Introduction: Stained Glass Flower Vase : a Perfect Home-Made Gift
Every year we used to gift something store-bought to our daughter on the occasion of my her wedding anniversary, but this time I have decided to make a gift at home. After going through many ideas, I finally made the Stained Glass Flower Vase as this year's gift, which you can see in the above pictures. I hope this will make a perfect home-made gift and my daughter will like it.
Step 1: Design
After going through many design ideas, finally I settled for the 15 cm (centimetre) high vase with a hexagonal base.
- The bottom of the vase will be a hexagon with 5 cm sides (one piece required)
- The body will be trapezoidal in shape having 5 and 7 cm width with 5 cm height in 2 layers (6+6 = 12 pieces required)
- The neck portion will be a rectangle with 5 cm length and 2.5 cm height (6 pieces required)
- The top rim portion will again be a trapezoid with 5 and 7 cm width and 2.5 cm height (6 pieces required)
Keeping these design aspects, I have cut the required pieces from card-stock paper and made a model, which you can see in the last picture. One extra piece of all these four shapes will be used as template for marking and cutting glass for the actual stained glass project.
Step 2: Material Required
The following are the materials required for this project
- 2 mm thick plain glass about one sq.ft
- One roll of 5 mm wide copper foil tape with adhesive backing
- One small bottle of Nail polish remover. This will be used as lubricant for cutting glass and also for cleaning glass.
- About 100 grams of 20/22 SWG solder wire (60-40, Tin - Lead)
- One small bottle of liquid flux with a paint brush
Step 3: About Copper Foil Tape
Copper foil tape used for stained glass projects comes in different widths with an adhesive backing. Here I will use a 5 mm wide copper foil tape as I am using 2 mm thick plain glass. This will give me about one mm coverage on both sides of the glass for soldering. The adhesive backing will also help the copper foil tape to stick to the glass properly.
You can also see that both sides of the tape are copper colored after removing the backing.
www.ebay.com site has an excellent guide named "Choosing the Right Copper Foil for Stained Glass Work", which you can see at the following link:
Step 4: Tools
- A Craft Knife to cut the templates
- Marker Pen to mark on glass
- Compass to mark the hexagonal bottom piece
- Scissors to cut the copper foil to required length
- Pencil to draw on card stock
- Ruler to measure the required size
- Glass Cutters for cutting glass
- Soldering Iron with stand
- A carborundum stone for grinding rough edges of cut glass
Step 5: Glass Cutters
There are mainly two types of glass cutters, one with a diamond cutting point and another with a tungsten carbide or hardened steel cutting wheel. Some glass cutters come with a reservoir for storing lubricating oil. You can fill the reservoir with few drops of oil before cutting. Do not add more as most of the oil will leak out. You can use kerosene, Nail polish remover or any oil as lubricator. I prefer the glass cutter with the diamond cutting point. This one does not have a oil reservoir, so I apply a thin coat of nail polish remover over the line where I will score the glass.
Step 6: Safety Equipment
Use hand gloves, safety mask and safety glasses wherever necessary
Step 7: Mark on the Glass
In the first picture you can see the templates made with card stock mentioning the dimension and number of pieces required.
Now using the template, mark on the glass using a marker pen. Here you can see that I have marked the trapezoidal pieces adjacent to each other so that the wastage of glass is minimal. You can mark the hexagonal bottom piece in one corner as there will be some wastage of glass. Mark one or two pieces extra to cater for uneven cuts and broken pieces while assembling.
Step 8: Cut Glass
If you are not experienced in cutting glass, take the marked glasses to a professional glass cutter and he will cut it for you. Otherwise you can cut the glass yourself. Cutting 2 mm thick glass is very easy.
- Place the marked glass on a flat area so that the marked surface is at the bottom
- Align a wooden straight edge along the marked line. Now look at the first picture, where you can see the cutting diamond point on the glass cutter on the top right corner. The cutting point is at the centre and there is some thickness of metal on both sides of the cutting point. While aligning the wooden straight edge over the marked line, you need to give allowance for this thickness, otherwise your scoring will be off the mark.
- If your glass cutter do not have an oil reservoir, apply a coat of lubricant along the marked line. Here I have used nail polisher remover as lubricant and used an ear-bud to apply the nail polish remover over the marked line.
- Place the glass cutter over the marked line at one end and make a score line. You will hear a scratching sound when the glass is properly scored
- Keep the scored edge over the wooden straight edge and lightly tap. The glass will snap at the scored line.
- First cut all pieces longitudinally, then cut the small pieces.
- The hexagonal bottom piece needs to be scored on each line individually and the next line is to be scored only after removing the scored glass portion
The last picture shows all the marked glass pieces cut to the required size.
Step 9: Grind Uneven Edges
After cutting, you may find some rough and uneven edges in few pieces. If you have a spare good piece, then discard the uneven pieces. Otherwise use a carborundum stone to grind the rough edges.
You can also use a rotary tool like Dremel 4000 to grind the uneven edges. Use Silicon Carbide Grinding stone bit (Part Number 85422) with the Dremel tools running at 35000 RPM. Use safety mask to prevent inhaling glass dust.
