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Gallery Glass Front Door Sidelights DIY

How to create the look of beveled glass on any window in your home for around $20. It is an easy, inexpensive and a fun project that adds a decorative element that can last a very long time.

Post Updated: 6/16/2021


I like making things – crafty things,  decorating things,  pretty things,  wearable things, and most of all thrifty things.

Sometimes I make things as a temporary “fix” thing, until I can afford to buy the “real” thing.

A few times when decorating my home, I have actually wasted my money on a “fix” thing or did something I should have saved my money on to put towards the so “desperately wanted” thing.

This post is not about something I made, but how a crafty “fix” turned into a positively “permanent” part of the foyer that made the plain glass sidelights and transom around the front door look like beveled glass using a craft store product.

I thought the faux beveled glass would only last a for a short time, but ended up lasting 22 years.

Front door decorating ideas
Gallery Glass Window Color in Clear on Door Sidelights and Transom

The photo above is the interior view of the front door of my previous house on a sunny winter’s day. It is hard to get a good photo since the light creates a glares on windows in photos. 

When I moved into this house over 20 years ago, I wanted to have sidelights of beveled glass surrounding the door. The door and sidelights that came with the house were nice, but plain.

I knew I didn’t want to cover them up with shirred fabric, blinds or shutters for privacy as that would block the light. 

Gallery Glass Crystal Clear Sidelights

I remember seeing a door with beveled glass at a local home improvement store and loving it.

Since we were in a brand new house with a brand new mortgage there was no way I could get a new door, since we already had a brand new door. Getting a new door would just have to be something I would put into my “someday” idea file.

Gallery Glass Sidelights

I tried a product called Gallery Glass Window Color to create the look of leaded beveled glass side lights and transom around the door.

Not too long after seeing the door I liked, I went to the craft store and stumbled upon a “new at the time” product called, Gallery Glass (this was back in the early 1990’s).

I read all the directions and a project book that I skimmed through while still in the store.

Most of the projects in the book were done in colored stained glass looks like church windows.

I didn’t like any of the designs, but did get an idea to use the crystal clear color and to copy the design from the door I liked.

Gallery Glass doesn’t cost a lot and doesn’t damage glass, so I figured I had nothing to lose.

Gallery Glass Window Paint and Liquid Leading

supplies needed:

Sidelight-pattern

Get the free printable of the design I used: Free Printable Sidelight Design

Time needed: 4 hours.

How to Make the Look of Clear Beveled Glass on Doors and Windows Using Gallery Glass

  1. Clean the Glass


    Clean the glass well with window cleaner and let dry.

  2. Choose a Design


    Size and make a photocopy of the design you want to use.

  3. Place Design


    On the outside of the windows, tape the design making sure it is straight.

  4. Apply Leading Lines


    On the inside of your window, follow the lines in your design and attach the easy to use leading strips.

  5. Fill In Design With Crystal Clear Gallery Glass


    Following the directions on the label, snip off the tip of the bottle’s applicator tip. Then starting from the top of each leading section of the design, using the tip of the bottle, fill in each section of the design by rubbing the tip against the glass in short vertical strokes.

    To simulate the look of clear beveled glass once you have one section filled with the Gallery Glass, drag a toothpick 1/4″ in from the leading and following the shape of each section in the design.

  6. Let Dry


    Once dry, you can clean the windows as you normally would. I used Windex and a paper towel.

Front-door-decorating-ideas-using-Gallery-Glass-window-color

Fast forward to when these photos were taken.  The sidelights still look as good as the day I put Gallery Glass on them 20 years ago.

Update:  I added two new photos to this post to show how it looks now that it has been 20 years since I did this.

I have cleaned the windows, they have gone through temperature extremes, and still look like new.

Plus, I checked to make sure it would come off if I no longer wanted the beveled look, it peels right off like a window cling does.

Total cost was under $15.00 – $30.00 depending on the size of your windows. 

Gallery Glass Window color in clear on front door sidelight
Gallery Glass on the transom above the door.

So my crafty” fix” became a pretty, thrifty, permanent, decorative thing.

Gallery Glass is sold at some craft stores and on Amazon.

Here is the Beveled Glass Design I Used

I drew this from a door I liked. Each section of the sidelights around my door were taller, so I added a section at the top and/or bottom of this design so it would fit each section.

