How to Buy Stained Glass If you have a retail stained glass shop, you probably already have a wholesale account set up with a supplier like Ed Hoy's or Delphi Glass, but what if you don't have a shop and you are a stained glass hobbyist? There are several places you can go to buy stained glass. You can establish a retail account with some of the same stained glass supply companies with which retail stores set up their wholesale accounts. Most require credit cards to pay for your purchases if you order by phone from their stained glass catalogs. Some allow you to pay by check, but wait until the check has cleared before they ship your stained glass order. Stained glass magazines are full of advertisements for stained glass suppliers and you can search on-line. The magazine advertisements and articles also show pictures of some of the stained glass available so you get an idea of what the different types of glass look like. The stained glass suppliers' catalogs have color pictures of all the glass and colors they offer. The only problem is that you can't get a true feel of the glass and see exactly how it looks with natural light going through it. If you can visit a stained glass warehouse, you will be able to see for yourself the many colors and textures of stained glass. This will help you so you know in the future what you are ordering. Be sure to call the stained glass wholesale warehouse or store before you travel there to be sure that they are open. Some wholesale stores only allow people with wholesale accounts in their warehouses by appointment; some have certain days when retail buyers are allowed. There are many types, textures and colors of stained glass from which to choose. Sample boxes from different stained glass manufacturers can be purchased, but are very expensive and not practical for a hobbyist. You can create your own sample box by cutting squares or rectangles of about 1" x 2" of the glass that you do purchase along the way. Label them with the manufacturer's name, the color, and the universal order number which stands for the name, color and texture. When you order stained glass by phone or by mail order, the glass can be sent to you in 12" x 12" sheets or up to 1/2 sheets. Most full-sized stained glass sheets are 24" x 48" and do not ship well, so they have to be sent by freight truck, which is quite expensive. If you order over $1,000 worth of full-size stained glass sheets for your retail store, you can offset the cost of freight through your retail pricing. If you are a hobbyist, it isn't practical. You can purchase most of the stained glass you need through a local retail stained glass shop. Some will special order glass for you, but don't be surprised if a small shop owner cannot accommodate you by special ordering a piece of stained glass. Wholesalers require them to meet minimum dollar amounts and the small stained glass shop or studio owner probably will not be able to meet that minimum based on your needs, alone. Stained glass shops with a larger client base will place stained glass orders more frequently. You might have to wait until the shop has a large enough stained glass purchase order. Stained glass varies in texture and color. Your supplier may not be able to match additional stained glass sheets; so, purchase all the stained glass for your project at the same time. How to Decorate With Stained Glass Once upon a time, thousands of years ago, stained glass was used only in grand Cathedral windows to bring in sunlight and illuminate the "hearts of men". Many years later, wealthy aristocrats added the elegance of stained glass windows to their mansions and palaces. These days just about anyone can decorate their home with the beauty and elegance of stained glass. Back in the 18th century, stained glass artists like Tiffany and La Farge changed the face of stained glass and proved that the medium could be used for more than just windows. Light fixtures, lamps, picture frames and mirrors lined with stained glass are all beautiful additions to almost any home or business. Where should you add stained glass? The entryway to the home is a good place to begin as this is where your guest's first impression is made and it is also the first sight welcoming you home each day. Stained glass will add color and style to an otherwise boring door and window pane in your entryway. The stained glass will allow light in while adding very desirable privacy to your home. Modern stained glass comes in a variety of styles and colors and can easily be matched to any decor whether modern or classic. Living rooms can benefit from unique and beautiful Tiffany-style lamps. Choose a color and style that compliments your upholstery, carpet and wall colors or go for a highly contrasting eclectic look. The stained glass lamp can simply blend in and be a useful source of light for reading or it can be the added bit of character that serves as a "conversation piece" in the home. Either way "a thing of beauty is a joy to behold" so add some joy to your living space! The dining room is a great place for a stained glass chandelier. Beveled edges and translucent colors will add interest and excitement to your table setting. Lighting certainly sets the mood for the dining room and stained glass provides just the right feel. Food even seems to taste better when served in beautiful surroundings, don't you agree? The bathroom can be accentuated with a beautifully stained glass framed mirror and/or Tiffany-style light fixtures. How about a jewel-look stained glass soap holder? Use one of the main colors in the stained glass to match your towels, toothbrush holder, shower curtain and soap dispenser to for a fabulous, elegant rich look. These items don't need to be expensive and your bathroom will look like it belongs to the Vanderbilt's! A beautiful stained glass window over the kitchen sink would certainly make doing dishes more enjoyable. Casual meals in the breakfast nook would seem more extraordinary when surrounded by beautiful stained glass. Dishes in one of the jewel-tones of the stained glass and a contrasting jewel-toned tablecloth would pull the look together nicely. Saving the best for last...the bedroom! Beautiful stained glass lamps gracing the nightstands on either side of the bed could help to set the mood. A stained glass vase or jewelry box on top of the dresser could be just the touch you need. There are so many ways to decorate with stained glass. You could easily put a stained glass piece in every room of the house either to compliment your decorating theme or even AS your decorating theme. Let your imagination run wild and enjoy your newfound love of stained glass. How Stained Glass is Made Stained glass is a beautiful and unique art form that has existed for centuries. Although many different techniques, such as painting on the