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How to Create a Stained Glass Effect in Gimp


This is a tutorial on achieving a stained glass look in The Gimp.

Yeah, the title pretty much says it. I've been playing with this stained glass look that I think I invented. It may exist else where, but I haven't seen it.

Anyway, it ended up to be a pretty cool technique and I felt the need to share it. If you like this technique please use it and if you could, show me the results and your own take on it. And what ever you do, Have fun with it!

Stained glass tutorial

Ok, first get something you want to give a stained glass look to or an outline of any thing you want . I'm going to use a chess piece as an example. I got this silhouette from the internet. It doesn't matter what you use. Use your imagination.


Keep the piece in "select" mode and go to select and click on "select editor" and then click the icon indicated by the number 1. Then go to "EDIT" choose "stroke selection" for this tutorial the image is 1000x1000 pix, so for this I chose an outline of 6. Then use the paint bucket and fill the center of the chess piece with white.


The illustration above should be your desired result.

Now paint some black lines here and there as you choose to separate what will be the different glass panes. To get straight lines place your paint brush where you want the line to start, hold the left button of your mouse and then press the shift button releasing the mouse button and then drag that to where you want the line to end, pressing the left mouse button to end the line.


Go to "layers", then "transparency" and then click "add alpha channel"

Now choose the magic wand and select an area, then copy, cut and paste You must copy, cut and paste or when you go to filters you'll have the "whole" piece selected, rather than the area you want..Also, you must copy, cut and paste every time you do a new section of the stained glass piece. Now go to "filters" ,"render", "clouds" and finally "solid noise" which I couldn't, for some reason, fit into the screen shot. click "ok".


Now go to "colors" then "colorize" choose a different color for each pane, repeating the steps from where you used the magic wand to where you "colorized" till your piece is completely filled and that my friends is it! Easy as pie and such a great result.


The above illustration is the end result!

If you want you can do gray out lines instead of black and if you really want to get fancy you can darken the outside of the gray, blend it and then put a white highlight, the end result being a gray solder look.

There may be a slight bit of white around each piece. If so, and if you're are a perfectionist, like I try to be. Just thicken the black lines, which may also mean you have to repeat the steps for the outline. Or, you could cut out each pane, which is a pain. either way, I think the end result is a pretty cool and realistic looking stained glass piece. I hope you agree and make some great stained glass art. Good luck!

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Paul Ferland

New Guestbook Comments

anonymous on February 15, 2013:

Hey, this is great! Can't wait to try it. Thanks for sharing.

Paul Ferland (author) from Cumberland, Rhode Island on February 08, 2013:

@Natashalh LM: That is so, so great ! I just got this post in an email and you made my day/week even. Thank you ! Please pass it on and also, I'd love to see what you end up doing with it. Will you do that for me ?

Natashalh LM on February 08, 2013:

Awesome! This lens has exactly what I was looking for. Thanks!

theholidayplace on April 10, 2012:

brilliant, will test it this at home with some banners i got pending

SimplyTonjia on April 01, 2012:

Thank you so much, this is exactly the informtion I was searching for.

AskLou1 on March 27, 2012:

Wow, you made this look so easy! Thank you for sharing this! Great lens.

DebinSC on March 24, 2012:

Great tutorial!

anonymous on March 23, 2012:

Unique topic indeed, enjoyed seeing and reading about this.

anonymous on March 21, 2012:

Nice tutorial! Thanks for sharing. I'll have to try it out some time.

Paul Ferland (author) from Cumberland, Rhode Island on March 20, 2012:

@pixiecopley: I hope you'll share your results. Thanks for dropping by and the kind words!

Paul Ferland (author) from Cumberland, Rhode Island on March 20, 2012:

@animotaxis: Thanks and much luck with your endeavor!

Paul Ferland (author) from Cumberland, Rhode Island on March 20, 2012:

@ImaginaDesigns: Wow, mega inspirational boost from your comment, Thanks!

Paul Ferland (author) from Cumberland, Rhode Island on March 20, 2012:

@ObservationCreations: Thanks so much, glad you liked it!

ObservationCreations on March 19, 2012:

I tried it out while I read it, very easy to follow and the result was nice. Great job.

ImaginaDesigns on March 19, 2012:

Amazing tutorial! I can't wait to try this out. You're the best and my thanks for sharing with us all.

Pixie Copley from UK on March 19, 2012:

what a great lens! I love this effect, i'll have to give it a go!

animotaxis on March 19, 2012:

Good job, I am working on a stained glass series for fabric, hoping to have something in a few weeks in my zazzle shop too.

Paul Ferland (author) from Cumberland, Rhode Island on March 19, 2012:

@SuevianArts: SuevianArts, it's free @ good luck and thanks!

Paul Ferland (author) from Cumberland, Rhode Island on March 19, 2012:

@Brookelorren LM: Brookelorren, thanks for stopping by and commenting! I'm sure this is just as easy in photoshop. I'm not sure what filter you would use, or if they have anything equal to solid noise, but I'm sure they do.

Brookelorren LM on March 19, 2012:

I use Photoshop, but this looks pretty easy to do if you had that program. Good job.

SuevianArts on March 19, 2012:

I don't have Gimp (yet), but this sounds really easy and the result is very nice! Thanks for sharing it! :-)

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