How Gallery Glass looks from the outside

This is the exterior of my front door.  The Gallery Glass  is very subtle from the outside.  It was quite funny when one of my neighbors walked past my house after I finished the project and asked me when I got beveled glass in my sidelights? :-)

  • If you want to save a few dollars, Gallery Glass also makes a product called Simulated Liquid Leading. Like the pre-made strips it is not made of lead, it just looks like it. It was what I used at the time, but is not ideal. The pre-made sticky leading strips work much better.
  • Take a piece of 8-1/2″ x 11″ cardboard and cover it with a sheet of lined notebook paper and then place a sheet of plastic wrap over it.
  • Tape the excess plastic wrap to the back of the cardboard to make the plastic wrap smooth and tight over the lined notebook paper.
  • Create the leaded lines following the lines on the notebook paper. Once dry, the leading strips will peel right off the plastic wrap and you will be able to place them on your windows, even into curves and circles.
  • Another way would be to use your design under the plastic wrap and make intricate and curved lines. Once they are dry, peel them off the plastic wrap and place on your window.

Plaid Enterprises, the company that makes Gallery Glass is not paying or giving me anything to write this post.

This is truly a post about something I did a long time ago using what turned out to be a great craft product that has lasted a long time.

I thought that fact alone was worth posting.

If you can’t find Gallery Glass at your local crafts store, Amazon sells it. They have kits as well as individual bottles. 

How-to-make-faux-beveled-glass-with-Gallery-Glass-window-color.

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49 Comments

  1. I’ve been looking to do this to my windows for a long, long time. I started collecting the bottles of Gallery Glass at garage sales, etc., but I’ve never had the nerve to finally try the product until I read your story. I was shocked to see that your painted windows lasted nearly two decades! That’s what I’m looking for as I’m 77 years old and I don’t want to have to do this again. Here’s my one big question: ???? HOW DO YOU CLEAN THE INSIDE OF THE WIDOWS? IF YOU SPRAY GLASS CLEANER ON IT, DOES THE COLOR CHANGE OR COME OFF?

    1. Hi Pat – I am not certain how the color will hold up to cleaning, but I am pretty sure I remember reading in the directions when I first used Gallery Glass that you could clean it with window cleaner. I used clear Gallery Glass and didn’t use color, so I am not sure if you use a color if it will fade over time or if glass cleaner will effect the color. For my windows I just sprayed Windex on and wiped. It never damaged the Gallery Glass clear color or the leading.

  2. Glad you shared. I have been looking for a way to create a hanging look lead glass as privacy in my window. With your idea, a frame, and instructions, I am motivated to try my idea. Motivated to create.

  3. I love the way it came out. I’m getting a new door and plan on doing the same thing. I painted side panels already, which are still up & have lasted 8 years. A word of caution: if you paint glass with certain colors and it faces the sun, the red, yellow, & other colors will fade pretty quickly. I live in southern California & my house faces west, strong afternoon sun. I’ve fixed them but in no time they faded again. For anyone in this situation, I would recommend sticking with clear or frosted glass only. Otherwise I love this product and will definitely use it again.

    1. Hi Diane – Thanks for the tip on the Gallery Glass colors fading. I didn’t know that as I have only used the clear on my sidelights. It is a great product. Truly remarkable how well it holds up through freezing temps to 95+ degree days.

  4. Im looking for the templates that Plaid used to sell to create the look of beviled glass. I have a set but would like another. These allow more intricate designs with an unbeliveable beautiful result hard to tell that it isn’t actually expensive leaded, beviled glass.

    1. Hi Donna – Wow! I didn’t even know Plaid made and sold such a thing. I wish I knew about it back in 1994 when I used it to create the look of beveled glass. Sorry that I don’t know any resource for you on where you could find templates. Have you reached out to Plaid?

      I LOVE Gallery Glass and created so many things using it. Maybe someday they will bring it back with a twist for today’s decor and styles.

  5. I love the look of you door! I want to texturizer my french door but every square with different colors. Do I need to texturizer first and then color it or mix the crystal clear paint with the color?

  6. Can you put the colors directly on an installed door? Do they drip? I was waiting a video and they said you had to use the paints horizontally.

    I have a new house with a window in the middle of the length of the door and i need more privacy as its perfectly clear. I thought I would use the colors to create a mosaic.

