As part of our parent company Scottish Stained Glass, we here at Custom Stained Glass get to be part of some pretty amazing stunning historical stained glass restorations, repairs, and replacements. In 2020 we even got to take part in a stained glass window recreation at Sam Houston State University. We love these projects because it allows us to breathe new life into spaces like churches, synagogues, historic homes, and, like in this instance–universities

Replicating Sam Houston State’s Historic Stained Glass Windows

Sam Houston State University was founded in 1879 making it one of the oldest and most esteemed universities in Texas. So it has been in Texas for some time. Some of the original arched bricked structures still dot the campus but others have fallen prey to the ravishes of time. Sadly, in 1982, one of the buildings that were destroyed by fire also had lovely pieces of historical stained glass. This is why recently, SHSU decided to commission Scottish Stained Glass to recreate the lost window as a way to. commemorate their school motto “The measure of a Life is its Service”

Modern Technology for Restoring Stained Glass

Our first tactic was to implement modern technology. This meant scanning this picture into the computer. Once there we were able to print out a full-sized version and then with great care, we traced each sinewy line. This allowed us to be incredibly accurate with the design. Next, we rescanned the drawing and put it into our CAD program to resize again since the school requested a window twice the size. Sure the process was hard and time-consuming but it was worth it. The time and effort, aided by technology, paid off in beauty and accuracy!

Restoring Sam Houston State University’s Lost Stained Glass

The next major issue was trying to source glass colors used over 100 years ago! Color formulas go in and out of style and many are lost when the materials used in them no longer are made. Our approach was to have conservation specialists find colors that were very close to the originals. We then had our very talented stained glass painting artist paint on top of these colors for a perfect match to the original–an innovative and effective solution!

The Results of the Recreated Commemorative Stained Glass Window

The work on the SHSU recreation took us about a year. This is a fairly common amount of time for a large or detailed stained glass artwork. The windows ended looking lovely with deep and detailed shadowing in some areas that took ten layers to create. This lovely commemorative stained glass window also had over 3,000 individual pieces. Aesthetically speaking, the window looked exactly like the original down to the last brilliant hue. The entire university–from staff to students loved the new addition to their campus and even had a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the occasion. We could not be more proud of our work that is truly a feather in the cap of The entire Scottish Stained Glass family! This is due to the fact we take great pride in work.  

If you have a stained glass restoration or rebuild project we would love to speak to you about it too! Contact us at Custom Stained Glass today for a free consultation.

Martin Faith is a proud Scotsman, art connoisseur, and the owner of Custom Stained Glass. Martin learned how to make stained glass windows in Glasgow and possesses over 35 years of industry experience. After moving to the United States, he began selling items from his antique collection and opened his own studio. Today, his company produces some of the finest stained glass windows in the nation. Over the years, Martin's company has created more than 50,000 custom stained glass, beveled, and leaded glass windows for homes, churches, and buildings across the country.