glass, have been created over the years, the process of making colored glass, true stained glass remains nearly unchanged after all this time. The stained glass making process begins with some basic natural raw materials like sand (silica), soda or potash, lead oxide or lime and one of the various metal oxides to provide the different colors used in stained glass designs. These raw materials, in their proper proportions are then mixed in a large vat and heated to 2500? F turning the mixture into molten glass which can then be processed in a variety of ways depending on the effect desired for a particular piece of stained glass. For instance, to make the glass used in stained glass windows, a lump of the molten glass is caught up at one end of a blow pipe, blown into a cylinder-like shape, cut, then compressed into sheets and cooled. This process may be varied in order to produce different effects. "Flashed glass" is made by putting a ball of molten white glass inside of a layer of molten colored glass which, when blown and flattened, results in a less concentrated color because it will be white on one side and colored on the other. This allows a much greater variety of colors to be created for use in stained glass art. Another process that is used for making Cathedral glass is done by rolling the molten glass into flat sheets. Then there are the "Norman slabs" which are created by blowing the molten glass into a rectangular box shaped mold. The sides are then sliced apart and formed into slabs which are slightly thinner at the edges and thicker in the center. Larger manufacturers use much the same techniques, but the mixing and shaping processes are done with large machines instead of by hand. As mentioned above various metal oxides are added to produce different colors of stained glass. Golden, yellow and vermillion glass is sometimes created by using uranium, cadmium sulfide or titanium. Adding gold produces a beautiful ruby color Cobalt creates most shades of blue. Chromium and iron oxides can also create green shades. Copper oxide is very versatile and depending on the conditions it is used under it can create ruby red, bluish or green colors. The beautiful pieces of stained glass are turned into beautiful stained glass windows and other beautiful artwork in a variety of ways. The oldest way is by (in simple terms) cutting out a design and then assembling the pieces together using "lead cames" which are basically made from strips of grooved lead which is then soldered to the glass. Different metal bars and loops are soldered to the lead in order to allow the stained glass window to be installed in a church, home or other building. Other techniques use a special type of cement or other metals "foiled" to hold the stained glass pieces together. The methods for creating stained glass have survived and proven effective for thousands of years and will almost certainly continue to do so for many thousands more to come. Beginning Stained Glass Class -- What Should I Expect to Learn Every stained glass instructor is different, but the things you will learn from someone who has already been through the frustrations of learning the art of stained glass are invaluable. Learning in a stained glass class will save you a lot of time and grief that you would encounter if you were self-taught. You will learn the basic techniques for scoring, breaking, grinding and leading stained glass. You will also learn about the basic tools necessary to complete a stained glass project. In your stained glass class, you will learn how to select stained glass for your projects. You will learn about different types, textures and colors of stained glass and how to optimize the use of colors in your design. You might not create your own design for your first project. You will probably do a simple stained glass suncatcher from a pattern. Depending on the length of your stained glass class, you might also make a small stained glass panel. You will begin by choosing glass for your stained glass project. You will learn the appropriate way to hold a scoring tool and then how to break the scored glass with your hands, groziers, or running pliers (for straight lines). You'll be taught that scoring is done on the smoother side of the stained glass. To successfully break the stained glass, you will learn how to score straight lines, inside curves and outside curves. Your experienced teacher will be able to show you tricks that will make these easier to do and which tools work best. He/she should have different styles of tools for you to try out so that you can choose what works best for you. You will also learn how to use a glass grinder so that you can smooth the edges of the stained glass and make adjustments so that the pieces will fit the stained glass design. As you lay the pieces of glass on the pattern, you must leave just enough space between them to make up for the thickness of the lead came or copper foil that will be wrapped around them. You will either learn the copper foil method of stained glass or the lead came method. You will learn how to wrap and burnish the stained glass edges with copper foil. Be patient, this will take practice. You will learn how to assemble your stained glass project using lead channels. You will learn how to use cutting tools in order for you to cut and fit the came so that your stained glass project will have smooth lines and joints. You'll be shown different tools for wrapping foil; or, you might prefer to wrap by hand. Various burnishing tools are available. Try out different tools. For the copper foil stained glass project, you will use flux to prepare the foil for applying solder to it. You will learn how to use a soldering iron and how to "tin" the foil by applying a flat coat of solder to all surfaces of the foil. Next, you will go back over it and apply a smooth, raised "bead" line. In the lead came project you will learn how to solder the joints and fill the gap between the glass and lead with "putty." The next step you will learn is how to add a patina which will turn the solder black and makes the colors of the stained glass pop out. After you have framed the project, finally, you will learn how to clean and polish your completed stained glass panel. Designing Your Own Stained Glass Creating works of art in stained glass in an immensely satisfying and interesting hobby. To get started you might decide to take a class or grab a couple of how-to books and prepare for a little trial and error. Either way, your first few projects will probably be made either from a pre-made kit or with a pattern from a book or printed from a website. You may soon decide that you are ready to create your own stained glass design and bring it to life. Although the idea may seem daunting at first, you will soon find the challenge inspiring and realize that designing