Designing a Stained Glass Cathedral for Miniature Gaming

Art & Sculpture Craft & Design Digital Fabrication Fun & Games
Designing a Stained Glass Cathedral for Miniature Gaming

There are dozens (and dozens) of great video tutorials on YouTube for building every single component you might desire for tabletop gaming terrain: building the terrain boards themselves, making your own mountains, rocks, and trees, making buildings, walls, bridges, and other human-made constructs, even wiring up your miniature buildings with tiny LED lighting. But I have seen few tutorials on using design software and laser cutters to create your own buildings (even though commercial laser cut gaming terrain is huge right now), and none on laser cutting stained glass windows.

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In this video from Greylight May, she shows you, step-by-step, how she used Adobe Illustrator to design and lay out a miniature cathedral for tabletop gaming (based on real reference photos) and then how she used the laser cutter at her local TechShop to cut out all of the components.

The star of the video is the stained glass windows that she laser cut from acrylic. The color choices and style of the building are not what I would go for (I like my gaming in grim dark futures), but these techniques can obviously be applied to your own tastes.


One especially good tip in the video is how she got the backing paper off of all of the stained glass pieces for the windows. She first assembled the windows on masking tape, glued all of the pieces together, removed the tape, and then put all of the windows into a baking pan. She then filled the pan with just enough Simple Green cleaning solution to cover the windows. Once soaked, the paper backing comes off fairly easily.

If you want to add stained glass windows to your miniature buildings but don’t have access to a laser cutter or don’t want to go through this much trouble, there are simpler techniques that I have used. You can design the shape of your stained glass windows in Illustrator and print them, black ink-only, onto clear acetate and then use acrylic paints or markers to color the reverse side and then install them on your model. This looks especially good on commercial buildings that already have the leaded outlines of the stained glass on the model. For smashed and broken stained glass, you can use slightly thicker clear plastic (like the kind found on miniature blister packs), cutting the plastic to make the broken pieces as you desire, then painting color onto their backs, and then installing them behind the stained glass frames on your model.

After you check out this video, be sure to look at some of Greylight’s other video tutorials, including this one on how to make your own custom laser cut gaming rulers and templates.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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