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We all want to save money or we are so in love with our stained glass we want to use all of it. Mosaics are not the only ways to use your small pieces. There are other options that allow you to still use them for stained glass.

First, you can start with the pattern you choose. Big pattern pieces create big scrap. A tiffany style pattern with many small pieces will end up with less scrap because you can use a lot of your smaller scrap pieces to begin with. This style of window or lamp can be daunting to look at but you can, many times, interchange the glass so that you can use little bits of different colored scrap. For example, this cherry tree doesn’t have to have only one kind of white and only use it where the pattern suggests. You can add different shades of white, ivory and even brown to use up some of your scrap. Which will give you more realistic tree because you see all of those colors in real life.

Second, you can find a pattern that has multiple colors already and adapt it further. This Mount Rainier pattern is great for adding arbitrary colors. You can either fill the pattern entirely with random colors or just a few pieces of random color. Here I’ve changed the pattern and added just a few haphazard colors on the top mountain. The bottom reflection is unchanged so that you can see the difference and I think it still looks amazing.

Another way to adapt a pattern is to make more pieces from a larger piece. A butterfly pattern can be cut to fit all your random small pieces and colors. Lay your pieces out and draw lines where this and that unplanned shape will fit. This creates a patchwork effect that can be really fun. The way to make this still look right is to not make every piece a different color. You can see here that I used balance by making the outer border only black and brown (use can use any colors) but I didn’t use those colors on the inside. Then I made sure to use the same color on each side of the wings somewhere to add extra balance. This makes it feel intentional and not just messy. This technique will take a little planning but is a great way to use up all of your scrap and is very impressive when you’re done.

These are window panels that you can make in stages as you have extra scrap. If you are selling them don’t discount them remember how much time and forethought goes into this technique. And you are saving your scrap from a trash fate.

Small pieces are more time consuming but not necessarily harder. The work and thought you put into a piece will show through. And remember when you’ve finished a new stained glass window you get a sense of accomplishment that nothing else can compare.

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