your own stained glass is not as difficult as you first thought. All stained glass art projects, big and small begin with a cartoon. The cartoon is a drawing on paper of what you would like your stained glass artwork to look like. The fact that you are translating your artwork into a stained glass piece provides some extra challenges. You will have to take into consideration the strength and integrity that the different sized pieces of stained glass will create. You will need to keep in mind the copper or lead "skeleton" that is created by your came. This skeleton needs to be thought of as not only a strength or support to the stained glass, but an integral part of the design itself. This can be an advantage as you are forced to stretch your creativity and add extra lines where you might not have initially considered, unexpectedly adding more depth to your design. There are many places you can and should look for inspiration for your stained glass design. You will find many books and websites about stained glass from which you may find ideas. Paintings, magazines, your home furnishings or any interesting pattern you see may provide insight. Your stained glass art may be a scene from a family photo, a familiar landscape or a completely abstract design. Once you have decided on a design for your stained glass it is time to draw it out on paper. Think of the size your finished piece will be and draw the perimeter and begin planning the stained glass design within it. Once you have made the initial drawing, look it over and think about whether any of the pieces will be too difficult to cut and consider changing the lines slightly to avoid difficult cuts. Remember that smaller pieces with more leading between them will make the stained glass stronger, so consider adding lines in areas that are too large. When working on your first design, keep it simple so you can gain experience and build your confidence before moving on to more difficult pieces. Remember that even the great American stained glass artists like Tiffany and La Farge started with small jobs before they adorned America's great churches! Once you are satisfied with your pencil drawing, ink it in and make several copies. You will need one for cutting the stained glass design out and at least one other for checking that the pieces fit together. When placing your pattern pieces to cut your glass take into consideration any irregularities or streaks in the glass and consider how to use them to your advantage such as a streaky blue being used for a cloudy sky. Most importantly, relax and trust you intuition. Your stained glass will be a one-of-a-kind and an expression of your unique personality. A Brief History of Stained Glass Accounts vary on the earliest use of stained glass mainly because it was invented before recorded history. Some historians claim it was first used as a domestic luxury in the homes of wealthy Romans in the first century. Stained glass eventually gained recognition as an art form sometime in the fourth century as Christians began to worship openly and built elaborate churches to celebrate their religion. Other historians point to evidence in ancient ruins that implicate the use of stained glass in pagan traditions and decor. While we may never know the exact origin of the medium of stained glass it is clear that the spread of Christianity is directly related to the expansion of stained glass across the globe. The twelfth century began what is known as the Gothic Era and stained glass windows took center stage in elaborate and monumental cathedral designs. Beginning with the innovative designs on the St. Denis, stained glass windows were used to bring light, both literally and metaphorically, into cathedrals to enhance the worship experience. Most of the stained glass from the St. Denis Cathedral was destroyed during the French Revolution but a few select fragments and even some entire windows can be found on display in varying locations throughout Europe. The bold lines and strong figures of Gothic style stained glass were eventually phased out as Renaissance artisans leaned toward greater detail, more delicate coloring and increased realism. Stained glass windows evolved into something more like a painting on glass than an architectural element and some of the notable elements such as lead lines disappeared. Although there were numerous pieces created and even some masterpieces, due to the difficulties in expressing the great detail of requisite to the Renaissance era, true stained glass became somewhat of a lost art. Stained glass had been primarily used by the Catholic Church and much of the precious art form was destroyed during the 1600's by order of King Henry VIII after his break with the Church. Not only were cherished stained glass windows recklessly destroyed, but many of the glass making facilities were ruined as well. Religious unrest was not the only factor in the decline of stained glass. During the Baroque period the fashion leaned toward more intricately detailed interiors and elaborate wall painting which necessitated the use of clear glass in the architecture. Many of the remaining stained glass windows were left unmaintained and allowed to decay during this period and very few new stained glass windows were created. During the late seventeenth century the hearts and imaginations of the people returned once again to the Gothic style of architecture. This revival was apparently motivated by the need to escape the harsh realities of "modern" life including the daily grind of factories. With the return of Gothic architecture emerged a newfound interest in stained glass. Artists initially continued to use the technique of painting on glass, but eventually realized the superiority of the old pot metal glasses used in medieval times. Since the old techniques had not been used for such a long time, the technique used for making the lead lines had been lost and the artisans of the period floundered when trying to recreate the dynamics of the Gothic stained glass. This coupled with a reluctance to give up the newer more detailed "modern" depictions of scenes and figures lead to windows with an interesting design with the old architecture and an unusual blend of the old and new stained glass styles. During the nineteenth century, artisans La Farge and Tiffany created new variations of opalescent stained glass. La Farge tended towards architecture and window designs with a small private studio, while Tiffany boasted a larger studio that branched out into other areas, like the Tiffany Lamp which has become a household name. Today's stained glass artists are bound by no particular style or religious themes. Much of the work they do involves restoration, but can also be seen in both small and large decorative touches in homes of people from almost any economic