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Stained Glass Part Two

Stained Glass Part Two

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Last week, we went through the steps of making stained glass creations of your very own. Now we'll take a look at some of the more commonly used terms involved in making stained glass crafts, supplies that you'll need, and tips to make future projects go as smoothly as possible.

What you'll need:

Pattern, paper- Whether you're making your own, have one downloaded off the Internet, borrowed, or bought, a pattern is the first necessary step.

Stained glass- The next essential in the equation.

Safety glasses- Always think safety. Glass shards can be dangerous if they come in contact with the eye, causing extreme irritation and, in some cases, blindness. Wear with glasses whenever working with glass, and clean up immediately upon completion of tasks so no small fragments or splinters of glass are left around for an accident.

Copper foil tape- This nifty little material allows for a base of soldering to adhere to the glass (it's what keeps the pieces together). Rolls come in a variety of thicknesses, and the right one will depend on the size of your glass. You want to have approximately 1/32" or 1mm edge on each side of the glass.

Soldering iron- This is a little more expensive, running between $30-$70, but, assuming it's used properly, the initial investment will last you for a long time. Stained glass soldering irons are typically thin rod-like wands with small tips (ideally between 6-10 mm wide). Use an iron that holds the temperature between 85 and 150 watts.

Solder- Solder is a simple mixture of metals (an alloy). Don't worry, no science lessons here. You just have to buy solder that comes ready made for you to use.

Flux and applicator brush- Flux is a hazardous chemical, and should be used with caution. It cleans the copper foil so that soldering will occur properly.

Antique patina- Another chemical, antique patina is used to change the silver color of solder to a more appealing copper, black or brass tint, if so desired. (Note: The silver of the solder is actually quite nice, and is often kept without any patina applied.)

Glass cutter- Very important. Cutters range from $6-$50. It's not about size, but precision, and quality will only help you in this situation. A Tungsten-carbide wheel is recommended, especially a self-lubricating one, for the most accurate scoring.

Glass pliers- This tool comes in the same price range as above, and can be purchased with an additional benefit of grozing teeth. With this addition, you can break your glass and remove the little splinters from uneven edges.

Glass grinder- Starting at $70 and going up to several hundreds dollars, this will be your most expensive purchase. Depending on how serious you intend to take this art form, you will have to decide how much you are interested in paying. A good glass grinder should last you years, and, if you are considering this as more than a hobby, should pay for itself within one or two projects. If this is more of a recreation, especially one that you will be sharing with your kids, the less expensive models will suffice.

Optional tools and materials:

Work board- This is not essential, but it will save your work surface from scratches and holes. On the other hand, a piece of wood will work just as well.

Lathekin or fid- This is a pocket change tool, used to smooth the foil against the edges, clear away excess putty, and open lead came. While there are other homemade items that you can use, the effort is hardly worth the one or two dollars this tool costs.

Glass pattern shears- These shears leave a small seam allowance on your pattern, giving you a margin for error. This is especially important, and recommended, if you are using exact measurements such as for windowpanes. If this is a simple project, however, they are not necessary.

Glass marking pens- You don't need a special glass-marking pen for this project, any point marker that is visible against the glass will do. Different color glass will need different shades of marking pens.

Push pins/layout kit- This is not an optional tool, but rather an optional buy. A pre-made kit can be purchased, or you can construct one on your own. The basic idea is a system of pins, nails and wood strips that keep the cut and foiled glass pieces in place for soldering.

Standard clear glass- This is a good idea if you are new or unsure of the scoring and breaking procedure. Clear glass is cheaper and easier to work with than stained glass, so you can have several practice goes before trying it on the real thing.


- Clean the glass thoroughly before scoring, and cut on the smoother side of the glass.

- If not using a self-lubricating wheel, always oil your apparatus before you begin scoring.

- If you are unsure of which colors will look best, or are making your own pattern, here is a helpful tip. Make several copies of the pattern, and use colored pencils to color it in until you find the combination you like best.

- For the pros: Circles and other round shapes are certainly more difficult than straight edges.

- Mylar is one of the most effective materials you can use for preparing your pattern.

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