Why is stained glass so expensive?
There are several things that make stained glass "expensive."
First, Stained glass requires the patience of a skilled craftsman. It takes years to become comfortable with the medium of glass. The glass each manufacturer makes has it own uniqueness, as well as differences between colors and textures. They all have different characteristics that a craftsman must become familiar with.
Secondly, the cost of the glass varies greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer as well as variances in price for color and texture. While some glass is relatively inexpensive at approximately $4-6/foot, some can be as much as $25-$45 per square foot or more. It all depends on the labor and materials involved in processing a certain style of glass. Also, glass has a grain direction - just like wood or material. Because of the way glass breaks, there is a huge waste or scrap factor involved - normally around 35-50%. Sometimes to get just the right color or swirl in a certain piece, more than a foot is "wasted" for a single piece. But it makes all the difference in the world in the finished piece.
Third, the assembly process. Imagine a stained glass panel being like a jigsaw puzzle. Each piece is cut out of glass (a very unforgiving medium) then re-assembled together to make the image. The tolerance between each piece of glass is approximately 1/32nd of an inch...and they must all fit together! Creating a stained glass panel is VERY labor intensive! Glass is a very unforgiving medium. It wants to break in straight lines, so, cutting a circle requires a series of relatively straight lines. If it's too cold, it's more fragile than normal. It can also "heal" itself. After a score is made, if it is not broken shortly afterward, it becomes increasingly difficult to break along the score. However, there's nothing like the scratch sound of a perfect score and the clean snap as the glass breaks along the score line.
And, of course, the absolute beauty of the glass and colors as it shines and sparkles against the sun. There is nothing so beautiful and satisfying.
I am offering my work for 65.00 per square foot, plus 1.00 to 2.00 per piece of glass used depending on the complexity of the design and the type of glass used as some is easier to work with than others. Oak framing is extra as well as shipping/crating charges. A 50% deposit is required.