    1. Hi Jen –

      Yes, you can use any of the colors of Gallery Glass on an installed door. That is what I did. I used the clear, in the door sidelights I show in the post, but in a previous home, I used the colors on an installed window. It came out beautifully. I have also done in on a surface that I worked on as it was laying on a table. It was easier to do, but when I did the vertical sidelights, I just needed to work from the top down and use the tip of the nozzle and or a toothpick to run through the paint to make sure I was applying it evenly so I didn’t get sagging. I do not think you should have any problems if you use the same product I did called, Gallery Glass Window Color. The nice thing about it is, if you don’t like it, you can peel it right off. On the sidelights in my post – it has stayed on even after cleaning the glass with window cleaner many times a year… for over 18 years. It is a great product.

  7. Hi Diane,

    If I use your suggestion on creating the design using a piece of plastic on top of the stencil and then remove it when dry, how does it adhere to the window? Also, what product did you use to get the slight crackle look? I don’t want to use color but need suggestions on achieving privacy on the window panels on each side of my front door. Thank you!

    1. Hi Loni – Sorry for the delay in responding to your question. I think I understand what you are asking. Whatever design you use, you tape the design to the outside of the window. It will be your guide on where to place the leading onto the window. Once the leading is on, you can remove your printed design.

      To get the crackle look, I used the same clear Gallery Glass color, but ran a toothpick through it following the shape of each shape in the design to create a beveled look.

      If you would like more privacy, mix the colors Clear and Snow White together. This will give you a bit more privacy. If you run a toothpick all through the Gallery Glass paint after you apply it, it will also create texture that will give the glass a textured look and help with privacy also.

  8. This is awesome! I swear I have the same stash of Gallery glass from back in 1999 stuffed in a box somewhere. I might have to pull it out and try this beveled glass idea with that awesome pattern you made!!!
    Thanks for the great post.

  9. OMG – this is GENIUS!!! I have a window over our tub that I really don’t want to cover completely but I also don’t want the neighbors to be able to really ‘see’ into. We are a floor up (raising Charleston home) but the neighbors who just moved in next door now sit in their rocking chairs on a deck that the former owners NEVER used. We’ve been in our home less than a year so I’m still tweaking (I’ll probably be indefinitely doing that actually) and just when I thought I had a solution of hanging old leaded glass windows (of about 18″ x 48″ ) side by side longwise I realized just how ‘spensive THAT was gonna be!!! So, now I think I can try to just find 1 or 2 window panels to more-or-less hang to look like art in that window and do a leaded glass ‘treatment a la Diane’ and I have my solution!!!!!!!! Can’t wait to buy the supplies and give it a try!!!!

    1. Hi Maria – It is one great product. If you can buy the leading strips pre-made that is the easiest way to go. When you buy the Liquid Leading in a bottle to make your own strips I have been told that there are no longer instructions on the bottle on how to make them. When I did it there was and I followed them.

      Here is the condensed version: Take a piece of cardboard and cover it with a sheet of lined notebook paper and then place a sheet of plastic wrap over it so it is tight. Create the leaded lines following the lines on the notebook paper. Once dry, the leading strips will peel right off the plastic wrap and you will be able to place them on your windows,even into curves and circles. Another way would be to use your design under the plastic wrap and make the curved lines. Once they are dry, peel them off the plastic wrap and place on your window.

  10. Hi Diane,

    This looks amazing! I have the same problem you had 16 years ago. I just bought a new house and moved in and our door and side windows are all builder specs as well. We can’t afford a ‘new’ new door, so I’m trying to look for ideas to give ourselves some privacy. The glass on my front door and side windows is double layered…I have one sheet of glass on the inside of the house, a plastic grid thing (to make it look like smaller windows within the frame) and then ANOTHER sheet of glass on the outside of the house. I’m wondering if the Gallery Glass would show through if I were to do it on the inside window? Just wondering if you had the same issue with your doors. Thanks!

  11. I created a gallery glass window that lasted for twenty years and would have lasted longer but we moved. It looked so real that people always thought it was stained glass. I love your beveled glass idea

    1. this is an awesome idea. I have a door window I was planning on painting a scene on, not quite sure what to use for paint for durability. your idea is so much better, hope I can find the materials at ac moore. thanks!!!!!

      1. Hi Mary Ann – If you can’t find Gallery Glass in the craft store, you can buy it on Amazon. Just type in the search bar for Gallery Glass Window Color.

  12. Thank you so much for creating this tutorial and including the pattern.
    I do have a question – “Can the Gallery Glass liquid be used on a existing installed window or does the window need to be removed and laid flat to apply?” Does it drip or run on a vertical window ?
    I do not have any experience with this product but I am in love with this classic beautiful look that could bring some frugal charm to my homestead.

