Stained Glass work has been a passion of mine since I took my first class in college. I love all of the techniques used with this medium but one of my favorite is the mosaic. I’ve given tutorials for this method in previous posts so you may refer back to them to get the idea of how to accomplish this art form or craft form if you will.
Here are two panels that I have created for a lighted bar top. Very cool. I never got to see the end product as there was another craftsman building the bar but as soon as I see it I’ll pass on the pics.
The final step to this technique is the patina step. This step is not mandatory. I have chosen to keep the solder silver and let it patina naturally.
Then install it in the frame that you want to display it in.
Once you have the pieces of glass taped, burnished and placed, (making sure all pieces are tight), Tack it together.
The first step in this process is to brush flux onto the entire copper surface. Try not to get too much on the glass. You will want to do this in a well ventilated area because it doesn’t smell wonderful and you really shouldn’t be breathing in the vapor that comes of the flux once it is heated. You can opt to wear a mask if you don’t find it too cumbersome.
Fluxing the copper. Tacking the pieces together.
Now that all of the pieces have been secure by the tacking process, you may start the soldering. Clean your soldering iron very often during this process. To clean the soldering iron wipe it on a damp sponge.
Hold the solder next to the copper and start melting it over the copper smoothly so when the line is finished it has a slightly rounded look. Solder one side then turn it over and solder the other side.
Solder first side. Flip it and solder back side.
Stay tuned for the final steps.
When you have all of the pieces cut and ground, wash them with soapy water and dry them. Let them sit to dry completely for a few minutes so there is no moisture remaining on the glass. I recommend that you wash each piece individually and place them back on the drawing so you don’t misplace or lose track of piece positioning.
Apply the copper tape by pealing back the paper, placing the edge of the piece of glass directly in the center of the sticky side of the tape and circle the entire piece of glass. Then you will take a burnishing tool to lay the copper tape flat onto the piece of glass.
Applying the copper tape. Burnishing the tape.
Assemble the glass on the drawing as you finish burnishing each piece.
Finish this step and stay tuned for the next one!
Cutting the glass may be a little more difficult on this project, unless you have chosen an easy pattern with a lot of straight lines, which is not a bad idea for your first one.
Here is an example of a project with straight lines.
Notice the way the pattern flows in the project. There is symmetry which is important in this piece.
In the project that I’m sharing with you now there are a lot of curved lines which have to fit into the second drawing.
You can see how the drawing has been numbered and how the cut glass fits into that puzzle.
Continue to cut the glass until all the pieces fit into the drawing. You will find that a grinder or a wet saw with a glass blade will be helpful when you don’t get a perfect cut with the glass cutter.
Now that you have the TWO drawings done with the sharpie, number the pieces on both of the copies of the drawing. Make sure you number them the same on both copies. Then cut one of the copies apart cutting off all of the sharpie marks. You will need to do this because the width of the sharpie mark is the same width of two pieces of copper tape butted together.
Then trace the pieces that you have cut onto the glass. Keep in mind that the glass may have a pattern and that the pattern may affect to outcome of the final project. As you draw the pieces on the glass, number them so you will know where they go on the second copy of the drawing.
Not all stained glass is assembled with channel kame. This project is done with copper tape.
I would consider this project to be in the skilled range. Work through the beginner and advanced beginner steps before you consider this project.
Here is what you will need for this project:
Colored glass, glass cutter, cutting oil, grinder, vellum, sharpie, copper tape, plastic burnisher, flux, silver/lead solder, soldering iron, and patina.
The first thing you will want to accomplish is the design of the glass piece. Think this through very carefully because your cuts need to be as perfect as possible. A glass grinder or a wet saw with a glass blade will be very helpful for you.
Draw out your design and notice that there is a line anywhere there is a concave cut or where it makes sense to have one. You may find it helpful to start out with a store bought stained glass pattern. I designed this one for me client specifically.
Once the original design is done, repeat the design on TWO pieces of vellum. The first piece you will be cutting and the second piece will be used for the assembly process. You must make sure that they are both drawn exactly the way you want the piece to look.
Stay tuned for more!