I always wanted to try stained glass as a hobby. I checked and the nearest classes were 70 miles away. A little while ago, I found that stained glass class was being offered through my local junior college, only 35 miles away. I signed up for this class. It is 5 nights, 7:30 to 10pm.
We were given a choice of 3 patterns to select to make our class project. I chose the "clam shell" pattern.
The instructor chose these
3 patterns because if you can make any of them, it teaches you how to cut all
the shapes required in all stained glass projects.
We cut clear window glass our 1st night. Our homework assignment was to cut our pattern from clear glass.
I broke about 3 pieces at home, that I had to cut a 2nd time. Circles are the hardest pieces to cut, and most of the interior pieces on this pattern are circular.
other homework assignment was to pick out the real colored glass we wanted to
use for our project, and bring it to the next class.
I keep an inventory of Kokomo stained glass, so I decided to pick colors that I had in stock already. I went with blue for the sky above, brown for the clam shell, green for the sea water, and a little red for pizzaz.
Google sketchup will let you enter custom colors. I took digital photos of my glass, then made a .JPG file for each color to use in Sketchup...........
We used the grinder to get all the pieces to final
shape. I tended to cut my pieces over-size, so I had to spend a lot of time
grinding. Then we hand wrapped each piece in 1/4" wide copper
The little grinder really works easy and quickly. I took each piece and put the paper pattern for it back on top of it, then white marked areas outside the pattern that needed grinding.
When you are done soldering, you squirt on some flux remover detergent and wash in the sink with water.
Finished Project Class #5
(Solder of Zinc frame, 2 rings, and patina)
Solder the glass assembly to the came applying flux with a Qtip instead of a flux brush to minimize the amount of flux. Apply flux remover and wash in water.
all of the solder on both sides with a piece of steel wool. Blow off all the
steel wool particles. Don't get patina on your fingers, if you do, wash it off
quickly or your fingers will turn orange for days. Do not apply patina to the
Use a piece of cardboard to hold the ring the right height to solder. You may have to use a nail to apply pressure to the ring against the came. Solder in place. Rings should not be used if project is more than 12x12 inches because eventually the solder fails due to the weight. You can make the rings by coiling copper wire on a pencil, then use a Dremel wheel to cut along the pencil and net rings. Flux and solder the rings before you apply them to your project.
In the Sunlight
The real test is how nice the stained glass looks in sunlight....... She looks pretty good
had a couple of small spots where the foil was missing, so no solder would
stick and you get a hole in the solder bead. You should check each piece
after you assemble all of them, and check for missing foil. Re-foil if
I have a book on stained glass that says you should flip the grousing plyers depending on the function (breaking glass or grousing). The instructor says the curved part of the plyers should be down regardless of function.
When you solder the glass assembly to the zinc
came, only apply a little flux using a Qtip versus using a solder brush. I
think you are supposed to take the project to the sink and squirt flux cleaner
on and wash after you finish soldering the zinc came. I forgot this step, but
it didn't seem to make any difference to the final color coating process
For the zinc method, the trick is to learn to cut and grind the glass. The soldering part is easy, except for getting a consistent mound type bead. Seedy glass is the clear glass with what looks like tiny seeds in it. Often used in cabinet door frames. Also makes interesting addition to a small project.
The dark patina makes a miraculous change in the appearance of your project. To the viewer, the eyes shift from the appearance of the bright solder to more focus on the glass versus the solder. The project looks much better after applying patina.