How to Make a Stained Glass Project
We have all seen them. From simple two or three piece sun-catchers flashing their brilliant colors upon the walls of a home, to elaborate, multi piece masterpieces in huge stained glass windows ador...
We have all seen them. From simple two or three piece sun-catchers flashing their brilliant colors upon the walls of a home, to elaborate, multi piece masterpieces in huge stained glass windows adorning churches and museums. Some of these windows can have thousands of individual pieces and look so complicated.
Working with stained glass is not a complicated task. You simply work with one piece at a time. Letís examine what is involved in a project.
There are two methods to constructing a stained glass project. One is working with a product called came and the other is working with copper foil. This article will explain the process of working in foil.
Simply stated, to make a foil project in stained glass, you cut a piece of glass, cover the edges with copper foil, solder it together with all of the other pieces, clean it up and itís done.
Now for the details.
First you need a pattern. For this you can go on line and check out free pattern sites on the internet. There are an amazing amount of sites with thousands of patterns. Check them out and look for a very simple one that may consist of eight or ten pieces. Print it on the heaviest paper or poster board if you can get it to work in your printer. If not, print it out on paper, copy it onto the poster board using copy paper.
Next, cut around each piece with sharp scissors following the line very carefully. Now place each piece of the pattern, one at a time, on the glass and with a black marker, trace around the piece. Now, what you want to do is to cut around the inside edge of the line with your glass cutter. Donít worry about not getting it perfect. That is what the grinder is for.
Before grinding you can use your grozing pliers to clip off larger pieces rather than grinding them off. Now you place the piece on the grinder, start it up and grind off all areas that show your marker line. Keep your sponge slightly wet.
Dry the piece off and lay it on the pattern to check for accuracy. You donít want it any larger than your pattern. Slightly smaller is best. Continue with each piece until everything fits with its neighbor.
Now you must place copper foil on the edge of each piece. Use a plastic tool or the edge of your marker pen to smooth the foil and make it stick all around the edges.
Once all the pieces are fitted and foiled and laid out on a flat surface you are ready to solder. The pieces may be held in place with pins or brads on a piece of plywood. As you become more experienced at soldering you might do this freehand. If your project is a square or rectangle you can frame it into place with small wood strips to hold everything in place.
Start your soldering iron. Brush a little flux on the foiled piece and a little on the iron tip. Pick up a little solder with the tip and lightly touch it to the foil. As soon as you see it flow remove the tip. Once a few pieces are connected to each other you can take a length of solder in one hand and run it alongside the iron as you quickly follow the foil around each joint. For this job, practice makes perfect.
Flip the project over and do the same on the back side. Once you are happy with your work, take it to the kitchen sink, apply some detergent and water with a sponge and clean it perfectly.
To complete your project dab some coloring acid on the foil with a small cloth to turn it the color you want, wash it again to remove the excess acid and finally, with a small cloth, add some finishing wax on the foiled pieces and polish to a nice shine. Wipe off any access and you have just done what you thought was impossible a short time ago. Congratulations.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joe and Irma Mac Millan have enjoyed the Whistler Mountain and valley area of British Columbia for many years. They have camped, hiked and skied the mountains and fished and kayaked the rivers and lakes. Their website Whistler-outdoors is a must for anyone considering a trip to Whistler as well as the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. They invite one and all to take a look.