Not sure what to do with this window

I salvaged two of these windows from my beloved aunt's house when she passed away. They look like they have many coats of old varnish on them and caked with smoke. I thought that I would strip, and varnish them and then stain the glass. I would them hang them in a window. Does anyone else have any thoughts on what I could do with them?
q not sure what to do with this window, crafts, repurposing upcycling, windows, woodworking projects
q not sure what to do with this window, crafts, repurposing upcycling, windows, woodworking projects
  49 answers
  • Vicki Vicki on Feb 15, 2015
    those are gorgeous; interested to find out what you do

  • Rosey Rosey on Feb 15, 2015
    @janet chambers A friend of mine who owns and old family farmhouse kept sine old windows and showcases family photos behind the glass. She left the windows as they are, being antiques, and hangs them on the wall.

  • Janet chambers Janet chambers on Feb 15, 2015
    Thanks! I would leave them how they are because I know they are very old but someone has already varnished the heck out of them and pretty much slopped it on. I don't know about putting photos behind because the glass is kind of frosted.

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    • Janet chambers Janet chambers on Feb 15, 2015
      @Rosey sorry, I should have told you the size..they are 17x23. Probably not big enough for a privacy screen. I like the picture idea. The pics. won't slip beneath. The old varnish has filled in the windows.

  • Jean Vercler Jean Vercler on Feb 15, 2015
    I like your idea of stripping them and the staining the glass! those are REALLY pretty! can't wait till you post after pictures!!

  • PattyV PattyV on Feb 15, 2015
    I would make a three sided light using the two windows for the side pieces and a solid board for the back. Create a raised platform in attached amount an inch up for the bottom and attach a light. I'd do a light sanding on the wood just to clean it up a little. A razor blade will clean up an varnish on the windows.

  • Terryfuntash Terryfuntash on Feb 15, 2015
    put a picture of your grandmother in the large center, and put family photos in the smaller ones

  • Kerri Kerri on Feb 15, 2015
    I was given a pair of old windows = small ones about 12 x 16 with coloured glass in them I cleaned the glass gently and cleaned the wood, it was painted white a century or more past and one side had been shaved with an old plane. I considered refinishing the wood, then decided not to monkey in case something happened to the glass -- using strong brass wire and eyelet screws I hung them in windows where they catch the sun during the day -- wonderful reminder of the time 150 years ago when the sisters who taught in the school up the street lived in the convent next to it and these little windows cast light into their chapel I imaine.

  • Kerri Kerri on Feb 15, 2015
    I also have several old windows of aged pine with Clear glass, albeit flawed with strawmarks and bubbles. A rather interesting hangs in another window while the rest are picture frames -- but if they had not clear glass this would not work. for these windows, try using lacquer thinner on the wood... it should help.. they would not look right with new wood from being stripped but the lacquer thinner usually eats through layers of varnish

    • Janet chambers Janet chambers on Feb 15, 2015
      @Kerri would the lacquer thinner harm the windows? I don't know a lot about working with wood.

  • Pamela Golden Pamela Golden on Feb 15, 2015
    Beautiful windows. Lowes would be a good place to get the proper advise on how to "clean up" wood. When this smoked glass is cleaned I would etch the first letter in your last name in the large center pane on both windows then hang them in windows with sunlight streaming in.

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    • Pamela Golden Pamela Golden on Feb 16, 2015
      @Janet chambers Michael's or AC Moore have kits to etching on glass. I'm glad you liked my idea, I just think it will agree the time period and look authentic. Good luck, would love to see the finished product.

  • Jilene Williams Jilene Williams on Feb 16, 2015
    If they are strong enough, you could build a table with them and lay a piece of glass on top to protect them and use as the table surface. If the table was made high enough, it could be used in the entryway of your home and become a beautiful focal point.

  • Luisa Simeoni Luisa Simeoni on Feb 16, 2015
    Wonderful windows!! I would strip and varnish them and also clean the glasses. Afterwards I would apply a beautiful stencyl on the center and hang then on the wall as a piece of art . I don't like the idea of the pictures.

  • Valerie Valerie on Feb 16, 2015
    They are beautiful. I would keep them the way they are, and use them as a photo gallery, including some of your best-loved photographs of her. I am sure that it would be simple enough to do. Probably screw on a backing board, and add hooks for hanging.

  • Liliana Wells Liliana Wells on Feb 16, 2015
    These are beautiful. I like the idea of stripping the varnish and cleaning the glass to start. The idea of etching the glass is also intriguing. There are etching kits available. This is permanent and you should practice on a piece of glass you don't care to damage if you make a mistake. You could also make entryway table(s) with them if you could build or find a base for them. Please post pictures of what you decide.

