Stained glass art is a gratifying hobby for beginners and a colorful, powerful medium for experienced artists alike. There are many features to the craft that you should read about and master if you are to be triumphant in it, including:
- How to cut the glass,
- foiling densely textured glass,
- soldering, grinding (filling gaps, flux application, Burnishing, etc.),
- And finishing.
Other features of this unique art form are zinc framing, lamp photography, and for the more assured and ambitious stained glass art practitioners, valuing your finished works.
Tools and Materials required:
- Glass Cutter
- Cutting Oil
- Soldering Iron
- Copper Foil
- Safety Glasses
- Safety Gloves
Steps to get you started with Stained Glass Art:
Choosing a Design:
The first step is to pick what you want to design! Please use the spare glass at home rather than buy anything new for the first project.
Cutting the Glass:
Choices on casting stained glass mean forming large sheets, cutting curves with a tapping technique, or knowing how to cut inside a deep bend. Grinding glass is relatively easy to learn, and artists need not become specialist technicians on a grindstone to be able to smooth out the edges. Foiling heavily textured glass involves taking a strip of quarter-inch foil and edging the glass with it, then picking a knife and cutting it flush with the edge. Foiling may prove to be a bit of a chore, but trimming and cutting it down, so the glass pieces fit evenly will be well worth the extra effort.
In the soldering process, flux treatment prevents oxidation of the base and filler materials and is a very quick process, whereby it is brushed on once. Flux also acts as a wetting agent and decreases surface tension. Centering the glass is the next step, and means creating space between all the glass pieces for the solder. Dropping the solder comes next and involves stirring a rope of solder to a soldering iron, letting the substance to melt into the cracks between the glass.
Filling the gaps and Burnishing
Filling the gaps and Burnishing comes next, involving picking the hot iron and making more delicate touches to the solder-filled cracks. Beading the lead lines is a nice aesthetic flourish and involves retaking the hot iron and making an elevated bump of solder at intersections of the malleable strips.
Patina application is the final step and is relatively easy. The liquid is poured on the polished glass piece and spread around, using shielding latex gloves.
Your stained glass is ready!