background. New and innovative techniques are constantly being discovered and stained glass continues to add interest to our lives. Turn Your Stained Glass Hobby into a Fun Job You have honed your stained glass construction skills and have given all your friends and family stained glass gifts for every occasion. Why not earn back some of your expenses and more? You can and you can have fun doing it. Most stained glass hobbyists find that they have several beautiful stained glass suncatchers, candle votives and other small projects on hand. They often test the waters by beginning with booths at craft fairs and other similar events. Most small booths at craft fairs are reasonably priced. You don't have to spend a lot of money for an elaborate setup. If your booth is indoors, a few bright lights shining on your stained glass items will enhance their beauty and attract attention. It is best if you can hang the suncatchers, so you could build a portable frame topped with lattice work and hang them with plastic fishing line. Be sure to weight the frame down if you are outdoors. One gust of wind can destroy all of your work. Make sure you have good strong boxes and plenty of packing material to transport your stained glass projects to and from your craft shows. If you pack carefully you will prevent accidents and broken stained glass items. If your vehicle isn't large enough to haul everything, you might consider borrowing or renting a small trailer; but it is best to keep your expenses as low as possible. The idea is to make a profit. Some stained glass crafters build projects all winter then travel to craft shows all spring, summer and fall. They find that they do well in sales and enjoy meeting people and traveling. They may include shows during the Christmas shopping season because stained glass articles make excellent gifts and stocking stuffers and sell well as last minute gift items. Selling stained glass items on eBay and on-line websites can be done year around and from home. This way the stained glass crafter can sell on speculation or by special order. The advantage to selling on speculation is that you can choose the project you want to do and not worry about deadlines or meeting anyone's specifications. You can work at home in your own personal workshop and then list the items online when you have completed them. Be sure to include a photo with your listing to optimize your chances of selling. Pack the sold stained glass items carefully for safe shipping and require insurance so that if an item is broken in shipping, the customer will be happy to come back to you and you will be paid for repair or replacement of the broken stained glass project. Repair and reconstruction of stained glass is a more specialized area of stained glass work that customers look for but have a hard time finding artisans willing to do that kind of work. You can create a special niche for income if you become expert at stained glass repair and construction. Opening a stained glass retail store is an expensive venture. If you can purchase one that is going out of business, it might be more within your budget and you would be inheriting an existing customer base. Teaching stained glass classes in your home studio or even as non-credit classes at your local university is good income and lots of fun. You can even have students learn as they help you work on a large stained glass project. You get paid by the student and paid for the stained glass project and be paid for having fun! Supplies for Getting Started in Stained Glass This list is meant to help create a shopping list for the beginning stained glass art student. Not all of the items will be needed for every project, for instance you will use either lead cames OR copper foil and their corresponding accessories depending on the stained glass style you will be working with. Other tools listed may be very helpful, but not entirely necessary, one pair of pliers may be enough to do several jobs for example. Glass Cutters -- One of the most important tools you will use in stained glass making, good glass cuts will make or break your project. These range from very inexpensive carbide steel wheel cutters (you will need to add cutting oil as you go along) to slightly more expensive self-oiling tungsten carbide or pistol grip wheel cutters. Cutting Oil -- This helps to reduce friction allowing a smoother cut and also keeps glass debris from encumbering the cutting wheel's progress. Soldering Iron -- (pronounced like soddering) This is used to melt lead solder which in turn is used to join pieces of metal, such as the lead cames or copper foil that will hold your stained glass pieces together. Solder -- The type you will be using in stained glass making should be an alloy (mixture) of tin and lead. This usually comes in a spool of either a 50/50 or 60/40 blend. The 60/40 is slightly more expensive, flows more smoothly and is therefore preferable for making a stained glass project. Sal Ammoniac -- This is soldering iron tip cleaner made from a naturally occurring mineral that reacts to the heat of the soldering iron and removes debris when the iron is gently rubbed on it. Flux -- Helps remove oxidation and other dirt and debris from the metal surfaces so that the solder can adhere to it. This is an absolute necessity to keep your stained glass pieces together; the solder just won't "stick" without it! Flux Brush -- A very inexpensive brush used to apply the flux. Flux Remover -- Can be used to neutralize flux or patina and is often used at the end of projects to clean up small errors and over-flow. Cutting Square -- Helpful when drawing squares or other designs requiring a right angle. Ruler -- Used for measuring project dimensions as well as for drawing or cutting a straight line. A non-skid backing such as cork or rubber will help keep it from sliding on the glass. Pattern Shears -- These are special scissors that automatically cut the proper size strip of paper between pattern pieces to allow room for the lead cames or copper foils to be placed between the various stained glass pieces of the design. Grozing Pliers -- These pliers have narrow, serrated jaws for picking up small chucks of glass and can be used to remove uneven or jagged pieces of stained glass after cutting. Running Pliers -- These thick pliers help to carefully break stained glass pieces that have been scored on the design lines. Needle Nose Pliers -- A good all around tool to keep handy, can be used for small detail work. Wire Cutters -- These can be used to cut reinforcing wire or the picture hanging wire to hang your finished stained glass art project. Hammer or Mallet -- A good rubber headed mallet can be used to gently tap stained glass pieces into place. Carborundum Stone -- A trademarked name for a grinding tool used to smooth the edges of cut pieces of