The ancient craft of making colored glass, cutting it into pieces to make intricate designs, then framing the pieces with heated lead began in Europe in the Middle Ages. A modern version is available to homeowners through a patented overlay system that uses everyday or tempered glass already in place. "It's bringing new light, color, attractive custom-design patterns and even a substantial boost in resale value to homeowners around the nation and in 21 other countries," says William Slippy Jr., executive vice president of Stained Glass Overlay of Irvine, Calif.
The process starts by positioning the desired design, on paper, on one side of a glass section, then cementing flexible lead strips into place by hand on the other, following the design lines.
Colored coverings _ translucently thin but durable _ are cut to fit, then cemented into place.
The new system, Slippy says, has led to an international franchise network of artisans who can create and install a customized stained glass overlay in a few days rather than weeks.