I have 2 sisters who are avid gardeners, so I keep my eye out for stained glass yard ornament projects. I saw this lollipop design on the Stained Glass Addicts Facebook group, and decided to modify the design to make yard ornaments as gifts.
I decided to use 1/4" soft copper tubing for my ornaments, which has a 3/8" OD. I bought a 4 foot piece at my local Ace Hardware store to experiment making the first piece.
I went into Sketchup and scaled the Facebook drawing such that the tubing had a 3/8" OD. After I designed it, I printed it out.
When I printed out the first design from Sketchup, I was surprised how large it was. I designed it to use 1-5/8" diameter glass nuggets from Anything in Stained Glass and also smaller 7/8" diameter glass nuggest from either Hobby Lobby or Anything in Stained Glass.
I decided this would be the large model, and I would make a smaller model roughly 1/2 size of this one. I went into Sketchup and designed a 1/2 size version..........which would use primarily 7/8" diameter glass nuggets.
I had to order the large 1-5/8" diameter glass nuggets and some copper patina to do this project. This will be the first time I have ever used copper versus black patina on a project, should be fun!
Back 40 years ago, I was a plumber and this was the last time I worked with bending 1/4" soft copper. The darn stuff wanted to kink on me. I used a board, pattern, and screws to bend the copper.
I got a couple of kinks. I also tried bending the copper on a 2" diameter piece of wood also, which helped some.
I think I will try some 1/8" ID soft copper that has a 1/4" OD, and see if it bends much easier. I also want to try a bender tool and see if that helps. I ordered both from McMaster-Carr.
So this 1st piece is done, except applying the copper patina to the solder points.
I was not happy with this project. I don't like the look of the kinks I made while bending. The scale size between the copper tubing and the glass stones just does not look right. I'm hoping the next one with the smaller 1/8" ID copper tube looks better.
I decided to try bending by hand, before I had to use the bender I bought from McMaster-Carr. The smaller tubing bent much easier, and I had zero kinks !!!!!!!
I installed screws as I bent the tubing to the pattern.
I laid out the stones until I liked the look of them. I had my wife check, and she was ok with my design !!
My process for the glass stones was:
1. Wrap in Hobby Lead
2. Use large adjustable pliers to squeeze the 2 ends together.
3. Use the same pliers to hold the piece with lead
4. Drop a small amount of molten solder from the iron to the joint
5. Place leaded glass glob in its correct location
6. Apply flux with brush
7. Hold iron against the copper tube to get it hot enough for the solder to stick to it.......then move the iron to the thin hobby lead to heat it.
Because the copper tube acts as a "heat sink", it soaks up the heat before the spot you want to solder gets hot enough for the solder to stick to it. It takes a few times to get the hang of soldering these joints!
When I got the 1st side soldered, I was so excited to see it in the sun after the copper patina was applied............I forgot to solder the back side!! I put on the copper patina, then when I washed it I found the error.
When I tried to solder the back side then, the solder would not stick!! Apparently the copper patina is enough of a chemical barrier, it won't stick. I must have made this error before with black patina on a panel, but I was able to solder it because no patina had flowed to the back side??
I got out the Dremel, with a small steel brush, and cleaned all the joints................then with flux...........the solder would stick ok. Lesson Learned !!
I really like the look using the smaller 1/8" ID copper tube...........as compared to the larger 1/4" ID copper tube...........so I am abandoning making any more of these with the larger 1/4" ID tubing. I will make some more with the smaller 1/8" copper tube.
Unit #2 of the smaller size only took me 2 hours !!!!!!!! It turned out great !
I ordered more materials, enough to build 7 more lollipops.
By the time I got to the 7th unit, I had the time down to 1.5 hours per lollipop. It is about a toss-up between the time required to wrap each piece in hobby foil and solder.........versus soldering the wrapped nuggets onto the 1/4" copper.
These took 1.5 to 2 hours each to make...........pretty fast for a stained glass project!!
The ladies really like the look of these, so they are a popular gift.
I don't think you even need to solder the back side on these units. If you do a good job on soldering the front, they are sturdy enough without soldering the back side. The back side is harder to solder, especially the nugget to nugget joint. You will need to check both sides for "runs" of solder, and remove those. I like the copper patina I used on this project.