A few months ago, I joined the Facebook group Stained Glass Addicts. Many people in that group have made very interesting yard ornaments. They first buy a $20 steel wire trellis from Lowes. Then they put stained glass in the trellis, for the 3 flowers and the bottom vase. The trellis is Lowes PN 810736 with description 72-in flower trellis.
Since I have 2 sisters that are both gardeners, I decided to try building 2 of these as Christmas gifts to them.
Most of the ladies on the Facebook group that built these, said they used silicone caulk to retain the glass in the steel trellis.
I want something that will last for 20 years in the weather, and in my experience, caulk will not last that long. I am going to experiment and figure out how to more securely retain the glass in the steel trellis wire.
One lady soldered all the way around each piece of glass, which would be very time consuming, plus use a ton of solder.
On previous projects that I looked at, some people used stained glass...........some used dishes or plates. I decided to keep it simple and use light brown stained glass from hobby lobby.
I traced the circle from the trellis onto a sheet of paper............then cut out the paper for my pattern. I cut the glass, ground it, then foiled it normally. I used some black backed foil that is less than 1/4" wide. On the other 2 centers, I may use copper backed 1/4" wide foil, to give them more support.
I had some air gap between the OD of the glass circle and the ID of the black steel ring. I mentally studied it and considered several options. I finally decided to wrap the black wire with copper foil at 3 places about equally spaced around the circle. I made about 3 wraps on each one. Then I soldered the foil on the OD of the glass........the 3 lapping spots...and the 3 wraps on one side of the trellis...........then flipped the trellis over and soldered the other side. I then applied black patina to everything I had soldered.
I was very happy with how well the glass was now secured into the black wire circle. This should withstand our Central Illinois weather. including the high winds we have. I think this will last 20+ years.
I do have a small air gap between the outside of the glass and the ID of the black wire. I went to Ace hardware and got some water soluble exterior black caulk. I am going to try to fill the air gap with the black caulk. I chose the water-clean up version of caulk versus black silicone. Me and silicone caulk don't get along well at all........it is messy.....it won't smooth with your finger, and is tough to remove from your fingers when done.
The black caulk worked fine. I used my finger to spread and fill the cracks, then used a clean white shop rag to wipe away the excess caulk. It dried fine over-night.
I found it was easier to "tin" or solder the outside of the petal, before you lay it into the black steel wire........versus trying to make sure all the outside edges are soldered after you lay it into the black wire. I used just 1 paper pattern for all 7 leaves (I did not trace each of the 7 leaves and then make 7 different patterns).
On the smallest and medium size flower petals, I used 4 loops of copper foil per petal. On the biggest top petals, I increased the number of attachment loops to 6, because the petals are bigger.
On the top piece for the pot, I had to cut this piece "on the diagonal" from a standard piece of 12x12 inch Hobby Lobby glass, because it is wider than the sheet of glass is. For the big pot base, 1 standard 12x12 sheet worked ok.
I usually use a cotton swab to apply the patina, but since this panel is so big, I switched to a fine-pointed small artist's brush. I had to lay it on my sawhorse bench to have enough room to work on it.
I can't wait to get it out in the sun and see what it looks like!
After caulking the 1st trellis, I think one could skip the caulking process, and the finished product would look fine, and be just as functional. I ended up using a wet rag to wipe away the excess caulk, then a dry rag to remove the remaining excess caulk.