stained glass. Should be wetted periodically to make smoothing easier. Electric Glass Grinder -- A bit more luxurious way to smooth the glass edges; this is a machine that will do the job faster and more efficiently. This is definitely nice, but optional. Copper Foil -- One of the choices of material to hold the pieces of stained glass together. Comes in various widths depending on the look of your project-make sure your pattern shears are the same width as your foil or came. Copper Foil Dispenser -- Another nicety, this makes handling the copper foil easier, much the way a tape dispenser makes tape easier to handle. Lead Cames -- The original choice in stained glass support systems. These come as long strips of lead with grooves or channels on either one side or both, depending on whether it is to be used as an inside or outer edge piece of the stained glass. Lead Vise -- Holds the lead came in place to allow it to be stretched before use. Lead Cutters -- Also known as lead pliers these snips are especially helpful when cutting cames for use in the corners of your stained glass project. Lead Knife -- Can be used to make clean straight cuts on lead cames. Horseshoe Nails -- Great for holding frames in place when assembling your stained glass project. Dustpan and Brush -- Helps to keep your workplace clean which is important in making stained glass projects because debris will prevent things from sticking properly. Safety Goggles -- Keeps pieces of lead or glass from damaging the eyes during cutting, always remember "safety first"! Wooden Block Holder -- Can be helpful for holding pieces of stained glass. Masking Tape -- Always handy in the workshop; may be used to hold pattern pieces together or many other uses. Picture Hanging Wire or Other Fasteners -- For hanging your completed stained glass project. Lead Board with Right Angle Support -- Useful in holding a lead stained glass project in place during assembly while keeping the edges clean and straight. Wood or Plastic Fid -- Great as a burnishing or spreading tool when applying foil to stained glass. Glazing Cement -- Seals and strengthens the joint areas of the lead cames. Whiting -- Helps to dry and set the glazing cement. Can also be used to remove excess putty from the stained glass. Stiff Bristle Brush -- Used for applying glazing cement. Patina -- Liquid solution that changes the appearance of solder, can give a more antiqued appearance. Rubber Gloves -- Absolutely necessary when applying patina or any other solvents to the project; you do not want these penetrating your skin! Mirror Sealer -- This aerosol spray is used on the back of mirrors to keep the reflective coating from being scratched or damaged. Finishing Compound -- Provides the finishing touch to your stained glass project, adding polish and shine while providing a protective finish to help prevent oxidation and tarnish buildup. Pushpins, Tacks and Jig Material -- Items that may be helpful in holding certain pieces together while assembling your stained glass project. Craft Knife -- Perfect for correcting small errors in copper foiling and other small tasks. Steel Wool -- May remove oxidized material from solder and other metal parts. Plastic Basin and Sponge -- With warm soapy water to clean glass and metal debris from your stained glass workspace. Carbon Paper -- For making pattern copies. Tracing Paper -- For tracing the original design unto a clean copy. Rubber Cement -- For holding pattern pieces on glass to make cutting them out easier. Pens, Pencils, Markers and Colored Pencils -- Needed for drawing and coloring in pattern pieces. There you have it, a not-so-condensed shopping list to get you on your way to a new hobby in stained glass art making! Stained Glass Workshop Safety Tips Whether you are an experienced or new stained glass crafter or artisan, it is important to think about safety in your stained glass workshop or studio. There are the obvious hazards of working around glass, but tools and chemicals can also be hazardous. When you go to your stained glass supplier, do not bring small children. There is too big of a risk of being cut by glass and being exposed to toxic fumes, dust and lead. Most stained glass warehouses post signs requesting that small children do not go into areas where the stained glass is stored. Your local retail stained glass dealer would appreciate not having the stress of having a "bull in a China shop." When carrying sheets of stained glass, wear gloves that help you have a good grip on the glass. The gloves should protect your hands from cuts from the razor sharp edges of the stained glass. Grip the glass on each side. Carrying it with one hand on top and one on bottom creates a hazard that the glass could snap in two. If you grip from each side and the sheet of stained glass breaks, you have a better chance of letting the glass slip away from you without being cut. When scoring and breaking stained glass at your workbench, wear protective eyewear and gloves. Be careful not to use your hand to swipe glass shards out of your way. Keep a bench brush and dust pan handy so that you can frequently brush off your workbench. This will reduce accidents and also keep a smooth surface to work on. The tiniest glass shard under a piece of stained glass that you are scoring can cause the piece you are working on to have an unwanted break. Never use a glass grinder without protecting your eyes. Glass particles can fly up into your eyes and cause terrible pain and may permanently damage your eyes. Most glass grinders are equipped with face shields or face shields can be purchased separately. While grinding your stained glass, wear goggles that shield your eyes from all sides to prevent glass particles from getting in your eyes from underneath since the grinder is below eye level. It would also be a good idea to wear a paper mask to prevent breathing in the glass particles and dust that could be harmful to your sinuses and lungs. When leading the stained glass pieces, wear gloves to protect you from exposure to lead poisoning. If you have cuts on your hands, cover them with band-aids. Pay careful attention to your hot soldering iron. Don't look away and reach for your iron. You might grasp the wrong end of the iron... the end that is several hundred degrees hot! Make sure that your area is well ventilated when you are soldering. Fumes from solder and flux contain harmful lead and acid. Solder scraps should be kept in a special container for taking to a recycler. Sometimes new stained glass crafters don't have a workshop and think they can begin by working at their kitchen table or counter. That is a definite risk of exposing you and your family to lead poisoning, chemical contamination, and hazards from the shards of stained glass. It would be better to set up a space in your garage or an unused room. Some