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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

More on Laurie's Gallery Glass Nameplate Gift

Laurie, our friend from South Carolina, shared this thoughtful gift with us last year along with a tip about leading. Since then, we have devoted a lot of space to Leadng Tips, but I'm not sure we have eliminated any "Outlining stress" for anybody. But I thought you might be interested in seeing the project and then hearing what has come about from Laurie's extension of human kindness.

Help from the "Hopeful"

"I wanted to share a gift I did for some good friends of mine. They had recently purchased a commercial fishing boat (a life long dream). The boat's name is 'Hopefull' and the nautical flags represent their initials. I found the patterns (for the Star/anchor and light houses) surfing the Internet. All the leading (except for HOPEFULL) is Redi-Lead. I did figure out that if I put leading in a smaller bottle (old GG paint bottle) I have better control. Baby Steps!

And today I got this request in an email:
"My friends that I gave the 'HOPEFULL ' sign to want to insert the piece into a door. Their thought was to cut a hole in their current door and sandwich the GG Piece I made between panes of glass, so that the piece would be protected from both sides. The door is their front door and they live in Rhode Island (cold, damp and humid). The door is on a protected porch. The door does not get direct sunlight. I told them I didn't think it would work because GG can't handle humidity. But my friend begged me to ask."

I have an opinion, and it isn't worth much. Of course, NOBODY knows how the combination of humidity, temperature and sunlight will affect this particular unique location. Only time will tell, but here are my answers based on prior experience.
A. It makes a difference whether the painting is on plexiglas, or glass. If it is on glass, the glass will forever expand and contract with temperature changes--expand with heat, contract in cold. That constant expansion and contraction will cause the Gallery Glass to "crack" over time, if not the first winter, then by the next.
If the paint is on plexiglas, this cracking effect will probably NOT happen for 2 reasons. One, plexi doesn't expand and contract as much as glass--maybe not at all, since it will be warmed on one side by the interior of the home. Two, the paint chemically bonds to the plexi because they are very similar--chemically. Gallery Glass can't bond to glass--it is only "floating" on top. Laurie, is it glass, or is it plexi?
B. The temperature and humidity is a problem. Gallery Glass will forever take on moisture during humid times. That's one reason that it works so well for Suncatchers--it helps them remain flexible over a long period of time, rather than getting brittle after curing. But this tendency to take on moisture could be a problem, even though it is protected by a pane of glass in front and back (see Greenhouse Effect). If the temperature is 0 degrees outside, the R factor of glass is so low that it won't be much warmer inside the protective pane of glass. Cracking might still occur.
C The "Greenhouse Effect" is a name that we give a condition that traps humidity inside a closed environment--like the sandwich of glass her friends are proposing. The humidity would get in because of condensation, but couldn't get out, once it was in there. I think that it would cloud up on the inside and there wouldn't be any way to clean it off.

So here's my suggestion, based on the conditions you described. I would do the reverse design (mirror image) to what you are seeing in the picture --on a piece of 1/8" plexiglass cut to the size that will work best in their door. And then they can install it in the door with the paint facing the inside of the house. The back side will be smooth, but once all the paint was dry, I would turn it over and --using Redi-Lead--I would outline JUST THE LEAD LINES (no paint), so that the main lines of the design stick out on the back. This will make the door insert look much better from the outside when visitors come up on the porch. This shouldn't be too hard, Laurie admits that she did the original design with Redi-Lead. I would even put the HOPEFUL on the back side with Liquid Leading--lining everything up as perfectly as possibly using the completed piece as a guide. The width of the plexi will almost disappear and it will look very much like a real the H channel came leading on a real stained glass window--which only has texture on one side--the back side is smooth because most all stained glass is hand-rolled. The Redi-Lead outline that will face the weather should be impervious to humidity and temperature. And if there ever IS any damage, the leading strips can easily be replaced because it is just adhesive backed strips that have a weather resistant adhesive on them. The pretty painted part of the design is all INSIDE the house where it is warm and toasty! But the wonderful thing is--it will look the same in the daytime, and at night it will give a beautiful view to neighbors. The bad news is--I would do the design one more time--and create a custom insert for the "door makeover".

What do you think, folks? Your opinion is as good as mine. I've never lived in Rhode Island, but I've lived in Grand Forks, ND and I can tell you--that cold weather is brutal! 



  1. Carol - thanks so much for the information. I did the peice on glass, not plexi. I have forwarded your comments to my friends. I have offered to do a new plexi window for them but I left the decision totally up to them. I will keep you posted.

  2. If I were them, I would hang the wonderful piece that you did for them in a sunny window and start over planning a door insert using the design--scaled to size and shape. I have done many doors, but I usually put them on thin plexi on the inside of the piece of glass that is in the door already, with a point gun--OR I start from scratch with a new door and remove the molding and use thicker 1/4" plexi (rather than 1/8") for the insert. The lite for a door needs to be a little heavier to withstand the inevitable "slamming" of the door from family members. The Redi-Lead outlining on the outside is not as realistic, however, when there is 1/4" of plastic in the middle. Good luck with your project and thank you for sharing it with us.