Building a Metcalfe Church? Here’s how to add stained glass windows

adding stained glass windows to model buildingsModels of churches for layouts look great but typically miss one vital element.

Look at any church built from the middle ages onwards and you can’t help but notice the gloriously stained glass windows depicting images from history, the biblical or literature.

Yet sadly, while models of churches of our layouts are increasingly realistic they still lack these beautiful coloured windows.

For religious buildings, craftsmen coloured the glass by adding metallic oxide powders or finely divided metals to the molten glass. Copper was used for green or bluish-green, cobalt to achieve deep blue, and gold produces wine red and violet glass.

I don’t know about you, but I’d probably draw the line at adding metallic powders to molten glass for my model-making.

how to add stained glass windows to model churches

Luckily, Klaas Jansma has come up with an alternative and, thankfully, simpler way to recreate the effect for scale models.

Using nothing more than felt-tip pens, Klaas places coloured dots on the windows of his N-scale Metcalfe church and with stunning results.

He uses permanent marker pens, as this doesn’t smudge and dries ‘almost instantly’.

Adding lights to the inside to illuminate the colouring brings them out even further.

It’s slow work but I think you’ll agree it’s definitely worth the time. Klaas uses this technique on his Metcalfe paper card models but there’s no reason why similar couldn’t be used with other card kits, plastic and resin church models. Give it a go and let me know how you get on in a comment below.

  • Klaas Jansma’s church photo is reproduced with kind permission.




Founder of ModelRailwayEngineer, Andy Leaning

Andy is a lifelong modeler, writer, and founder of He has been building model railways, dioramas, and miniatures for over 20 years. His passion for model making and railways began when he was a child, building his first layout at the age of seven.
Andy’s particular passion is making scenery and structures in 4mm scale, which he sells commercially. He is particularly interested in modelling the railways of South West England during the late Victorian/early Edwardian era, although he also enjoys making sci-fi and fantasy figures and dioramas. His website has won several awards, and he is a member of MERG (Model Railway Electronics Group) and the 009 Society.
When not making models, Andy lives in Surrey with his wife and teenage son. Other interests include history, science fiction, photography, and programming. Read more about Andy.

Afflliate disclosure:The links on this page may take you to carefully selected businesses, such as Hornby, Amazon, eBay and Scale Model Scenery, where you can purchase the product under affiliate programmes. This means I receive a small commission on any orders placed although the price you pay does not change. You can read my full affiliate policy here. I also sell my my own ready to use, pre-made and painted buildings and terrain features. browse the range.

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