How to Get Started in Your Stained Glass Hobby


Maybe you've dreamed of having stained-glass windows in your home or owning a classic Tiffany-style lampshade. Purchasing stained-glass home decor items is an option, but one often out of many families' price range. Learn how to work with stained glass and make these and other decorative items yourself. After some training and classes, an initial financial outlay for tools and materials, and some practice work, you'll create stained-glass projects for your home or to give as gifts.

Things You'll Need

  • Basic stained glass project kit
  • Safety glasses
  • $200 to $400 for tools and supplies
  • Take basic stained-glass classes at a local community center, art school or crafts store. These sessions will teach you basic terminology and techniques, allow you to create a simple project, expose you to the necessary tools and materials and help you decide whether working with stained glass is a hobby you seriously want to pursue. Classes may cost a nominal fee for service and supplies. Take available follow-up courses to hone your skills.

  • Purchase all-inclusive do-it-yourself kits for two or three types of stained-glass projects -- a small panel or a simple lampshade, for example -- from a local hobby or crafts retailer. Complete each project on your own at home to ensure you understand the terms used, the steps to be followed, and how to finish your projects.

  • Research the various types of tools you will need. Compare prices of online retailers, local glass dealers and auction websites to get the best value for your money. Randy Wardell, author of "Quick Success Stained Glass -- A Beginner's Instruction Guide," suggests that beginning glass hobbyists invest in a glasscutter, glass pliers, soldering iron, glass grinder, lathekin, glass pattern shears, glass marking pens, a layout kit and a ruler. As an alternative to purchasing these individual items, you may purchase a comprehensive glass hobbyist starter kit from a stained-glass retailer like Delphi Glass.

  • Review experts' recommendations to determine additional supplies to purchase. Materials may include copper foil tape, solder, flux liquid, an applicator brush, pattern paper and card and carbon paper. You will need clear glass to practice your cutting and grinding skills, and then get the colors and textures of stained glass needed to complete projects. Keep glass cleaner and soft cloth rags handy to keep your glass free of dust, smudges and fingerprints.

  • Set aside an area in your home or garage specifically for your stained-glass work. Ensure it is well lit, well ventilated and has adequate electrical power supply. For safety, keep this area off-limits to children and pets. Furnish it with a large flat work surface at waist height.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use safety glasses when working with glass and solder materials to prevent glass dust, glass shards or potentially toxic metals from damaging the eyes.
  • Make sure your workshop is well-ventilated.
  • Protect your eyes by wearing goggles or safety glasses.
  • Do not eat or drink in your workshop. Glass shards can end up in your food or beverage too easily.

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