Stained Glass Art Tips



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Cutting Glass

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Pricing Work



Down East Stained Glass










Havelock Mortuary Dove Window

62" x 98"


Pricing Stained Glass Work

Guide to setting prices for stained glass.

Determine what you are worth as well as your creative efforts.


  • Square Foot- Most studios have a basic idea what to charge for their work based on a square foot calculation. This is determined by comparing average charges for similar items made in the past. Most clients are comfortable with a price range where calculating your custom work is more accurate when a piece count can be made. Basically this is determined after a full size draft of the proposed window is made and an actual piece count is done. This is where you determine what your work and efforts are worth. Calculations are also based on how difficult or easy the pattern is which is often debated amongst studios to the accuracy of.


  • Intricacy of Pattern- A pattern with many hard cuts and difficult glass to work with justifies additional costs added to the panel. You may do this by adding charges by the square foot to a base cost. Smaller pieces of glass in a window adds to the overall piece charge but in actuality can be less labor intensive than larger pieces of the same design. This theory of per piece charge calculation in respect to piece size is mostly debated. To play it safe, put more weight to a square foot charge. This will compensate your additional efforts using larger pieces of glass.


  • Additional Costs- Procedures involving painting, plating, decorative lead work, sandblasting, using expensive glass and beveled glass in a window requires additional cost consideration. For labor related charges again this is where you determine your worth. Calculations based on previous similar work will be a guide to figure out a time value. Material charges are normally added at 150% above cost to cover your expenses.


  • Formula and Estimates- Each studio has their own unique cost base formula. Opinions on pricing stained glass is quite broad in respect to how and what to charge for your work. Base a formula on what you feel your work is worth. Unless you have never done a stained glass window to base an accurate labor charge you need to at the least make a window and take notes on how long you spent working on it. After sucessfully charging an apropriate rate for your work, including material costs, you can only then estimate what a similar panel will cost.

Example window: 2' x 4' (8 square foot) You charged $400. It is very safe to calculate a new project of similar design and material use at $50/ square foot. If the new panel requires additional piece work you can simply explain to your perspective client that your previous window costs are $50/ square foot and with additional work you expect cost to range in the $75 - $80/ square foot. If the new panel is 10 square foot, you can confidently say the cost will range $750 - $800. If a negative response is made by your client that your cost calculations may be a little high you can simply explain making the window with less detail just like the original panel will cost them $500. In most cases customers decide to go somewhere in the middle. This is where you have the challenge of creating a design that is slightly more detailed than the original. Easy options are available such as adding border work or other accents. With the new window made you can now estimate future work based on your new square foot charges.

Square Foot Formula- Width x height in inches divided by 144.


Pro Tip: Weighing projects and determining a cost per ounce or gram guide is extremely accurate for appropriate charges on small items.

Myth: Charge less for lead work than foiled work because it is easier. Fact: This may be true for easy shapes like square borders and large pieces where foiling involves soldering and lead skills are at at a minimum. However... Intracate lead work and intense mitering can be both time consuming and require additional skills to achieve. Lead work requires higher accuracy demands from the glass cutter as compared to foiled work where tolerances are a bit more relaxed. The argument suggests that lead will compensate for a less perfect cut but actually the reverse is true, especially when the widow is of moderate or intracate design.
A good example is the window on the left to illustrate the foil vs. lead debate. The outer border areas are easier to do with lead except for the exact mitering needed around the diamonds. The choice was lead for the uniform lines not for ease of use. The inside areas including the dove and flowers were also done with lead but would have been alot easier to do using copper foil. Lead was chosen for it's consistancy with traditional stained glass use and durability (less brittle) over foil. The lead used for the finer detail consists of 1/8" and 3/16". Exact cutting skills were needed as well as extensive mitering.