Stained Glass

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Introduction: Stained Glass

This instructable will show how to make stained glass objects. This process is good for such objects but is not recommended for windows. For this, you will need to know how to solder.
You can make 3D items or sun catchers, they make great gifts.

Step 1: Gathering Materials

You will need:
-A pattern (find one on the internet, alot of times i can't find one so i use simple children's coloring pages for a pattern, or you can just draw your own)
-Safety glasses (glass goes everywhere)
-Gloves (optional- i dont use gloves but i also cut my hands when doing this)
-Glass (you can even use mirror if you like)
-Copper Tape (i use 1/4 in thickness)
-Solder (50% Lead, 50% Tin)
-Flux

Tools:
-Glass Grinder (you can do without one but it is easier and makes edges cleaner)
-grozing pliers (these or ones specially made for glass)
- Glass Cutter
- Flux Brush
- Sharpie

Step 2: Get Pattern

Cut out your pattern, if you are going to use this pattern alot then you can trace it on a thin piece of cardboard.
With your sharpie, trace the pattern on your glass. For dark colored glass i use white out to trace it.

Step 3: Cut Out the Shapes

Wear your safety glasses :)

-If you traced pieces on the same sheet of glass then separate them.

-When you cut glass, you want to try to cut it in a straight line. If your glass is textured then cut on the nontextured side, if it is textured on both sides then cut on the smoother one.

- If you want the result to be the same size as your pattern, then cut right inside the lines. I normally cut on or a little out of the lines so it can be ground down later to fit better.

-The glass cutter just scratches the surface. If you are cutting out a big piece then you can put the scratch over the edge of the table to break it. If it is a small piece then use your grozing pliers to take off the excess glass. The edges dont have to be perfect if you use a grinder. If you dont have a grinder, then use the grozing pliers to clean up the edges. Look at the picture to see how the grozing pliers should be held. If you hold them the other way then you have a good chance of shattering your glass.

- If you have a glass grinder then this will be easy. Make sure before you start that you put water on it because it needs to be wet. if it dries out a little during shaping the glass then add more water.

-Now just grind down the edges to the size you want (make sure your pieces fit together almost exactly, if they aren't then grind them down so they are).

- Once you have them all smoothed out, just clean them up with some water. Should take off the wet ground glass and the sharpie/whiteout lines. make sure you dry the pieces well.

Step 4: Add the Copper Tape

the idea: wrap the edges in tape

-Measure the tape you need before you rip it off the roll because you want to use only one piece. Make sure you have some to overlap a little.

-Put the glass in the middle of the tape and wrap it around the edges. You are going to want to make it stick well.

- I rub the edges on a table corner

- Push the tape down over the corners to frame the glass. Then rub that with a sharpie or the side of your nail (just to make it stick and not rip)

Step 5: Soldering!

Wear safety glasses and long pants (trust me). If you didnt wear gloves when cutting glass, and have cuts on your hands then don't get the flux in the cuts! it hurts...
Ventilation, because any fumes you inhale can't be good.


- Use a soldering iron made for lead soldering...not the electronic soldering iron.

- Use nails to hold your pieces in place

- Brush flux on before you solder. Dont flux the whole thing at one time, do it in small areas. If solder isn't melting and you turned up your iron then add more flux.

- Solder- Just solder over all the copper, its up to you if you want it very flat or want a puffy edge on it.

- Solder Both sides of the glass

- If you are making a butterfly or something and want to add antenna or want to add a hook to something, copper wire works best just add flux and solder. if its not copper, then add the tape first

Step 6: Clean It Up

Clean it gently with cool water and dish soap to get all the flux off because the flux gives the glass a greasy feel and looks....well black and gross.

Step back and admire your work :)

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    18 Comments

    There's a stained glass supply shop by me. I think it's time to take a trip over there...

    Thanks!

    really nice tutorial, surprisingly little on this subject on this site.  Its mostly faux style. 

    rad man id like to stay and chat but my girlfriend is here

    Any chance you could post the layout for the bird you made? It looks great. Thanks a lot for posting this.

    I would suggest altering the pattern so that there are no lines that go all the way across the design— it seriously weakens the piece. It's okay for small things like this, but eventually the weight of the glass itself can cause bigger pieces to break.

    Sorry, i drew the bird directly on the glass without a pattern. its quite easy to draw. the body is cut in half so it is easier to cut out the body pieces and to attach the legs.

    I've always wondered how to do stained glass, this seems basic enough for me to understand, thank you for the upload

    Actually this technique is fine for most windows. And is actually stronger than windows made with lead lines, since there is much more solder holding it together.

    I don't know your glass experience level, but in MINE, it is NOT stronger. Properly stretched and mudded lead cameing is superior in all ways, except ease of execution. Not to say foil/solder isn't perfectly acceptable. It is... In effect, a fully foiled and soldered glass joint IS cameing, only thin, and using adhesive instead of mud. In the short term, the foil will probably be as good, or a little better... but in the long term, the adhesive WILL fail, and then you're left with inferior 'quasi-cameing'. It may be 30 years down the road, so for craft quality glass, that is fine. For an heirloom quality work though, lead came is THE way to go. I have seen 200 year old stained glass done with lead, still in place, and almost like new. To be fair, modern copper foil hasn't been around that long, to even be able to tell how it will hold up over that span of time.

    Hmm, I may use bits of this technique for replacing the damage to my stained glass windows, mainly the cutting out, then have to open and seal the leading again, which is tricky but would be better than losing them...