stained glass shops will allow you to rent bench time. Common sense and a clean stained glass workshop will help keep you safe and add to your enjoyment of the art of stained glass. How to Install Your Stained Glass Window Many centuries ago stained glass windows were used almost exclusively in grandiose cathedrals. The installation was easily achieved as on opening was made in the stone and concrete structure to the window specifications (or the window was made to the size of the opening) and metal loops and bars were cemented into the window opening during construction specifically to be soldered to the metal bars and loops that are attached to the stained glass window. Stained glass in no longer limited to places of religious worship or even to just the rich and famous, so how does one go about installing a stained glass window in a modern day structure? You have a several options available to you, assuming that you do not live in a grand cathedral and that your home was not specifically constructed with stained glass windows in mind. One of the easiest ways to install your stained glass window is over the existing window. Your stained glass window overlay should measure about 1/8" smaller around each edge than the original window. First make sure the existing window and inside window frame is clean and dry, you don't want any dirt or moisture permanently pressed between the pieces of glass. First, check to see that the stained glass panel will fit into your window. You can place 1/8" cardboard or wood spacers around the bottom of the window and run a small bead of caulk around the inside edge of the window frame. You may use either clear caulk or a colored caulk that matches your window frame. Now, press the stained glass panel into place and fill in carefully with additional caulk. Be sure to smooth the caulk carefully with your fingers, wiping the excess unto clean tissue and discarding immediately. It is important not to get the caulk on the stained glass panel (if you do simply wipe it away with clean fingers and wipe them with clean tissue). Once the window is caulked in place you will need to secure it there for 24 hours to allow the caulk to set properly. Using wood blocks or stacked pieces of cardboard brace the window in place and tape across the bracing for the next day. At this point, you may consider the job complete or you could add some wood trim around the inside for a more finished look and added stability. Another easy solution would be to use your stained glass panel as a window hanging and simply solder hooks to the rebar on your stained glass panel secure a chain into the window frame and hang the stained glass panel. This option allows you to take your stained glass with you if you move. The next option may require some professional help. You may want to have your stained glass panel put into a wood, aluminum, or vinyl window frame. The stained glass window can be protected on either side with tempered glass which will provide better insulation to your home as well. At this point the window can be installed in the same way as a normal new or replacement window, by screwing it into the window frame. Whatever method you choose, your new stained glass window is sure to add beauty, value and enjoyment to your home. How Much Will a Custom Stained Glass Window Cost? When you go to a stained glass artisan, don't expect to walk in and tell him/her you want a window put in your front door and then ask, "How much will it cost?" The stained glass artisan cannot give you a quote off the top of his/her head. There is a process to arriving at a price for a stained glass window. When you know that you want a custom stained glass window, you should arrive at the stained glass studio with some facts and ideas before you ask a stained glass artisan for a price quote. The first thing you need to know is the exact measurement of the opening. The base price of a custom built stained glass piece begins with pricing based on square footage, and then per piece. Therefore, the more intricate the piece is, the more costly. Each stained glass artisan has his/her own pricing scale. An example of just the basis of the quote would be: $125 per square foot plus $1.50 per piece in the pattern for a stained glass window constructed with lead came. A lower charge of $110 per square foot plus $1.50 per piece might be given for a stained glass window constructed with copper foil. But that's just the beginning. If you don't know what design to settle on and you request full-size cartoons (patterns) to look at on your opening, the stained glass artisan might charge $50 or more per cartoon to cover his/her extra time -- especially if you decide not to have the stained glass window made. The type of glass used in a stained glass window has bearing on the cost. For instance, red glass is more expensive than some other colors because gold is a metal used in making red glass. The brand Kokomo glass is generally more expensive than Spectrum glass. Some of the "art" glass is more expensive than other glass. Beveled glass and bevel clusters (especially if they have to be custom made) are often far more expensive than stained glass. For an individual stained glass artisan to custom make bevel clusters, it requires a lengthy process. This would increase the quoted price for your custom stained glass window. If you decide to have gems, glass globs or faceted jewels or rondels added to the design, these will increase the price of your custom stained glass window. Some gems are more expensive than others, and these add to the intricacy of the work to be done. Other considerations in the overall cost of your stained glass window are installation and how it will be framed and whether or not the artisan will be responsible for framing and installation. The stained glass artisan may refer you to a framer or a carpenter if the artisan does not do the installation. Other costs include things like whether or not a storm window is included or if the stained glass piece will be sandwiched and weather-sealed between two pieces of glass. It will help the stained glass artisan to know what type of glass to choose if you know whether or not you need glass that will provide total privacy. Is there anything that you would like to bring into the stained glass design like nature or flowers? Do you want colors or just clear textures? Do you like Prairie style or Art Nouvea? When you have a design and the glass chosen and the finished size, your stained glass artisan will be able to give you a price on your beautiful custom stained glass window. Enhance the Beauty of Your Garden with Stained Glass Art Stained glass isn't just for windows any more. The beauty of your garden can be enhanced by capturing the beauty of the sun's natural light through stained glass art. Stained glass ornaments