How to Transfer Your Pattern To Stained Glass

You have your pretty new stained glass. You have your pattern. But how do you transfer your pattern to stained glass? 

How to Transfer Your Pattern to Stained Glass Mountain Woman Products pattern pieces on glass with a glass cutter

In stained glass, some things ya just have to do things a certain way or you’re going to end up with a hot mess, but patterns…

You can get your pattern onto your glass in a whole bunch of different ways!

What should you make your stained glass pattern out of?

Let’s discuss using paper, cardstock, vinyl, laminate, what markers to use, and which ones are easiest to transfer your pattern to stained glass.

Paper & Cardstock

Plain ‘ol printer paper works in a pinch.  

But if you’re going with the paper method, I prefer cardstock. It’s a stiffer material so it doesn’t flip up as easily when you’re tracing it. And you’ll be able to reuse them more times.

If ya have some old manila folders laying around, those work well too.

Quick Tip: If your paper pattern is sliding around on the glass when you’re trying to trace it, use a regular ‘ol glue stick to stick it down. Don’t worry, the glue easily washes off of your glass.



Laminate your pieces! This is my favorite method to transfer your pattern onto your stained glass because you can reuse your pattern pieces a zillion times (even if ya use the glue stick to hold them in place).

Laminating machines are pretty cheap, but if you don’t have one, you can make your own out of packing tape.

Scotch Thermal Laminator

The one I use isn’t available anymore, but this one gets great reviews.

*I may receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase through these links. My integrity cannot be bought, so I will never link to anything I don’t love &/or know to be quality.


Some people like cutting their patterns out of vinyl sticker paper & then running their glass cutter around it. 

The plus side of vinyl is you get to skip the tracing step.

The downsides are that your pattern pieces aren’t easily reusable. 

And you’ll likely end up grinding a bit more because it’s hard to keep your wheel right against the edge of the vinyl without running over it.

Note: If you run over the vinyl with your cutter, you’ll have to move the pattern piece & start your glass cut over in a different spot if you cut too far in or you’ll have a big gap between your pieces when you go to solder.

Oracal Removable Vinyl Sheets

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What Kind of Marker is best to Transfer Patterns to Stained Glass?

When you’re tracing your pattern onto your stained glass, the size of the marker tip can make a big difference in the fit of your glass pieces.

Use an Ultra Fine Tip Sharpie. The super little tip is much closer to the size of your glass cutter wheel so you’ll end up with much more accurate cuts than if you use a regular sharpie.

I prefer to use the blue color. If you adjust your light to the right angle, you’ll be able to see it on dark colored glass too.

I’ve yet to find an Ultra Fine white marker for dark glass that actually works, but when I do, you’ll be the first to know! 

Sharpie Ultra Fine Markers

How to Keep Your Pattern Lines From Rubbing Off of Your Stained Glass When Grinding

When you have enough water going to your grinder bit, you’re inevitably going to be losing some of your lines on your glass. 

Ya usually end up rubbing some of them off with your fingers while you’re holding the glass at the bit as well.

Fret not, we have options!

  • Lip Balm – rub some over your lines & they stay while ya grind. (Make sure ya mark it for glass only!)
  • Mark Stay – this product is designed for just this purpose. I’ve not used it before, but it has a good reputation.

You can often find Mark Stay at your local glass supply shop. There’s a listing of many at the bottom of My Favorite Tools & Supplies page.

The better you get at cutting, the less grinding you’ll have to do, and the less you’ll have difficulty with your lines coming off of your glass.

Like anything in stained glass, ya just keep getting better with time!

Peace, Love, & Stained Glass,

-Shannie 😃

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Learn to make beautiful Stained Glass Art with me!

Whether you’ve never touched a piece of glass before, or you’re ready to brush up your stained glass skills, I’m here for ya!

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