Stained glass has been used since the past few centuries worldwide to make panels, lamps, small gift items, etc
In India, though pursued as a hobby and also a profession, stained glass usage is still in its nascent stage.
Commonly painted glass is called stained glass and vice versa. However, the "stain" in stained glass is not something added on top of clear glass, but included in the glass manufacturing process. The colours are achieved by mixing metal oxides with the molten glass during the process of smelting. Painted glass, however, is made by simply painting normal transparent glass.
To make a panel of tulips in stain glass:
We need to make a drawing of the item on a cardboard paper, in this case a tulip flower. We should mark codes on each shape with the colour we want to use. Now take a piece of paper and make a pencil drawing of the design. Cut individual shapes e.g. the shape of one petal of the tulip to form stencils. We should give the same code number to these stencils as those on the cardboard so that, we do not get confused with the stencil placement.
Now we take each stencil, basically a shaped piece of paper and put it on the stained glass sheet. Here we need to decide what colour to use for the design. With the help of a glasscutter, which is almost like a normal paper cutter, we cut the glass based on the paper stencil. We would now have a stained glass piece cut in the shape of a tulip petal. One should wear gloves and safety eyeglasses to avoid any injury to the body while cutting glass.
Using the above technique we cut all the shapes required for our tulip. We would now have small pieces of glass, which just have to be joined together.
Stained glass is soldered with lead but, to do that we need to cover the edges of the glass pieces with copper foil.
This can be easily done by taking one piece at a time and covering its edges on all sides with copper foil. After all our pieces are ready, we simply put them together the way we do in a jigsaw puzzle, on the cardboard on which we had initially made the design.
Now, using a lead foil and a soldering gun together, we solder the copper foils on the various glass pieces. This process has to be done neatly and slowly. Our glass tulip would now be ready to be framed in wood.
For more complicated designs several techniques are employed.