  • Donna Gadbaw Mitchell Donna Gadbaw Mitchell on Feb 16, 2015
    Midge Podge different colors of torn tissue paper to simulate stained glass or put pics of family in each pane or put a beautiful print of art or an outdoor scene behind it.

  • Elena Carlucci Elena Carlucci on Feb 16, 2015
    Stain the glass and hang them where there is much light.

  • Kathy Stallo Kathy Stallo on Feb 16, 2015
    I would shabby s. the frame. Then, one thought: there is glass paint, a little pricey. I would 'doodle it'

  • Kathy Stallo Kathy Stallo on Feb 16, 2015
    My second thought. I had an old window. I dried the flowers from my husbands funeral. I made a backing, cardboard covered with material and used the dried flowers. I think it may be on my pinterest page, under 'my creations board'

  • Jean Blakeley-Cook Jean Blakeley-Cook on Feb 16, 2015
    Consider mosaic and grout with tile grout

  • Diymama1 Diymama1 on Feb 16, 2015
    This window is Absolutely beautiful

  • Janet chambers Janet chambers on Feb 16, 2015
    Thank you all for your wonderful suggestions! I really like the mosaic idea. I think I have decided to strip, varnish, paint a picture of an angel on the middle pane and then I am going to fill in the rest of the windows with pieces of colored glass. I will attach hangers to each side and hang them in a large window side by side. My sister has the bottoms to these two windows and I am trying to talk her out of them! I'll posts photos when I finish one! Again, thanks for all of your help.

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    • Janet chambers Janet chambers on Feb 16, 2015
      @Marlene Wilson I ask my sister today and she says she doesn't have them. My aunt's daughter still lives in the house, would it be tacky for me to ask her for them? They are just sitting in her basement. That is how I got the tops, helping her roommate clean out the basement and she told me to take them if I wanted.

  • Mary cynova Mary cynova on Feb 16, 2015
    you have the right idea.pieces of stained glass could be placed over the existing glass.

    • Janet chambers Janet chambers on Feb 16, 2015
      @Mary cynova Thanks! I'm not going to put stained glass over the glass, I am going to actually paint the glass itself.

  • 75591 75591 on Feb 16, 2015
    I have read through the suggestions and think yours sounds the best. If you can get stained glass on them somehow that would be beautiful.

  • LKloehn LKloehn on Feb 16, 2015
    Alcohol paint is looks like stained glass...and for the wood, if you strip it and do not like the color it turns out to be, use chalk paint...It's wonderful to work with and you wouldn't have to strip the stain if you didn't want to.....

    • Janet chambers Janet chambers on Feb 16, 2015
      @LKloehn I've never heard of alcohol paint, sounds interesting. I have already stripped the old varnish, sanded and stained one of them (the same color) and it looks beautiful! I'm snowed in so I glad I have this project to do.

  • Janet chambers Janet chambers on Feb 16, 2015
    Pamela, I may try etching another time on something else. I am an artist and have decided to sketch my aunt's face right on the glass in the center, then paint the rest of the glass with stained glass paint. I have already removed all of the old varnish, sanded and restained one of the windows and it looks beautiful! I'm working on trying to get the bottoms of the windows!

  • Sandra Sikes Sandra Sikes on Feb 16, 2015
    Clean the varnish and smoke off especially the glass. There are vinyl in different colors that are used for clings. They would make a great faux stain glass window and I would use it as a suncatcher in a sunroom or porch, anywhere sunny. That way the windows aren't harmed and can bbe used for something else in the future. I love old items and these are lovely but I like to see natural wood grain and color so I would strip wood and maybe stain depends whats under it. Have fun and anything you do you will probably love.

    • Janet chambers Janet chambers on Feb 17, 2015
      @Sandra Sikes Thanks so much Sandra. I like the mirror idea. I may put one in the middle pane only and stencil it.

  • Carol Carol on Feb 16, 2015
    I would refinish the wood abd replace the glass with mirrors and hang them side by side over a dresser or breakfront or above a hall table or above a bed or above night stands.. I love these windows and can picture them above my 66" long dresser.

  • Denise King Denise King on Feb 16, 2015
    It would make a beautiful family picture frame

  • LKloehn LKloehn on Feb 16, 2015
    It has been a long time since I used alcohol paints and I didn't use them on glass....I used it on a painted surface and I made my own using acrylic paint and rubbing alcohol. But I just recently saw samples on Pinterest. And here is an artist that shows you what to do, but she doesn't explain it.... Practice on other glass, so you know what techniques you would like to use on your final project....I believe I saw some for sale at Michaels...(we don't have a local I can tell you for sure...)

  • Janet chambers Janet chambers on Feb 17, 2015
    Thanks so much! I do a lot of practice before I do anything final...I tried to watch the video but it said "unavailable at this time." I'll try to catch it tomorrow.

