Introduction: Stained Glass & Wood Sculpture

This art piece has gained us great praise and jealousy in our yard. Start with a piece of wood of your choice. We've used driftwood, a slab bought at a lumber yard, or just a piece bought at a local Lowes.


The tools you'll need are a saber saw, router, glass cutter, glass-I bought mine at Hobby Lobby, and sandpaper, clear silicone, and paint or varnish.

Step 1: Sketch Your Design on the Wood

I used a pencil and drew right on the wood. I found that you can erase pretty early with just your pencil eraser. I've been precise doing a fish or just follow the shape and patterns of the wood. Leave at least an inch around the edges of the wood for routering.

Step 2: Cut Out Your Design Out

Drill a hole into your design for the saber saw blade to be inserted. Cut on the lines you've drawn until the wood center drops out.

Step 3: Router the Edges of Your Cut to Create a Step

This step will create a place for the glass to sit on. Use a rabbet router bit and follow along your cut lines.

Step 4: Place Glass Pieces Into the Wood Cut

Now you will cut the glass to fit your design. As you can see I just cut strips of glass in a rainbow pattern. I used a straight edge to cut strips. Then set them in the design and use a marker to draw on the glass in the shape the ends need to be. Keep cutting until it fits in. You can use old glass from windows too. You may want to watch a few videos on cutting glass. If the cuts aren't perfect it just lets the light thru those areas.

Step 5: Secure the Glass

You have 2 options at this point.
1) If you have no knowledge of stained glass soldering, just use clear silicone to glue down the edges of the glass to the wood step created by the router. Put weight on the edges of the glass to help it seal. Read the directions on the silicone to see how long to seal. You may also want to add colored silicone to hide the edges of the glass.
2) If you know about stained glass at this point you can foil the edges of the glass, use Flux and solder the pieces together. Make sure you solder when the glass is inside the design because if not it may not fit into the design after. Take the completed large soldered glass piece out, put a bead of clear silicone on the wood step created by the router, then place the glass back in. Apply weight on the glass edges to help it seal. Read the directions on the silicone to see how long to let it sit.

Step 6: Finish the Wood

The last step is the determine how you will finish the wood. Sanding it smooth will help your final project look better. You can paint, stain, or varnish. If the project will stay inside you'll just want to put enough of a coating to be able to wipe the dust off the wood. If you plan on it being outside you'll want to put several coats of varnish on it. Ours get 5 coats of Spar varnish. Make sure each coat dries between.

Step 7: Ready the Project for Staging

Clean the glass with window cleaner. Decide if you're project will be hung, put into the ground, or have a base added. In the fish project we just drilled two holes for string. The larger project we drilled holes in the bottom and attached stakes to bury into the ground. A table top base can be made many different ways or put it on an easel depending on size.