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The art of stained glass involves creating a design that will be pieced together from many small pieces of colorful glass. Stained glass as we know it today was first created about a thousand years ago for religious windows in Europe. At that time, the clear glass was colored with a stain.

Eventually, glassmakers were able to incorporate color into the glass by adding minerals and metals to hot glass. People who work in the medium of stained glass today don't necessarily make the glass themselves. Often, the glass is already made and ready for the stained glass artist to use. Cathedral glass, made by machine, is available in a variety of textures. Opalescent glass has a milky or marbleized appearance. Overlaying a layer of colored glass with frosted, clear, or amber glass creates an effect called flashed glass.

Glass can be etched or sandblasted to remove its outer layer, creating a design by revealing the layer below. While stained glass is most commonly associated with windows, other products made from stained glass include wall decorations, lamps, sun catchers (panels that are placed over windows), and ornaments. When illuminated from behind by light, stained glass adds a soft glow of color to a room.

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