  • LKloehn LKloehn on Feb 17, 2015
    Hmmm, I wonder what is up with that, because I just watched it again...another site to try is I don't know if you are familiar with Pinterest, so if you are not, click on it once and then when it is brought up you can either click on the picture again or click on "go to site"...and it should give you directions on how to do it....

  • Brenda Pippin Brenda Pippin on Feb 17, 2015
    why not just add a little hardware, some wire and hang them on your wall. I think they would be a very nice display.

  • LKloehn LKloehn on Feb 17, 2015
    Please show us when you are done!

  • Tammy Sheppard Tammy Sheppard on Feb 17, 2015
    I like the stained glass idea. I would go a little further and use that as a hanging light shade...

  • Camille Carlin Camille Carlin on Feb 17, 2015
    Please share your finished project. The windows are wonderful.

  • Janet chambers Janet chambers on Feb 17, 2015
    I would be happy to post a photo when finished so that you can see them! I'm going to hang them on my back double doors so the light shines through them. The wood part is finished, just waiting for them to dry. In the meantime, I will work on what I want to put in the center pane. I think I will put my last initial in the center in one color and then frost behind it. Thanks again to everyone here for your great suggestions!

  • Margie Margie on Feb 17, 2015
    @janet chambers I think I would use these 2 beautiful windows to create a unique headboard for a guest room by mounting them into a larger wooden frame with a spacer board in the center to separate the two (according to the size of bed you have). Of course you would need to clean the glass carefully using a razor blade scraper and a light sanding on the wood part to remove some of the excess varnish. I love the idea of the etched glass idea and the photo ideas also. Please share an 'after' photo of whatever you decide to do with them ...old doors & windows (of any size) always catch my eye!

    • Janet chambers Janet chambers on Feb 17, 2015
      @Margie Thanks Margie. We will be moving soon and already have too many beds. If I keep them their normal size, I can carry them anywhere. Thank you for the great sugggestion.

  • Mary Infante Mary Infante on Feb 17, 2015
    Have you thought about mounting copies of treasured family photos in some of the panes? Just to kind of link them to your aunt. Whatever you decide to do, they are beautiful pieces!!

    • Janet chambers Janet chambers on Feb 17, 2015
      @Mary Infante Yes, I thought of using photos but I want to hang them from my back double doors so that the light shines through them. Thanks so much!

  • Janet chambers Janet chambers on Feb 19, 2015
    Phase I complete! Stripped, sanded and revarnished, then came the cleaning of the glass. Cleaning the years of smoke and dirt off of the glass took longer than the whole staining process. They are so beautiful!

  • Janet chambers Janet chambers on Feb 25, 2015
    The first window is finished! I will start on the other one next week when I get back from vaca. If you enlarge the photos, you can see more of the detail. I took this photo on a table and you can see my porch furniture legs behind the center but you can see the window well. I will think of my blessed Aunt every time I look at them and treasure them always. A big thank you to all of you and your wonderful suggestions! I will post a final photo when both are hung properly. What do you think?

  • LKloehn LKloehn on Feb 26, 2015
    Neat...what did you do to the center part?

  • Janet chambers Janet chambers on Feb 26, 2015
    Thanks! I stenciled the center with a black paint pen, and did the colors with stained glass paint. The center of the sun and the decoration around it is done in clear stained glass paint. The stained glass paint I used is not smooth but "bumpy" giving it more of a 3D look.

  • Linda Fraser Linda Fraser on Feb 26, 2015
    (Stain glass) I would get some glass paint and paint each sections a different colors. Put 2 I hooks in the top and add a thin chain and hang it in a window.

  • Janet chambers Janet chambers on Feb 26, 2015
    Linda, that is exactly what I did! See photos, thanks

  • Ellen Killeen Kroliczak Ellen Killeen Kroliczak on Mar 02, 2015
    Would make beautiful cabinet doors

  • Luisa Simeoni Luisa Simeoni on Mar 03, 2015
    Excellent work!! Congratulations!

  • Mary Infante Mary Infante on Mar 03, 2015
    Absolutely gorgeous!!!! Wonderful job!!!

  • Janet chambers Janet chambers on Mar 12, 2015
    Windows finally completed and hung. I found wire thin enough that you can even tell it's there with the trees in the background. This inspired me to use up the rest of my paint and so I painted two glass pieces for each side of my front door. I will post them on another page. Thanks again for all of your great suggestions!

  • Anne fenske Anne fenske on Aug 25, 2015
    Lovely! if u want to take it further next time; try leaded art strips on a plain window. Put a picture behind and follow the lines with leaded strips and then paint with glass paint and u can make xmas scenes or whatever. The paint is bought at a craft store and not hard to do. I did a large Santa and Naive or Hearts and his lady. Love it and it looks like the real thing.

  • Janet chambers Janet chambers on Aug 26, 2015
    Great idea, thanks!!