Arched Stained Glass

Drew Hoopingarner and his team from Southport Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, IN wanted to create a cathedral look for their worship center for the Advent Season.

They started off by having the artist on the team draw the design of each of the stained glass windows. She drew them to scale so they were 6’’x12’’ on paper, but in real life they would be 6’x12’. She also colored in her drawings to create a key for adding the colored panels to the stained glass.

Tree – History – Matthew (130 cutouts)
Cross – Repentance – Mark (90 cutouts)
Angel – Worship – Luke (118 cutouts)
Hands – Relationship – John (115 cutout)

The next step was to take those images and split them into three sections horizontally. This way, they could trace the images on ½’’ pink insulation foam. In the end, each window had three pieces of foam stacked horizontally on top of each other. After they traced the foam pieces, they took a jig saw with a fine blade and cut out all of the shapes that would create the stained glass. Then they spray painted the whole window black so it would look like the lines in stained glass.

While they worked on that, a separate team built the frames for the windows. They used plywood, 2×4’s, melamine board, and lots of screws. The frames were built in two halves then fastened together once they got them in the room. They were about 7’ wide by 13’ tall. The frames were 3D so each side was about 6’’x6’’x4’’. The frames were painted with a light grey paint and sponged with a darker grey paint to give texture. They added a piece of 2×6 to the bottom of each of the windows to keep the two halves together and so they could mount to the stage.

Meanwhile back at the windows, the team was busy putting material behind each part of the stained glass. They used a material called gossamer from Using a low temp hot glue gun, they cut each shape and glued the material to the frame. They played around with doubling some of the colored fabrics to create more vibrant colors and avoid transparency.

After the windows and frames were done, they fit the foam pieces into each of the frames. Where the pieces of foam came together, they added a piece of 1×2 painted black to hide the seam. They fastened the foam pieces with drywall screws and washers to the back of the wood frame. Lastly, they added a white paint tarp over the back to achieve the desired lighting effect.

The big arch in the middle was made to fit around our screen. The arch was about 14’ wide and 15’ tall. They taped the arch out on the floor and then used plywood and 2×4’s to build it. They added the stained glass at the top and bottom to tie everything together. They mounted LED light bars on the inside of the arch where the stained glass was to make it light up.

The final touch to the project was perfecting the lighting. They used 4 – 75 watt flood lights behind each of the windows. Then they used round LED lights to up light each side of the windows.

This project was a big undertaking for the team. They started working on this at the beginning of October and worked every weekend all the way up to Thanksgiving. There was well over 450 hours put in on this set. The cost of the set was about $650-$700.

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One response to Arched Stained Glass

  1. This is absolutely wonderful! I work at a facility with handicapped individuals. we are looking for a set for our upcoming Christmas program. I have very little to spend. How expensive and how hard was this to complete. We all just love it.

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