in your garden will capture the sun's natural light and the stained glass will sparkle as the light dances off its surface. A stained glass stepping stone or garden stone path provides a wonderful mixture of color and design leading to the entry to your flower garden. Stained glass mosaic garden stone designs are fun to do and can be placed throughout your garden. You can make them yourself with regular concrete mix or special colored DiamondCRETE(tm)Garden Stone Concrete. You can make your own wooden molds or purchase molds from your retailers or wholesalers. With Tiffany Garden Borders patterns you can build a 4-foot concrete and stained glass circular garden border around your flowerbed, tree, birdbath, backyard pond, sundial or herb garden. If you aren't experienced at scoring, breaking and grinding stained glass, just break random scraps of stained glass and arrange them in a design, or in no particular design, in your concrete form. You can buy easy-to-make stepping stone kits in craft stores, like Hobby Lobby, or in the craft aisles of Wal-Mart or online. Stained glass shops and suppliers have hundreds of patterns and instructional books on stained glass garden stones and other stained glass garden ornaments. Whimsical frogs, fish and turtle stained glass designs on concrete rain spout deflectors are more attractive than the ordinary plastic ones you see under everyone's gutter drains. Picture beautiful stained glass and beveled or prism glass wind chimes flashing brilliant colors. The sound of the stained glass shapes bouncing off each other is pleasing when they are moved by a gentle breeze. Iron garden stakes frame colorful stained glass designs which are interchangeable. You can change the design to fit any season or special occasion. The stained glass garden stakes can be placed throughout the garden or by your front door. Guests will enjoy the warm, welcoming feeling they get when they see the warm colorful stained glass garden stakes and stepping stones. Another gardeners' favorite is stained glass wire stake designs for flowerpots and smaller garden beds. Three-dimensional stained glass hummingbirds, butterflies, ladybugs, dragonflies and other creatures are favorite colorful additions to any patio flowerpot. A popular stained glass garden project is a resting bench. This is a larger and heavier stained glass project but is worth the effort. The beautiful designs in the many available patterns for stained glass benches fit so well in a beautiful, colorful garden, or under a shade tree. Many have been used in cemeteries and church yards as a lovely, restful place to pause and reflect. There are iron frames for patio tables to be done in stained glass mosaics. They can be purchased though stained glass suppliers, shops and online. There are many stained glass patterns and books available for the patio tables; or, as always, you can be creative and come up with your own stained glass mosaic table design. What about a cozy looking stained glass fireplace screen in front of your patio fireplace, or stained glass patio lanterns or porch light fixtures? You can make any stained glass garden decoration yourself or have a stained glass artisan design and make it for you. You can decorate garden walls or patio floors with stained glass mosaic designs. When it comes to decorating your garden, deck, or patio with stained glass, you are limited only by your own imagination.
Stained Glass Windows -- a Light unto the Soul Light is truly the inspiration for stained glass in both the physical and literal senses. During the Gothic Era from about 1150-1500 A.D. there was no electricity so alternate ways of lighting Cathedrals was necessary. Immense and exquisite stained glass windows were created and intended to provide physical light by allowing in much needed sunlight, but they were also intended to provide spiritual light. The King James Version of the Bible in John 8:12 says "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." Jesus was the inspiration for and his life, gruesome death and subsequent resurrection were the subject of the majority of stained glass windows created during that period in history. Grand and magnificent cathedrals carved up gigantic stones and supported by immense pillars and flying buttresses reaching up towards the Heavens in worship of God and His son were crowned with beautiful jewels known as stained glass. In some Cathedrals, stained glass panels covered entire walls and the supporting pillars go almost entirely unnoticed. The pillars alone could not have supported the weight of the structure, which is the purpose of the flying buttresses (they braced the structure from the outside). The art of making stained glass has been poetically referred to as "painting with light" taking the analogy even further. This term was coined due to the fact that rather than reflecting light off of it, a stained glass window allows light to be transmitted through it. It is a unique partnership, as neither the light nor the window is as magnificent without the other. Abbot Suger of the Cathedral at St. Denis in France was among the first to employ the Gothic form of architecture in an attempt to glorify God and Jesus Christ. The following quote is taken from a writing of Suger, included as a part of a transcription on the doors to the Cathedral. That gives insight into his motivations for using large amounts of stained glass and the relationship of the physical light to the spiritual, "...The noble work is bright, but, being nobly bright, the work should brighten the minds, allowing them to travel through the lights to the true light, where Christ is the true door." He later gave a detailed explanation as to what the purpose of the exemplary works of stained glass window art were in the church; "Thus sometimes when, because of my delight in the beauty of the house of God, the multicolor loveliness of the gems has called me away from external cares, and worthy meditation, transporting me from material to immaterial things, has persuaded me to examine the diversity of holy virtues, then I seem to see myself existing on some level, as it were, beyond our earthly one, neither completely in the slime of earth nor completely in the purity of heaven. By the gift of God I can be transported in an anagogical manner from this inferior level to that superior one." Walking into a mighty cathedral such as St. Denis, even today, one can feel the influence this passion for light had on the development of the art of stained glass making and the worship of God during the Gothic Era. Stained Glass Scoring and Breaking -- an Art in Itself Scoring and breaking stained glass is an art that you can achieve but not without some practice. All it takes is a little patience and you will soon be able to cut and break stained glass like a pro! The first thing