Making stained glass crafts is a wonderful hobby for almost anyone. There’s just something magical about the unique beauty of these wonderful objects, but you don’t have to be a magician to create stained glass art. Anyone can do it!
Making beautiful stained glass objects requires very little initial investment, and even if you have only a basic skill level, the results of your efforts will amaze you.
Read the following overview of the skills needed, and I’m sure you’ll agree there’s no reason you can’t jump right in and make a success of your new hobby:
Cutting stained glass
Cutting is probably the most demanding skill you’ll need to develop. But don’t worry. Over the years, plenty of clever people have refined the glass cutting procedure to get it just right. Cutting is now safe, predictable, and easy.
If you follow standard glass-cutting procedure, use good equipment, and put safety first, you’ll find yourself easily cutting the shapes you need with very little waste or breakage.
Grinding pieces of stained glass until they’re just the right shape
Glass cutting is an inexact art. When you cut glass, you get the pieces close, but they’re never exactly the shape you need them to be to fit your design. And that’s where glass grinding comes in.
A good glass grinder resembles a miniature router table, and it makes it a snap to easily shape your rough-cut glass however you want. Any misshapen or jagged edges are easily ground away, and you’re left with a perfectly shaped piece that’s ready to take its place in the pattern.
Foiling the edges of the cut pieces of glass
As you probably know, solder doesn’t adhere to glass very well. In fact, if you tried to solder directly to glass, your creation would fall apart like a loose puzzle. That’s where foiling saves the day.
By wrapping copper foil around the cut edges of your pieces of stained glass, you give the solder something to stick to. Foil ties everything together so your stained glass creation becomes a single unit rather than a collection of separate pieces.
You can foil by hand, or use an inexpensive foiling tools to help you along. Either way, it’s an enjoyable task that’s almost impossible to get wrong.
Soldering stained glass
This is the one you’ve been waiting for, right? Soldering turns your glass pieces into a single, beautiful creation. And with the right equipment, it’s not as difficult as you might think.
Although clean, even soldering takes a bit of practice, even an absolute beginner can get the hang of it very quickly. And if you get some stray blobs of solder where they don’t really belong, there’s no reason to worry about it. After all, it adds character to your artwork. Anyway, you’ll almost always start soldering the back of your artwork first. So when it comes time to do the front, you’ll be up to speed and soldering like a pro!
With a good soldering station, you’ll always know if your soldering iron is heated up and ready to produce an even bead of solder.
Finishing and framing stained glass creations
Once your artwork is soldered to your satisfaction, there’s nothing left but to finish and frame your masterpiece. Finishing is an optional step that removes any imperfections in the solder joints, but lots of folks like to leave things unfinished for a more natural, hand-crafted look.
Framing is easy too, assuming your art is a standard size. If you made your artwork from a kit, it’s almost certain that you’ll easily find a frame to that fits. But if you’re the do it yourself type who designs his or her own stained glass, you’ll want to design it to fit a frame.