How Does Stained Glass Get Its Color?

stained glass color dallas

Have you ever looked up and a stained glass window and stared at it, amazed by its beauty? While the intricate details and designs are indeed beautiful and admirable, the colors are a main part of what makes stained glass so stunning. But how are these colors made? Let’s find out!

How Is Colored Glass Made?

Stained glass is given its color when it’s in a molten, or liquid, form. First, cullen (recycled glass) or broken glass pieces and sand are combined with heat. The mixture is heated up enough to where it becomes entirely liquid. At this stage, the glass is a reddish color, and is extremely hot. Then, materials are added to change the color of the glass.

Methods for Making Stained Glass

The first pieces of colored glass were manufactured in Egyptian and Roman times. They were made by hand, and people were still experimenting with different ways to add colors. The Egyptians found that different additives resulted in different colors, something they accomplished by trial and error.

Later, a chemist named Gerber discovered how to change the color of the glass in a very precise manner. He found that different metal oxides resulted in different colors.

Common Additives for Colors

Today, a variety of different metal oxides, sulfides, and compounds are used to make colored glass. Here are some of the most commonly used additives for making certain colors:

  • Blue or violet: Cobalt Oxide
  • Yellow: Cadmium Sulfide
  • Red: Gold Chloride
  • White: Antimony Oxide
  • Yellow/amber: Sulfur
  • Yellow-green: Uranium Oxide
  • Emerald green: Chromic Oxide

In addition to these, sometimes artisans add other compounds, such as Manganese Dioxide and Sodium Nitrate. However, this is usually done to remove impurities, in an effort to produce clear, or colorless, glass.

Learn More

Learn more about the art of glassmaking or obtain a quote on stained glass in Dallas by calling our office today.

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