Beginner Stained Glass Projects

There are stained glass projects that are simple enough for crafty folks who are just learning the art of making stained glass. While stained-glass window film or paints give the look of stained glass, there really is nothing like the real thing. Even a beginner can complete small, simple projects, such as sun catchers or small boxes. If you are ready to try your hand at a real stained-glass project, here is a basic idea of what is involved.

  • Instruction. While it is ideal to learn stained glass from someone who is an expert, it is possible to learn this craft on your own. There are many books and Web sites dedicated to learning the art of stained glass. Just keep in mind that this craft takes a lot of practice, and you will likely make lots of mistakes as you learn. But with patience and persistence, you will see begin to see beautiful results.
  • Supplies. Stained glass can be a rather expensive hobby, as there are a lot of specialized stained-glass tools required. You will need to have a glass cutter, pliers, a soldering iron, a glass grinder, lathekin and work board, as well as copper foil tape, solder, flux and, of course, glass.
  • Preparation. It's a good idea to practice cutting glass before you begin your first project, as cutting is one of the trickier parts of stained-glass art. You will also need to choose a pattern. A simple sun catcher or small panel is a great first project. You can find patterns online, or in books. To ensure a successful first project, don't get too ambitious. It's best to stick with simple, beginner patterns.
  • Starting. Once you have prepared your pattern, you will trace and cut your glass. This is the tricky part! Do not rush. When you're cutting the glass, the idea is to use even pressure to score the piece, so that it will break in a clean line along the score. You can't force a glass cutter through a piece of glass; you'll only gouge it, which can make it break improperly. Take your time, and expect that you will have a few bad breaks. That's just part of the craft, and as you practice you will find it gets easier. Once all your pieces are cut, you will arrange them in an assembly jig on your pattern. Some of the pieces you cut may require grinding, to get the fit just right. When you're following a pattern, always cut to the inside of your line, rather than the outside. This cuts down on the amount of grinding needed.
  • Finishing. Now it's time to wrap the pieces with your foil and burnish the foil tightly against the glass with your lathekin. When you've done this with all your pieces, place them back into the assembly jig. Make sure that the pieces fit snugly. You are now ready to solder. First you will be brushing flux on the seams of your project, Then, using your soldering iron and solder, you will begin going over all your seams, including the outer edges, slowly building up the solder, covering all the foil. The final step is to clean it up with glass cleaner and a soft cloth, and then you can enjoy looking at your first stained glass project.
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