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Question for those who've done old window art

April 14, 2008

I have a question for those that have added things like glass half marbles/globs and/or mosiacs to old windows. Do you do anything to the old window, like clean it up, remove the old 'caulking' that helps keep the panes in or do you just add the silicone caulk along the edges in the gaps/cracks? I'm hoping/planning to add the glass 'globs' and maybe some stained glass pieces to an old window and then hang it up to display it like I've seen done quite a bit from ya'll around here. I love the look of the old windows, but am leary of anything, like say, a windowpane falling out and/or anything else less desirable. I do already have one 3 paned window from my old/former house that I took apart, as it barely had any of the old caulk left. I don't want to paint it to look 'new'... but the paint on it was horrid, plus some small rot spots I needed to remove. I don't know if its wise to just use caulk or should I get the 'points' to help hold in the panes? I'm not sure yet where I'll put my new 'old' windows, it can get quite windy where I live, and I don't know if I want to risk them out on our huge open (roofed) deck, where I'd hang them from. Then again, between the bird feeders and chimes and whirly things I don't have 'room' nor want to remove those other things! LOL

I'd like to also say THANKS to all of you who share your pics and ideas, help etc around here... much to my boyfriend's chagrin, I'm looking forward to adding plenty of 'yard art' to our new home on 10 acres (mostly 'swamp/marsh' though...but still plenty to add my 'art' to...while also creating LOTS of desired plants) I'm glad to find ways to use all the old 'junque' that I hauled over from my former home, in spite of all the crabbing and griping I've had to put up with from Frank, the NON-artistic bf. Poor guy! not cause he has to put up with my 'creativeness'...but because he is dead set on having no 'creative side' therefore feels the need to pick on me for mine. I'm sure once he starts seeing some of the stuff in person...as for sure I've shown him (and plenty of others!) some of the amazing stuff ya'll come up with! He just needs to 'relax' and realize how FUN this stuff is, and how 'recycling' can be/IS more than just putting things in the bin and taking it down to the road for pick up on every other Friday!!!

Thanks in Advance! and thanks again for sharing all your creativity!


K.C. Redcat

Comments (32)

  • Dottie B.

    Definately use the points and the glazing compound to tighten up any loose panes. I did that with mine and am glad I did because now I don't have to worry about them falling apart.

  • luna_llena_feliz

    I finally found some double hung windows to make my "screen" out of. Thanks for asking the question, kcredcat! I was wondering the same thing.

  • saywhatagnes

    Hello Kim,

    Ive only done four 4-pane windows so far (w/marbles & stained glass) and IÂm presently working on a larger 12 pane window to hang on an old swing-set frame out in my yard.

    I did remove all the old putty and caulk first. When I replaced the panes, I used push-style glazing points and GE II silicone caulk.
    I also fixed all the splits and cracks in the frames with wood glue and added cellulose fibre filler where any pieces of muntin was missing (my windows were truly in awful shape when I got them).
    I feel very confident that the panes are secure in the frames but I have them hanging on my front porch now and I do end up taking them down when weÂre having really strong wind as they tend to swing side to side and hit the porch posts.

    Frank will come around. After 30+ yrs of me sounding like the old Budweiser commercial ("Why ask why?"), now DH just nods and says "Yes Dear" when I ask him to help me with one of my garden junk projects. LOL!
    Window frame before-


    Window frame after-


    Have fun and good luck with your window,

  • dkline_2008

    Those windows are awesome!!! The glass was stable on the one I had so I didnt do anything to it. But if I had, I would have used the instructions that saywhat and luna suggested. Always a lot of good suggestions around here and I love that about GW. Your boyfriend sounds like my husband. When I mentioned bb's in the yard, he said, I always thought it was kind of foolish to put bbs in the yard. When he came home and saw them, he said, I bet you could sell those for 50 bucks. LOL Then the bunk bed benches, he thought I was crazy, until he came home and saw them. Then he said, I bet you could sell those for 100 bucks each. LOL With my window that will be a table top I was going to make the frame for it to sit on, but now hes changed that and HE'S making the frame for me. Guess the values of things change. sigh LOL
    Anyways, when you get your window done, we sure would like to see pics!!!!

  • craftylady-2006

    Beautiful window project there Agnes, that is really pretty. You did a great job on it.


  • Calamity_J

    I'm waaay too lazy/impatient/getterdone to do anything but clean it off, calk whats there, maybe paint the frame with craft paint, and have atter!! ha!

    My Pics

    Free Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

  • saywhatagnes

    My gosh Calamity J, I just love your windows!
    Absolutely gorgeous!

