirl of colors in the mixing, while giving it a texture that creates depth.
5. Spectrum Waterglass
Waterglass is special because it’s a trademarked type of glass owned by the Spectrum Glass Company, hence its known name of Spectrum Waterglass.
This type of glass is unique because it creates a beautiful texture that imitates gently moving water, still smooth but with small ripples.
It isn’t the type of swirls or other texture you may see in baroque or other glasses. Rather, when you run your fingers over the surface, it will simply feel like uneven bumps and dips.
The visual effect is stunning, and works great for a variety of effects, not just water.
6. Textured Glass
Textured glass is a glass type that encompasses the widest variety within its type. There’s no one specific texture that goes with textured glass.
Instead, textured glass simply refers to any glass that has a surface texture. It can be anything from small waves or divots, to something large like big, raised ripples that come up ½ inch from the surface.
Textured glass typically allows light to shine through, but because of the texture, the objects behind the glass are too blurry to make out.
It can be used for anything, but is often used for privacy windows where natural light is desired, but people shouldn’t be allowed to see into the room. This would be for places such as a bathroom or a doctor’s office.
7. Iridescent Glass
Iridescent glass stands out from the rest because it has a rainbow shimmer on the surface, thanks to a film that is applied after the glass has been created but while it is still hot, before cooling has begun.
This finishing film allows the glass to have a rainbow visual effect on the surface, creating a more colorful and dynamic look on the front.
Usually, iridescent glass only has this film on one side, where the image is meant to be seen. It’s not applied to the back of the glass.
8. Granite Glass
Granite glass is a common type of textured glass that is clear, but has a bumpy pattern on it.
The bumpy pattern is random, not organized, so it gives the effect of the pattern in granite stone.
It’s almost always clear, and is intended to be used in a similar way to other textured glass.
It is usually used as a privacy window for a bathroom or a medical office, or even as a separator in restaurants between booths.
9. Glue Chip Glass
Glue chip glass is made with a very unique process to create a patterned, textured glass.
You take a sheet of glass, then apply animal hide glue in a pattern on the surface. You allow the glue to dry, or heat it in an oven to aid the process.
As the glue dries, it contracts and pulls up chips off of the glass to create a pattern that has a frost effect, appearing similar to the way frost appears on a window.
This type of glass is generally used for backgrounds, but it can also be used as a border or decorative addition to the glass piece.
10. Hammered Glass
Hammered glass is visually similar to granite glass. It’s a clear, textured glass that has rough bumps on the surface.
This is another type of glass that is typically used as a privacy window for bathrooms or medical offices.
It can also be used for stained glass picture windows as a background or decorative border. The large dips in the glass can make for a more interesting and artistic reflection of light into floors, walls, or ceilings.
11. Seedy Glass
Seedy glass is unique because it’s made with cathedral glass, but given a texture that looks like seeds are stuck inside the glass.
This is done by putting bubbles in the glass as it’s cooling, so that when the bubbles pop, the leave behind an open air pocket in the glass.
Seedy glass can be made with any color, not just clear glass.
It can create a new look in any stained glass image, such as giving bread the real look of being textured with seeds, or creating the illusion of falling raindrops on a sheet of dark blue glass.
12. Beveled Glass
Beveled glass can be identified right away by its unique, angled edges.
It’s usually a sheet of thick, clear glass that has the edges angled down at something other than the traditional 90-degree angle.
These edges are created by grinding down the glass, then polishing it to give it that clean, finished look.
Beveled glass is generally used as a border around a stained glass feature, or even simply a decorative border around a window in a residential or commercial building.
13. Wispy Glass
Wispy glass is another type of glass similar to baroque in that it’s created by mixing together one color of opalescent glass with another color of cathedral glass.
These colors typically combine much more in the baroque glass, but with wispy glass, you can see large streaks of color going across the glass sheet.
It’s ideal to do with a dark opalescent color and light cathedral color, since you can create a real dynamic piece of art in the glass by having the colors contrasting.
Wispy glass works great to imitate wispy visual effects seen in nature, such as smoke rising from a chimney or flowing in the wind.