Stained glass is absolutely beautiful and it can be used in a variety of different ways. You can create something as big as a living room window, or something as small as a lampshade or glass box. It is about being creative and trying things out. You do, of course, need to know how to make your own stained glass before you start. Hopefully, the following information will help you.
Tools and Materials
Before you start, you have to have all the necessary tools and materials ready. Make sure you have a worktable that is designated specifically for your glass work, particularly if you have pets or children. Glass is sharp and it is vital that people are protected from this. Additionally, you need a number of tools such as pliers, a soldering iron, shears and a good quality glass cutter.
How to Make Your Own Stained Glass
First of all, you need to create a pattern. You can do this in a number of different ways, but the easiest is generally to use clear plastic like you put over table cloths. Do make sure you have additional copies of your template, so that you have one for your cutting and one to help you with the fit. Be sure to cover this one with clear contact paper, if you are going to use it again. If you feel really comfortable, you could use a sharpie pen to draw your template straight onto the glass. However, this does mean that you cannot make any mistakes.
Once you have your pattern, you need to cut the individual pieces out of a pane of glass. The plastic sticks to the glass pretty well and helps it stay in the right place so you can draw around it. You have to be very careful when cutting your glass and it is generally recommended to practice a little bit on some pieces you won't use anyway. You need to learn how much pressure you need to put on your glass and cutter so that it doesn't snap. You should never have to go back over cuts, as this can actually damage your wheel but also will make the cut less clean. To get the individual pieces, a gentle tap or tug should be enough, or use special glass pliers and gently squeeze to break along the score line. You will have to score your glass from one edge to the other because you can't just cut around your pattern like you could if it was paper.
Once you have your individual pieces, make sure you rub them with emery paper, a carborundum stone, or grind them with a glass grinder. They should be perfectly smooth. You then have to put each of the pieces in the right place, which allows you to check whether they will fit as well (this is why you need that second copy of your pattern).
You now have to start working with copper foil. You will have to wrap strips of copper foil around each piece of cut glass. Pay particular attention to the joints, as they should line up evenly. Be sure to center the glass on the foil so that you can solder both sides. After you have wrapped an entire piece, carefully pinch down the foil and then use a tool called a fid to burnish the foil and firmly attach it to the glass.
Now, you have to solder all those separate pieces together. First, tac solder all of the pieces together, then tin them...this means to apply a thin layer ofsolder to all of the copper foil. The next step is to make a beaded solder seam. Check out the how to part of this website for more detailed instructions. Make sure you apply a bit of flux often. This cleans the foil and allows the solder to flow evenly. Use your soldering iron to complete all of this. It is best to start at one side of your panel and work your way to the other side. Then turn your panel around and repeat on the other side.
Stained glass is a beautiful work of art that can make your entire home more stylish. Perhaps you would like to have some in your property but find that due to the cost of purchasing the glass, it hasn't been possible. However, the reality is that you can easy create stained glass patterns yourself, significantly reducing the amount you pay on it. The best thing is that creating stained glass patterns doesn't require you to be an expert. All you really need is a cardboard or plastic template where you can draw what you would like by hand.
How to Create Stained Glass Patterns
There are a number of different ways to create patterns, including desktop software. Those programs easily and quickly create a beautiful pattern for you, allowing you to manipulate it so it becomes more unique. You can resize the entire design, or certain parts of the pattern, for instance. However, these software packages are quite expensive as well, and it doesn't really allow you to create a completely personal design. Most people who make their own stained glass take a lot of pride in the fact that the idea really is their own.
Stained glass is always beautiful and you don't have to worry about being able to draw something incredibly detailed in order for your glass to look good. Start with a simple pattern if you are new to it. Even if you only place a few lines, you will see a great effect. Using only few lines means that you don't have to worry about so many joints either, which makes the process easier as you won't have to solder as much. It is when you solder your glass that you have the biggest chance of damaging your glass.
It is generally recommended to have a few copies of your design. These all have to be life-sized. Use one copy to cut out plastic pieces and number them the same as your main pattern. It is these pieces that you will use as a template when you cut your glass, foil and solder it. The other templates are so that you continue to have a full overview.
Try to avoid incredibly small pieces, because these are very difficult to use, even if you are very experienced. Because glass is so brittle, small pieces are at greater risk of breaking or damaging neighboring pieces. You should also avoid having converging points with too many lines. This is because those points become very visible after soldering and the more lines converge, the thicker that point is going to get.
Finally, if this is your first time, you may want to start with a small window. This is because it is easier, but also because if something does go wrong, you will have less financial costs in terms of doing it again. Have fun, allow your natural creativity to come out and see what you end up with.