    I forgot to say in earlier post ~ yall please do take care if you end up chipping or sanding away at dry rot, old putty, or paint. Good idea to wear a dust mask or some such protection to avoid breathing in nasties like mold/mildew particles or lead-based paint dust.
    Oh, and along with care in handling glass, be sure to watch out for those hateful pieces of old broken nails and glazing points. Im here to tell you, those things can put a real hurt on fingertips.
    I wouldnt want a fellow Garden Junker truly suffering for her/his art ;)

  • daisyme

    Well, I love the whole idea...always have... and am looking forward to seeing your window, Cat. Aggie, so springly pretty! And Calamity. oh my gosh! The colors! The forms! Absolutely FABULOUS!

  • emtnest

    Here is a link for some window art from a contest on the other garden junk

  • kcredcat

    Thanks everyone! I've put the 'points' and glazing compound on my list of things to get when I go to Home Depot here soon. (also have sand and a mixing trough for some upcoming cement yard art I hope to do soon, as spring is FINALLY here!)

    adina72, nice window! wish I'd thought to do something like that(& windows PERIOD)before my dad gave away all his stained glass!!! luna, what kind of screen? like one of the hanging windows or a free standing type of room screen? just curious, happy to help by asking...I looked all over (searches) and didn't find this info so I figured I'd ask!

    Aggie, AWESOME! I'm sure your window was one of those I saw, great b4 & after pics too...learning to take those with moving into a new house and doing decorating, painting etc... yeah, I hope you're right about Frank coming around, he used to be great about my art, and then HE got this 'plan' for us to get a house 'together' and he's been a booger since! He knew I was an artist and had 'collections' when we met, I 'warned' him often and he'd been to my wreck(home)and witnessed it first hand! I'd told him it was coming with me when I moved too!

    Deb, yeah, when I first met Frank, and for a LOOONG time he was in 'awe' of my artwork (I do polymer clay,12 yrs now) and the whole artistic gal thing, he's too obsessed with 'my STUFF' since we moved in together. Heck, first time I've ever really moved, and was at old house for 20 years! He's not used to a 'creative' person, he's not one...electrical engineer for over 30 yrs, only job he's really had. AND refuses to admit he just 'might' be 'creative' if he'd just loosen up and enjoy life for a change. He's a great guy, but sometimes...grrrrr LOL plus, he's not used to the 'country'...being a 50 yr 'city slicker'! LOL

    calamity j, OOOOH! DROOLWORTHY! those windows are AWESOME! did you do the bunny rabbit too??? seeing all your pretties makes me really want to get going on mine, although I figure I'll start out 'simple', I take it you grouted? anyhow, thanks for sharing! again, AWESOME!

    emtnest, thanks for the link...more pretties to look at always welcome.

    Thanks all! of course I'll share pics once I finally get one done! I've got so many projects going on (always) and planned (hope to do) SOON, now that spring is really HERE in MI!

  • oknish

    Aggie: what did you put on your window panes before you painted the flowers and other things on them. I really like the looks of them. Thanks OrDel

  • saywhatagnes

    Hi OrDel,

    My flowers and doo-hickys are glass bits and half-marbles. Sure wish I could paint well but I have no talent in that department.
    But on the panes, I used clear GE II 100% Silicone Caulk (indoor/outdoor for window & door). Personal choice. I think any clear caulk for exterior use would do.
    I used an old toothbrush to stipple it on the glass, then pressed my glass bits and marbles down on top of it. I did a small section at a time.


    How much you use (or how thick you apply it) kind of determines the opacity/translucency. Im heavy-handed and I got a little globby in places. Also, some caulk will squish out around the sides of the glass bits and marbles when you put them on. You can use all kinds of techniques.
    I did one with a wide-tooth comb. I dragged it through the caulk down the length of the glass pane in a wavy motion. That was pretty but Im not so delicate and I kept getting my fat fingers in the wet caulk and messing up my neat swirly lines.
    Heres the backside of one that was not quite dry (or cured) in a picture frame:


    ~ and the front side:


    You know, thinking on it, I dont see why you couldnt apply caulk to glass, let it dry, then paint decorations on the caulk. Like if you used a craft paint for outdoor use. That might be really nice.
    Anyhow, sure hope I could be of help,

  • luna_llena_feliz

    These are all gorgeous! Thanks for all the inspiration!

    kcredcat, I wanted to put up something between my balcony and the one connected to it that belongs to my neighbor. When we are out there together, it is almost like we are sitting on the same balcony. When I'm crafting, I feel obliged to talk to her when she comes out every 10 minutes for a cigarette. Needless to say, I don't get much done! I thought if I put up a window decorated with stained glass, it would act as a privacy screen between us.

    saywhatagnes, I thought the wrippley glass was just that not individual little pieces! It looks like a lot of work but well worth it when you see the final product!

    All the windows are absolutely awesome!

