Need help with backlit painted glass project


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Jun 13, 2002
Fingerlakes Region of NYS
I am having trouble with a project. I had posted it with the prospective "engineering" of the project... which made some sense to me and a respondee.

But now, as I get further/deeper into this - I think I am in over my head.

Can someone provide some help here!?

I am working with an old pinball machine glass insert - that is wildly painted and the customer is going to backlight it with bee-lites.

The problem is with the glass - it has black glass guards on 3 of it's sides; the bottom side has a heavy duty piece of stainless steel that is a channel with a flap that sticks out in a downward position 1/2" (like a lip to hold on to another channel). This piece is glued on and cannot be removed (at least I am not going to be the one to try that!!)

Because this lip sticks out 1/2" and cannot be cut to fit within the rabbet of the moulding - I figured I would put a 1/2" spacer in - but Idon't think a 1/2" spacer is available and 1/8" wide would not be sturdy enough. I may have to get a 1/2" by 1/4" piece of "something" and paint it black to make a spacer.

AND... the customer wants to put lights behind the glass!! Between the glass and a backer board which will need some space as well...

This glass is heavy, too. by the way.


HELP! I don't know what to do now.


This may be too late, and may not help, but here goes:

Can you build a "mat" to go around the glass, covering up the metal piece that you can't figure out what to do with, and then put the glass, with wood supports around it (covered by the mat)into a larger, deeper frame? Sort of a frame within a frame idea. For an idea for a light source, check Creative Banner ( thin light boxes that are used in the sign making business, and perhaps a sign maker in your area has one of these that you can look at and adapt as the light source, depending on size. I am guessing that you would want to back the whole thing with a strong board screwed into the back of the bigger frame.

Or e-mail Frank Larson - he can figure out how to do anything. Really!
i dont know if you have a table saw or not, but if you do (or can use someone's) rip some wood of the appropriate size to act as spacers---front and back---glue or brad them in place after coloring them to your liking. then you can leave the back open. hang with strap hangers or z-bar.
y'think that'll work? hope i helped
Thanks for your suggestions, but since my workshop does not include any of the woodworking equipment - I actually bounced the project back to the customer.

With the stress of the weight of this piece and the needs of the customer I directed him to a cabinet maker for a solution

It made me feel better declining a project I was not comfortable with and the customer will be aware that I am honest enough to admit that. It really is outside the normal framing range and is more a display/cabinet maker project.


Hi Roz,

First of all, this is my first post on the Grumble!!

As a framer, I appreciate and respect you declining this project. There's always someone out there who can get it done within their comfort zone. Not worth agonizing over.

You did right. Better to send it off in the right direction, then it comming back in pieces.
Pinball back glasses are aobut 28 pounds of 7/32 glass before they glue the hard ware on. I took us several runs at it before we got success with my first one. After that, they were easy. It was
framing the half of a Porche that was the mind stretcher....