    1. The Gallery Glass can be used on an existing window right in its place. It can be applied vertically – you do not have to lay it flat. You start at the top of the glass section you want covered. Apply the Gallery glass right from the bottle (snip nozzle cap to make a hole) and use a toothpick to move it to the bottom – no drips. If you mess up – let it dry and then simply peel it off.

  13. love the idea.can you please let me know step by step instruction and where can i buy this product.

    1. Hi Yamini – Most larger craft stores sell Gallery Glass. If you don’t have one near you – Amazon sells it. Here is a link – Window Color in Snow White – http://www.amazon.com/Plaid-16002-Gallery-Glass-2-Ounce/dp/B001685W12/ref=sr_1_19?ie=UTF8&qid=1360290847&sr=8-19&keywords=gallery+glass+window+paint

      Liquid Leading Strips –http://www.amazon.com/Plaid-Gallery-Glass-Liquid-Leading/dp/B000XZVZ06/ref=sr_1_23?ie=UTF8&qid=1360290847&sr=8-23&keywords=gallery+glass+window+paint

      To find pre-made leading strips or more colors of paint – type Gallery Glass into the search bar on the Amazon.com

  14. I absolutely love your door windows. I am trying to find something to put on my kitchen windows and so far no luck. I was just sent this site tonight and I am sure I am going to have a long relationship with it. I just hope I can do justice to the windows as you have. Beautiful.

  15. Wow! That is great. I have the “real thing” in mine and I certainly cannot tell that your’s were not made that way. You did a beautiful job. (My doors were here when I moved in, thank goodness. I would hate to know if I had paid thousands to put them in but could have had the same affect for $15!). thanks for sharing.

  16. I had no idea that Gallery Glass would last so well for so long. I figured it was more of a temporary thing. Now I REALLY want to do this on something!

    WOW!!!

  17. That is amazing! I had no idea you could do such a thing. What a nice way to give privacy and still allow light to pass through.

    Thank you for joining the party Diane!

  18. nice window and also its design you can make it more beautiful by use our paint to create decorative colored glass, industrial colored glass, architectural colored glass, and more.

  19. Stoped by after seeing your link on Funky Junk interiors, and thought WOW! I have wanted to do this but I was reading the instructions in the store, and they said that the project must lay flat. I assumed that was to keep the paint from running? Anyway, I was wondering how you dealt with that or if you had problems with that. I too have moved into a new home and after a harrowing builder fiasco, we didn’t have the money to do the windows on either side of the fireplace like I wanted to. I thought this might be a good project for that area. But the windows are not operable nor can they be removed. So I would have to work with them in place and upright. Any problems for you or any tips? I love yours and really would like to do this project.

  20. I looove your windows!!! I can see how your neighbor would think they were the real deal, they’re fabulous! I used this product years ago on an old bathroom medicine cabinet and it was beautiful until the day I put up an antique mirror to replace it! Thanks for the inspiration! Debbie @ Cottage Hann~Me~Downs

  21. I am still amazed at this transformation! You have done an amazing job! Thanks so much for joining the Sunday Showcase Party! I greatly apprecaite it! Hope you are enjoying your weekend! ~ Stephanie Lynn

  22. Hey Diane,
    Love your glass. I also did this in some sidelights at our church. It was for a brides room and we needed but also needed light. I must say yours look better then mine. I also love your black front door and kick plate. So rich looking!!
    ~C~

  23. How gorgeous and clever is that! It looks fabulous! I never even knew there was such a product! Would love to have you stop by the Sunday Showcase Party if you get a chance! You did a wonderful job on this!

  24. I say you got your moneys worth out of that! I had no idea it would last that long. It looks great! It’s a great solution for a bit of privacy but still getting all that light we all want. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog!

  25. Hi Jackie –

    You should try it on something. When I wrote my decorating book I used a discarded window sash to add the Gallery Glass as one of the book’s projects. I hung it on the wall as art.

  26. I remember my sister making some wall lights with this stuff, but those didn’t nearly look as real as your door windows.
    They look amazingly like the real thing (and I could now, I learned how to do the stain-glass window thing with real lead strips once upon a time)
    Very nice, very nice indeed.

  27. One of my friends used a floral design and added color in her bathroom window that was in a shower stall. Since she needed privacy and a fabric window treatment would not work in the space. Her efforts looked terrific and provided the privacy she needed.

  28. How funny. I did gallery glass in my powder room about ten years ago and forgot about it until I saw this post. I actually used a bit of color and they still look great too.