Stained glass on cabinet door

criticalmass048October 24, 2009

I've made a custom cabinet above our refrigerator for pots, pans, baking sheets, etc. My wife told me it would be great if I could use a 16" round piece of stained glass in the doors, so I custom made the doors as well.

The next question was, illuminate or not? I put my worklight behind it, and it was very pretty, but too bright for a kitchen. Of course, if we use any light at all, I have to run electricity, and I don't think it would be worth the hassle just for a 3W bulb!

Also on the "con" side, it would probably be a smart idea to protect the back side from accidental dings from pots and pans, which would prevent light from coming through.

I came up with an idea, and figured I would come here for opinions! If I cut a piece of plywood to protect the back of the stained glass, is there some kind of glow-in-the-dark paint that I could use that would reflect a dull glow from behind? Or maybe someone else did something similar and there's some other idea I"m not thinking of?

Thanks in advance!


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If you absolutely don't want to have to run electricity then you always have the option of a push light that can be mounted to the underneath part of the shelf right above the door glass. To protect the glass you can also mount a piece of plexi glass over the back of the glass. However, if you aren't apposed to running electric then string lights would probably be a good choice.


    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 12:55PM
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I think your wife is right. It might be a lot of work but I think it would be worth the effort of running the electricity. Stained glass is always more beautiful with light shining through it. If you feel it is necessary to protect the glass with a piece of plywood, maybe you could run rope lights around the perimeter first.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 6:12PM
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I vote lights around the perimeter... a photo would be nice to see as well...

    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 11:21PM
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I too would like to see a picture...please...but I also agree if your gonna take the time to customize do it right and all the way!!!!! The extra time is always worth it. My hubby and I have spent a long time and will spend a lot more time customizing our home. And we have always found if we take short cuts it just isn't right. We have found doiong it right the first time saves a LOT of time redoing the wrong way!!!! Anyway my vote is for elec. and lights, you won't be sorry I;m just sure of please

    Bookmark   October 28, 2009 at 2:12AM
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I would love to see a picture!
If you decide not to put a light behind it, how about covering the plywood tin foil or something like that?
You would just have to be careful not to wrinkle it I guess.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 11:56AM
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Thank you all for your interest and suggestions!

We have decided to go with the rope lighting! I also purchased a dimmer switch to go with it* so once it's all up, we can adjust the brightness. A lot of work and money is going into this thing, so I hope the wife appreciates it!

With luck, I should at least have a complete, functional, and lit (but unfimnished) cabinet door to show you by tomorrow evening! Make sure you check back!

* For future reference, the man at the Electrical Dept at the home improvement store wasn't sure the dimmer would work. Reason being that the rope light is made of LEDs, and only draws 1.5 watts, whereas normal dimmer switches are designed for higher wattages, like 25E-100W bulbs, and the fear was that if the power drops below a certain percentage, they just may not work at all. This made sense to me, however, I have already installed the dimmer switch on the rope lighting and can assure you it works fine!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 3:49PM
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I thought I had posted these Sunday night, but I guess I never hit the Submit button!

This is the door above the fridge (or rather, the hole that will soon contain the new fridge. The first hard part was how to keep the glass inside from the front. I originally went with an octagonal frame and thought it looked quite nice, but of course, wifey didn't like the fact that with the octagon, you could see parts of the 3/4" brown glass boarder. She said I either had to show all or none of the border, because eight little chunks in the corners didn't look right. Sigh. I then had to figure out how to cut a perfect circular frame of exactly the right outer diameter (17") and the right inner diameter (15.5"). The next trick was, how do I center a single piece of stained glass? I would either have to make two doors and have it off-center, or else make one big door, and put the hinges on the top.

I went with neither. I had one big door, one small door, and then I make the left side look exactly like the right side, right down to the "cuts" between pieces of decorative trim. With the removal of three screws, the stained glass can come right out and be replaced with one the same size (the wife has 5 different pieces, all the same size). If desired, with only a little more work, the whole plywood panel can come out of the frame, and a new "hole" can be cut for a different size/shape.

This is what it looks like with the light behind it at the power she likes. Of course, I had to take 10 pictures with my camera before I even got one this good. She likes it at about 50% power, just so that it's a slight glow coming from behind. Me, I would turn it all the way up, but then again, I build this for her, not for me, so she can do what she wants!

Thank you again for all your suggestions and interest!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2009 at 8:51AM
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GOOD GRIEF!!! You're a genius! It's absolutely BEAUTIFUL. Your cabinetry is a work of art in itself. Did you/your wife make the stained glass? It's also very beautiful. You must be very proud of this work. W/you continue the theme throughout the rest of your kitchen cabinets? Take a bow - it's lovely. You are very talented.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2009 at 9:00AM
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OMG IT IS BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!! I had to LOL when I was reading this. You sound just like my hubby. We just built our new home ourselves from concrete floor of shop below right on up to our home above. His words was I'll build your house anyway you want. But while building he mumbled those same words "I would just do it this way but the wife wants it this way!!!!! Words of a smart man I say!!! LOL!!!
That is just the coolest door and what beautiful work you have done. When it is stained and finished that Rooster's gonna crow right off the cabinet. Are you custom making all your cabinets?? Aren't you glad you put light? It's truly gorgeous!!! Very nice JOB!!!! Custom sure takes more time but so WORTH the extra effort when it's done. Please continue to post pics as we are all pic fanatics and love to see beginning to end projects.....Bet your wife just loves you about now!!!!!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2009 at 12:58PM
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Thank you so much for the kind words!

Actually, the glass was purchased from a Value City department store years ago. My wife somehow got the idea to make a door out of one of them, and told me, "You'll figure it out". She likes to come up with crazy ideas, and then expects me to figure out how to do it!

I actually wouldn't have the time and effort to custom-make all the cabinets. To tell you the truth, I have no idea how I even built this one so well! I've never had any formal training in this sort of thing; everything I know came from books, the internet, TV, and just plain trial and error. Fortunately, I still have all my appendages as well! I can usually figure out how to do anything, it's just a question of how much time it will take me. It may not be the fastest or the best way, but it will get done! It usually goes something like this:

Sandy: "I want you to do ______"
Greg: "I don't know how to do that."
Sandy: "Well learn!"
Greg: (later in the week) "Ok, I've looked into it, and really, I can't do it."
Sandy: "Yes you can."
Greg: "No I can't"
Sandy: "Well then bring home more money, because I'm going to hire someone who can"
(Greg sighs, and goes back to the drawing board)

That's what happened the one day I came home from work and found two men installing a laundry chute going from the second floor into the basement. Whatever she wants, she'll find a way to get it!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2009 at 2:27PM
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LOL!!!!!! Toooo funny!!!! Sounds like here for sure!!!!!Maybe you missed your calling. You do some fine wood work!!!!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2009 at 4:18PM
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