How to Make Stained Glass
Making stained glass art requires cutting out the individual pieces of glass from a pattern, smoothing out the rough edges of the cut glass and foiling the pieces together before soldering. Understand the process of making stained glass with helpful instruction from an experienced glass artist in this free video on glasswork.
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Hi my name is Shanon Materio and I am with McMow Art Glass in Lake Worth, Florida and today we're going to do a demonstration of how to do stained glass. This is going to be a simple butterfly pattern and as you notice I have the exact same pattern twice labeled and numbered and I need to cut my pattern number 3 and number 4 so the first thing I'm going to do is lay my glass on my pattern, making sure I can see the black lines. Notice that I dipped my glass cutter which is a carbide head cutter into oil and I am cutting my pieces following the line and I am cutting on a light table as opposed to cutting pattern pieces and that's just my preference. I am using flat nippers for breaking which is also a preference. Many people like to use nippers with teeth so this is my number three all cut and I'm going to take a marker and I'm going to write number three on it and stick it right there on the pattern pieces. When I'm cutting my pieces I'm making sure that I'm paying attention to both the grain of the glass and because I am cutting on a light table I have the opportunity of choosing exactly the location in the piece of glass that I want to cut which gives me the ability to have a nice feathered look to my pieces when they're done. I'm snapping them, breaking them and I'm going to just hit them lightly with this little tool so that I have all the rough pieces off and I don't cut myself when I go to foil. I do that with all my pieces. It just takes off that very sharp little edge there. Another tool that you can use instead of this which most people really do like when they get to that level is a glass grinder, it's a great tool to have as long as you don't rely on it too much and use it for your actual cutting and everything but the little tools are great. So this is ready to be foiled. This is my copper foil and I am using today 7/32nd's. I like black back foil as you can see when I peel, it's black and I'm going to foil my piece, making sure there is an equal amount of foil. This is an adhesive material and the black seems to be a little more adhesive than the copper backed. I'm making sure that my glass is fairly close to the center with an equal amount of foil showing on either side. I over lap slightly. Some people like to use scissors when they break them. I just use my fingers over time my hands have just gotten very used to it. I do have some callouses but 31 years of glass cutting will do that to you. Once I have smoothed it all down I use this little burnisher. All of these things can be purchased at your local retail store and I am doing this to make sure even though it is adhesive that it's really on there tight because when I go to solder I want to make sure that it sticks well and I don't have to worry about losing any pieces. So now I have my butterfly ready to be soldered and I am going to use to solder a liquid flux which is an acid base but it is water soluble, won't stain or burn my hands. You never want to leave your flux on your piece too long but that's the basic concept of creating a stained glass piece. Once it's soldered I have my butterfly.