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How To: Stained Glass

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Step 8: Soldering

Soldering happens in a series of steps.  First tack together your pieces, then tin the seams, then add the bead.

Flux must be applied to the copper foil before soldering.

To tack solder the pieces in place, apply dots of flux to desired areas, and melt a small blob of solder on top. 

Because I was using two different widths of glass, I originally tacked and soldered the piece from the back side so that the front would be flush.

Once all of the pieces are tacked together, you can tin the seams.  This just means you apply a thin, flat amount of solder to all of the seams, completely coating all of the copper foil. Be sure to apply flux to all of the seams first.

Bead soldering refers to a smooth, slightly rounded flow of solder used to create an aesthetically pleasing finish.   You only need to apply the bead solder to the front of the finished piece, as the tin solder is sufficient to hold together the back.  To create the bead solder, apply a new layer of flux to the tinned seams.  Melt a larger amount of solder onto the seams.  Run the soldering iron back and forth along a small distance to create a melted seam of solder.  Once a section is completely melted, gently lift the soldering iron up from the piece to create a smooth, shiny bead.  This just takes practice.
 
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