How to mimic custom glass door inserts in a transom?


I am looking at having a glass insert added to my steel front door and single sidelight. Problem is, I have a strange transom that is actually 4 windows put together. I have looked at window film but those options are so limited I would basically be forced to choose the door design around a piece of plastic that really may or may not look good after I put it up. I think i’d Have a better result if I created a design for the top based on what I choose for the door. It would need to look professional and I’d rather have very little or no color added. Anyone do this? How and what materials?

q how to mimic custom glass door inserts in a transom
  14 answers
  • Lisa Sinclair Lisa Sinclair on Jan 04, 2019

    There are so many great ideas, right here on Hometalk. Just search for stain glass ideas. Good luck!

  • Judy in Canton. Judy in Canton. on Jan 05, 2019

    You did not say if you needed to block the sun or privacy on the side window. If not I would suggest inserting diamond shaped moulons for the transom and a semi sheer curtain ( tied like an hourglass) for the side. As Lisa responded, there are so many options - have fun.

    • HandyGirl HandyGirl on Jan 05, 2019

      There’s no problem with light. It’s really all about aesthetics. When I do the glass in the door I want to basically give the entire door area a facelift that results in one cohesive look inside and out.

  • Lisa Falkenthal Lisa Falkenthal on Jan 05, 2019

    They sell a range of styles of window clings that you apply directly to glass.

  • Kathy Kathy on Jan 05, 2019

    There are many more window cling designs on line. There is also gallery glass where you can make your own designs or just make the windows opaque.. I used gallery glass for privacy on my side lights. Worked really well and simple to do.

  • HandyGirl HandyGirl on Jan 05, 2019

    I just saw something on gallery glass. It looks very promising. Thank you for the suggestion!

    I’ve seen other comments about window clings but I’ve done a lot of research on those and rejected them. That “transom” is really 4 separate windows and the positioning of the grouping puts the center of the “transom” grouping off center from the door because it is centered to the grouping of door+sidelight. Because of that, window clings are unlikely to Work unless I’m just putting some standard, repeating image, which is not the look I want.

    Gallery glass seems like something I can use to create a custom image that exactly matches what I put in the door and at exactly the size I need for each area. Am I right that you can create it in the flat on glass or plastic then peel it off to stick it to the window?

    • Huntress Huntress on Jan 05, 2019

      I originally put mine directly on the windows.when I changed , the leader strips came off fairly easy with a razor , the glass paint itself was harder. I think the baking sun here in SC on the windows hardened it more than anything. I used paper towels in sections soaked with Windex and pressed into glass, set a few minutes, removed and paint peeled off with the razor blade. If you use just the lead lines, it's easier than the paint. The lead glass window look is what I'm changing to, all the rich folks have taste on a beer budget. Best of luck and post when done.

  • Laurie Laurie on Jan 05, 2019

    I’ve seen faux peel-and-stick lead came for sale at craft stores and on line. It’s made out of a pliable material that you can easily bend in curves, and you just need scissors to trim. Plus it’s virtually impossible to tell from the real thing! (All those years of stained glass classes wasted- just kidding!)

  • Mary Austin Mary Austin on Jan 05, 2019

    I do stained glass windows etc. I would suggest you go to Hobby Lobby and buy some stained glass in the colors you;'d like and if you can't cut it was a glass cutter find someone that will. You can then silicone it behind the original glass. Do not take the glass out, insur. won't allow that.

    • See 1 previous
    • VS VS on Jan 06, 2019

      hi handygirl, yes stain glass is colored through the piece of glass, but come in almost any color/design even clear. But I would not suggest you using a wet saw used for curing tile to cut it. I do a lot of stain glass, unless you use a glass saw used for larger pieces of glasses it will chip, depending on the grade of glass. I cut my own by scoring it first then using a glass cutter. But I’m sure someone nearby you (a glass installer/shop could cut it the size you need). Hope this helpful and not discouraging. You can do it!

  • Mogie Mogie on Jan 05, 2019

    Have you checked out the huge selection of window films at There is a lot to choose from and that seems to be your simplest answer.

    • HandyGirl HandyGirl on Jan 05, 2019

      I have checked those out and rejected that option but thanks for helping!

  • Huntress Huntress on Jan 05, 2019

    Gallery glass sells leaded glass strips. Look up leaded glass patterns and it is elegant , plain and upscale all at the same time.

  • Ellen Gregory Ellen Gregory on Jan 05, 2019

    If you go online there are more film choices than what you find in the home improvement stores. I purchased one that looks like iridescent beveled glass. It's inexpensive and if it doesn't look good it peels right off.

  • Em Em on Jan 06, 2019

    Use wood trim to make a pattern like three rows in the middle with a cross piece about afoot from the top and bottom. Do the same type on the above windows. Section them off not in perfect squares, but more of a Frank Lloyd Wright style. You could do the top windows with a wood trim about 3-4 inches all around inside the frame. Glue clear glass globs, some people refer to them as marbles in the corners or stack three in each corner or add a touch of color using on colored and two clear. They would stick with clear silicone. Spray them with sea glass spray paint or frosted. Both carried by Walmart. You can also use Elmer's glue to add privacy painted on or swirled and it dries like a textured finish but clear. Don't want it on anymore? Both glue and spray can be scraped off with a razor,.

  • Liz W Liz W on Jan 07, 2019

    I used window clings in frosted or just colored so there’s nothing to match up;my style choice. Online has many options. I custom made my own “stained glass” window using premade supplies and my own stencil I colored in to my taste. It was fun!

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Nov 15, 2021

    Draw a design on with Black Sharpie and then colour in with Glass paint or Nail varnish or Mod podge and food colouring and paint in the design. The go over the edges of the design again with Black Marker Pen to look like stained glass.