Steps for Making Stained Glass

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The basic steps to making a piece of stained glass art are to buy or make a pattern, choose the glass for each color, cut out the pieces of glass to fit the pattern, smooth out the edges and solder the design together. Learn the process of building a stained glass piece with helpful instruction from an experienced glass artist in this free video on glasswork.

Part of the Video Series: Stained Glass Art
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Video Transcript

Hi, my name is Shanon Materio. I'm with McMow Art Glass in Lake Worth, Florida. Today I'm going to go through the steps of making a stained glass window. The first step is once you decide that you want to install your stained glass window into a specific opening or you want to hang it some place in your home, you decide what kind of pattern do you want. Do you want to buy a pattern or you're artistic enough to draw your own. Once you've made that decision and you've taken your measurements, you want to draw your pattern to the exact measurements that you know are going to fit in the opening that you're going to install into. You're going to use your pattern, possibly color it. Some people like to do that; some people don't. But it does help you to follow the pattern a little easier. Take the pattern into your local stained glass studio and retail stores. Choose your glass base on color, texture, how good of a glass cutter you work; sometimes comes in; how much light you want coming in, the exposure of the sun into the stained glass window might also affect the colors that you choose; like you don't really want a bright red, yellow or orange if you are doing a morning window and your house is facing east. It could just blow the furniture across the room. So, once you've chosen your glass, you take your pattern and you do a copy. I always number my patterns and my pieces as I'm cutting them. Cutting each piece carefully to make sure they've, they fit within the black line of your pattern; neither lead came or copper foils going to be used to put it together, so you need to know that before you begin so that you have the appropriate spaces between the pieces of glass. Using your glass cutter, whichever glass cutter you find works best for you and some oil, you cut all your pieces and then you grind them. Some people use a hand held grinder and some people like to use the machine grinders. The machine grinders are great; they last forever and they're just a terrific tool to keep you, your glass very smooth. You want to do that because when it's time for you to foil, that's the time you usually get cut; drives you crazy. So, you're going to make that decision as to copper foil or lead came and then you're still going to grind your pieces to get that rough edge off. Then you're going to foil your piece or if you're doing a lead came window, you're going to build your piece weaving your lead came. Using flax, I like to use a liquid flax; it's less acidic and it neutralizes with water and as long as I don't leave it on my piece for too long; copper foil, you don't, you're only want to flax it, you're going to solder at that time; you never want to flax your piece and leave it on for the weekend, of two weeks and come back, it will create a real problem for you with corrosion. So flax your piece and solder it both sides. Lead your piece and solder the joints both sides and clean your piece. We like to use this spray cleaner. It has no ammonia in it which I really like. It doesn't corrode my pieces; I don't get white fuzzy stuff from it and it just works very well. You can buy this usually at your local stained glass studio as well. Clean your piece well when you're done. Put hooks on it if you're hanging it. Put the lead came around it if you want to or just install it directly into the opening.

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