  • Purplemoon

    That is sooo gorgeous, Aggie. I'm going to put that last photo in the Inspiration album tomorrow. Love how it turned out!

    hugs, Karen

  • kudzukween

    Wow, everybody has made such beauties! And Aggie.....what a GREAT idea...it looks like rippled glass and I'm gonna keep that in mind!! :) Gorgeous windows:) I made a stained glass painting of a magnolia on one old window, I checked the putty and glazier points, they were good. The next two windows my DH made me a greenhouse and I just added silicone ( seems I use it for everything, how did I get along without it before??)...to the spots that putty fell out. I painted right over the silicone.

  • oknish

    Aggie: Thank you ever so much for all of the details and how to. I have some old windows that I am going to try that on. I am going to retire in a month, so I am looking for different things to do and yet have fun doing them. Your windows are so very pretty. I can't paint either so I would be looking for craft items to use. Have
    a great day - OrDel

  • virakech

    okay, now I've got ANOTHER project I want to do. Those are so pretty.

    We went to the Cinci flower show this weekend, and they had old windows there, I wish I had seen this then...

  • schnecke

    Hi Aggie or anyone else who knows!
    I randomly found these beautiful windows on here and have a few questions for you, if you've got some time.
    I'm new to the whole old window decorating thing, so I really have not much clue of what I'm getting into. I found a wonderful old window with 9 window sections in it, half of them were destroyed and not my taste, so I got rid of the glass. I really like your idea with the flowers.
    1. Where did you get these particular glass bits? They're beautiful and I love flowers.
    2. I need panes for all of my sections now. Is there a standard size for missing windows that can just be bought at Home Depot? (I saw that one of your panes was missing)It looks like all the old windows are the same size.
    3. Did you do anything else with windows for ideas? I have a neighbor with tons of old windows and would like to do some picture frames etc.
    4. What would you do with my 9 section brown in good shape window, that has all the glass missing? :) Maybe getting the glass is not a good idea after all, b/c it might get expensive.
    Thanks for any tips you can give me! I can post a picture her, if I can figure it out!
    Much thanks!

  • katishooked

    WINDOWS ARE DEFINITELY ON MY TO DO LIST. Thanks all for input and pix about windows. I have a question that just popped into the ole brain waves. Ok take for instance Aggies' windows, she uses the GEII for fillin. What I was just wonering, is it possible to color the GEII before stipling and while it's wet????? Would it work? If so would you use acrylics, enamel??? Just a thot.

  • indalyne

    Aggie - I love your windows!

    What was the cellulose fibre filler you used to fix the wood?

    Schnecke - The cheapest place to get replacement glass is the hardware store (True Value, Ace, etc.) They will install and caulk it.

    I own an old house and have had to get a few fixed over the years. I've also learned how to caulk the windows and that is very easy once you get a feel for the angle and pressure - that and making sure you let the putty warm up and soften in your hand. I can tell you the whole process if you'd like.

    I found two leaded glass windows in a barn loft once (free!) and had a furniture maker make them into a display/book case.

  • concretenprimroses

    Thank you Schnecke for finding this. I know what to give my dh for Christmas now! He always admires the old stained glass windows in the craftman style at the local building salvage store and they are sooo expensive (and not in great shape either.) I just happen to have some sturdy picture frames too.
    I like the idea of black grout though. Do the people who used grout after instead of using silicone II for filler use silicone II to stick the glass down?

  • saywhatagnes

    Hello Schnecke and welcome to Garden Junk!
    You found an old 9 pane window and you have a neighbor with tons of old windows....touch me please, I need some of your good fortune ! LOL!

    Im still learning and playing myself but I sure hope I can help answer some of your questions.
    1. My flower petals and leaves/stems are all pieces of stained glass that I cut with either a wheeled glass cutter or tile nippers. I prefer the nippers. More room for error as I make a lot of mistakes. I buy the glass sheets at Hobby Lobby when they have a 50% off sale or with sale coupons. I used glass globs/half marbles for the center of the flowers. I think theyre sometimes called floral gems too. I purchase them at places like Wal-Mart, dollar stores, and craft stores like Hobby Lobby & Michaels.

    Check out the Stained Glass & Mosaic Forum here at Garden Web for a wealth of information on the subject. Super nice, super talented, super helpful folks over there.

    2. Ive never found a window I didnt need to replace at least 2 panes so I use panes from other old windows or glass from discarded picture frames and cut them to fit myself. Garage sales, flea markets, and thrift stores are all great places to find old picture frames with the glass still intact for next to nothing.