Step 10: Clean Glass Pieces
The marked lines visible on the edges and other fingerprint & oil marks need to be removed from the glass pieces before wrapping with copper foil.
Add few drops of Nail polish remover on glass and clean each face with a cotton cloth. Rub on the edges to remove the mark lines.
Step 11: Wrap Copper Foil Around Glass Pieces
Measure all sides and allow extra 2.5 cm for the overlap. The length of copper foil tape required for each piece is as below:
- For the hexagonal bottom piece, one number of 32.5 cm length
- For trapezoidal body pieces, 12 numbers of 25 cm length each
- For the rectangular neck piece, 6 numbers of 17.5 cm length each
- For the trapezoidal rim, 6 numbers of 20 cm length each
- Cut the required length of copper foil tape with scissors
- Remove a small length of adhesive backing from one end of tape
- Start wrapping from middle of the glass piece, so that the glass piece is placed at the centre of the copper foil tape
- When you finish wrapping on all sides, overlap the start point. You can trim any excess tape if required
Step 12: Burnishing
Burnishing the copper foil tape over the edges of glass piece will remove any air bubbles and make the tape stick to the edges properly. You can use any plastic handle or knife handle or a wooden piece for this. Here I have used the plastic handle of the craft knife for burnishing.
- Run the plastic handle of knife all around the edges over the copper foil tape
- Now using your fingers, fold the copper foil tape uniformly over the edges as shown.
- The edges can be pressed down with finger nails so that it looks uniform.
- Place the foiled piece on a flat surface and burnish on both sides using the knife handle
In the last picture you can see all the required glass pieces wrapped with copper foil tape and burnished.
Step 13: Assembling the Vertical Neck Portion
As all our glass pieces are wrapped with copper foil, let us start with assembling the neck portion first
- Connect your soldering iron to a power outlet and let it reach the required temperature
- Take two rectangular neck pieces and apply liquid flux over the copper foil tape
- Using the trapezoidal card stock template as a guide, tag the glass pieces with a drop of solder on top
- Continue to add glass pieces with a drop of solder. Make necessary adjustment in the alignment using the template as a guide.
- Turn over the piece and repeat the same on other side also.
- Remember, we have added a drop solder on the edges to connect the glass pieces and not done complete soldering
Step 14: Assembling the Trapezoidal Rim Portion
The trapezoidal rim portion can be assembled over the neck piece we have just completed.
- Take two of the trapezoidal pieces, place them over the neck portion
- Add a drop of solder at edges where the trapezoidal pieces meet the neck portion
- Now add a drop of solder at top joint
- Add all the required pieces one by one. Make necessary adjustment in the alignment of the pieces using the template.
The last picture shows the completed piece at this stage.
Step 15: Assembling the Trapezoidal Body Portion
Once again, using the card stock template as a guide, assemble the trapezoidal body portion with a drop of solder at edges. Remember to brush the copper foil with liquid flux before applying solder.
We need to assemble two of these required for the body, which you can see in the last picture
Step 16: Assemble All Parts
Now all the required parts are assembled with drops of solder at edges.
Assemble all the parts together and look for any visible gaps or any misalignment in the pieces. At this stage it is very easy to make necessary adjustments in the alignment.
Step 17: Soldering the Bottom Glass Piece
- Place the bottom hexagonal piece inside one of the body piece. You can see some visible gaps in the first picture.
- Apply liquid flux over copper foil tape
- Align two edges together and tag with a drop of solder at the middle.
- Continue from one end till all sides are properly aligned and tagged.
- Once you are satisfied with the alignment, apply liquid flux liberally over the copper foil tape and solder the joints completely on inside and outside
Step 18: Final Soldering of Flower Vase
- Now place the second body part over the first one finished with the bottom piece, and tag with a drop of solder at middle.
- Apply liquid flux and do complete soldering of the joints
- Place the neck portion over this and solder the joints
- Once you finished soldering the joints, you need apply a light coat of solder on the exposed rim, known as tinning.
- Apply liquid flux and run the hot soldering iron with drops of solder over the rim till all copper area is covered.
Now our stained glass flower vase is completed. You can see the different views of the completed piece placed alongside the card stock model in the last two pictures
Step 19: Clean the Vase With Liquid Flux
If you look at the finished flower vase, you may find residue of flux and solder sprayed over the glass surface like dust particles. This can be removed by cleaning the glass surface with liquid flux. Use a cotton cloth dipped in liquid flux and remove the residue from outside as well as from inside of the vase.
Step 20: Clean Soldered Joints
- The soldered joints may look rough. Use a piece of steel wool and rub on the soldered surface to polish the joints.
- You may also find some solid deposits along the edges soldered copper foil tape. Scratch this deposit with a craft knife without damaging the solder.
- Once again clean all surface with cotton cloth and nail polish remover.
Now our stained glass flower vase is finished in all respects. Please see the finished vase in the last photograph.
Step 21: Packed and Ready for Gifting
As I mentioned earlier, this flower vase is a home-made gift for our daughter's wedding anniversary. I have wrapped the flower vase in a transparent cling wrap. This will be gifted to the couple during their next visit to our home.