    You can also have the panes cut at a glass shop like Indalyne said. Its also fairly easy to cut panes yourself (hey, if I can do it, you can do it! LOL!). I used a wheeled glass cutter I got at Hobby Lobby and practiced on pieces of scrap glass until I got my confidence up. There are some short videos on Youtube that will help too.
    In my very limited experience I have found that there is no standard size pane for the older windows. I decorated an old window recently with 12 panes and I think every pane was a different size. I had to be real careful not to mix them up since I usually decorate them out of the window frame. I dont know if the wood swells and shifts with age but only a couple panes were actually the same exact size. Some fit tight in the muntins, others I had to run thick caulk beads around to keep them from rattling.
    12 Pane Window ~


    Picture taken from behind and farther away to give an idea of the size of it~

    3. So far I have only decorated windows with glass, globs, and caulk to hang on my porch and fence but if youll type in Old Windows in the search box down at the bottom of the main page here youll come back with a ton of links to past posts. More decorated windows as well as greenhouses, tables, trellis, etc, made from old windows .....the list goes on and its all gorgeous.
    If you do go over to the Stained Glass & Mosaic forum, type in Glass on Glass in their search box and prepare to have your breath taken away! Seriously! Awesomely beautiful glass mosaic art done in old window and picture frames!
    I wish I could post links to all the stuff Ive mentioned to show you what Im talking about but I dont know how.

    4. A 9 section window? The possibilities are endless. I would love to do a window frame to hang over my couch in my livingroom. I would like to use different colored panes of glass like Adina72 did in her window and have it lighted from behind. Like maybe set on top of a box frame with rope lights. I also thought I might cover thin pieces of cardboard (cut to fit inside the pane frames) with various fabric scraps and hang it lengthwise over a twin size bed for a headboard. Sort of a patchwork block quilt look.

    Katishooked ~ Coloring caulk is a wonderful idea. I didnt have much luck mixing craft paint and silicone caulk myself. The paint faded as I stirred it and the caulk together with a popsicle stick and then the caulk wouldnt set. Might be time to experiment again.
    Indalyne ~ I use DAP Plastic Wood cellulose fibre filler in natural color. Its the easiest Ive found to work with. It drys quickly, sands beautifully, and paint goes on nicely. Ive practically rebuilt whole muntin strips with this stuff and it never fails.
    Kathy (Concretenprimroses) ~ Ive seen black and brown caulk. Dont know why it wouldnt work as well as the clear. I cover the whole pane of glass with clear silicone caulk then mash my glass globs and bits down on top of it before it sets but maybe a person could just glue down the decorations with clear and come back with the darker caulk and stipple it on in between for a black grout effect.

    I hope Ive helped.
    Wishing yall all a wonderful day,

  • indalyne

    Thanks for the response Aggie.

    I'm going to have to try your stipple technique if I ever get my hands on windows again.

  • leveta

    What beautiful windows. My, I may have to try that. Am I assumeing right, that you take GEII and a toothbrush. Put the GE on the window and then take the toothbrush and kinda spread it of sorts and then lay in the glass.

  • concretenprimroses

    Aggie 9 pane window is soo gorgeous!
    Thanks for the additional details.

  • schnecke

    WOW, thanks! I LOVE that 12 pane window, Aggie! Flowers just melt me away. I'd love to come by and learn from you how to cut all that glass! :) Now I understand there's a lot more work in this than I might have time with 4 little ones! :)
    The fabric idea sounds nice, since my window frame doesn't have any glass now, maybe the fabric is just the cheapest option for now. I'll have to ask my neighbor about the windows soon for more projects, especially the mosaic ones.
    I'll read your recommended pages. What a fun new hobby. I gotta get all the materials now! :)

  • bverste

    I decided maybe I had better bring forward the thread I was talking about

  • garden2garden

    Aren't they beautiful. This is really a nice project and this is such a helpful thread about it, I'm glad you brought it back. I need to try those tile nippers, I just can't seem to get the hang of cutting glass with the wheel. (I've seen my dad do it. He used to make wavy lines and all, no problem... doesn't work for me) I'm really in love with that colored glass especially the blue, when you press it into the stippled caulk. So pretty.

  • Momof6

    Am I right in assuming that the milky white background is nothing but GEII....MARY

  • dizzyissy

    Question for those who've done old window glass art.
    Where do you look to find old windows for this?
    I'm not sure where to find them or how much they might cost.

  • iamnotapirate

    @dizzyizzy I haven't tried this (they are fabulous, so much talent around here) but I think it depends how much effort you want to put in and where your located. We have an architectural salvage store where you could walk in and buy an older window anywhere from $30-$100+ depending on size, condition, # of panes, etc. Easy but you're paying for it. You could also check out Craigslist. I've seen them on there from $5-$50+. Less expensive but more hit or miss. Then you could look around on trash day or look for a remodel job and score them at the curb for free. I like the last option. Part of the fun is the hunt.

  • turtle_1954

    Love the frame from saywhatagnes. I'm in the process of learning to cut glass. I'm wondering if I could take her idea, but use plain glass and paint one side of it, the side that would touch the chaulk.

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