to do when cutting stained glass is to relax when you are handling stained glass. It will make the work go much more smoothly. Having the proper stained glass cutter is important. Various companies manufacture different types of stained glass cutters. They have cutting wheels of either carbide or steel. The wheel size and honing angles vary for use in specific types of glass cutting. If you want the proper cutter for stained glass, it is best to go to a stained glass supplier. Cutters in hardware stores are generally made specifically for cutting clear glass. Carbide wheels cost more but last longer than steel wheels. They will eventually get dull or even nicked and have to be replaced; but, you can replace the wheel only and not have to get a whole new cutter. Stained glass cutters need to be lubricated to keep the wheels rolling freely. Most stained glass cutters, like Toyo or Fletcher pistol grip and pencil grip cutters, have a reservoir for lubricating oil which runs down a wick to the cutting wheel. Stained glass cutters come with different handles which make the choice one of preference and fit. Once you have chosen your favorite cutters, it is best not to let other people use your cutter. They will put pressure on it differently than you which changes the balance. Pencil grip stained glass cutters have a ball on one end which is used to tap the stained glass underneath the score line to begin a running break so that the glass can be pulled apart. Stained glass that has been scored can be pulled apart by hand; but sometimes, the glass pieces are too small to grip. Glass pliers can be used to separate the pieces that are too small to grasp. Special "running" pliers are made for breaking straight lines. Some glass pliers have smooth gripping surfaces. Others have teeth for scraping off rough edges or shards of stained glass. Gripping one side of the glass firmly with your thumb along one side of the score gives the glass some stability. The breakers are used on the opposite side, pointing toward the score. You use a quick pulling away and down motion. If your score is long, it is better to "rock" your pliers at one end to start a running break; then do the same at the opposite end of the score, then pull the stained glass apart. A good score is done in one continuous motion. Starts and stops will only cause a bad score line which will end up in a bad break. Going over a score line twice dulls your stained glass cutter and makes a bad score line. Stand up when scoring stained glass so that you can apply even pressure using the weight of your arm and leave your wrist free to follow curves. A metal ruler can be used to assist in cutting straight lines. Be sure to hold the stained glass cutter straight up and down. If your cutter is leaning to one side, it results in a beveled cut, causing the stained glass pieces to fit poorly. Make sure you glass is clean before you cut it so that nothing interferes with a smooth score. Cut on the smooth side of the stained glass. Stained Glass Projects for Children Stained glass is a beautiful art form that combines the use of various colors, shapes, textures and transparencies with light to illuminate, decorate and inspire the mind, spirit and eye of the beholder. Children have always been, and will always be, fascinated with shapes and colors which makes the art form of stained glass perfect for them. Unlike a coloring book page which is colored once and then maybe taped to the refrigerator for a few days before finding its way to the garbage can, a stained glass creation can bring enjoyment and help boost a child's self-esteem for many years to come. There is nothing better than a beautiful constant reminder of the child's great "achievement". In its early days, long before Christ was born, stained glass was made by mixing different metals with sand and soda and heating them at high temperatures so that the colors were actually a part of the glass. This type was thicker and the colors were rich and dark. Throughout the decades styles and tastes changed and new ways of using stained glass were needed. As people wanted to get more detail in their stained glass windows and also allow more light in, they began to use the technique of painting on the glass, rather than mixing the colors into while making it. This would be the easiest way to introduce a child to the art of stained glass. Many craft stores and mass marketers carry ready made stained glass kits that allow the child to make beautiful sun catchers or Christmas tree ornaments. These kits are very easy to use. Most have kid friendly designs with raised metal borders and the child can use an eye dropper to add a stain to the different areas of glass. These kits are basically fool-proof and allow the child to easily create something beautiful without any smudges or smears. Another idea to capture the feeling of stained glass is to use black colored paper as your "lead came". You will need to go through two sheets at once to create your design with various shapes cut out. You may use either thin colored crepe paper or two sheets of waxed paper that have had crayon shavings ironed between them as your "stained glass". This is something that can be created easily with objects you probably already have laying around the house. Children love to learn and using a stained glass project provides the opportunity to teach them on a variety of topics such as art appreciation, the history of religion, architecture for the older students and things as simple as colors and shapes for pre-school and kindergarten ages children. Any project that allows a child to be creative, spend time with their parents and develop their self-esteem is worthy of taking into consideration and stained glass craft making certainly meets those requirements. So why not make some cookies grab a stained glass art kit and your favorite child or children and spend some quality time creating stained glass art? Stained Glass Painting There are many techniques that can be used to create beautiful and interesting works of art in stained glass. This article deals with stained glass painting. This technique has been used for centuries and was the most popular form of stained glass during the Renaissance era due to their keen aspiration for intricate details in artwork. Painting of stained glass became so popular, in fact, that the earlier stained glass arts of using "pot metal glass" almost disappeared entirely. You will need several items handy to do stained glass painting. Obviously you will need paint and paintbrushes, if you cannot afford the specialized stained glass type you may be able to improvise with regular artist's paintbrushes. You will also need access to a kiln to set your work. Many professional studios will allow you to use their kiln for an hourly rate. Next, you will need a palette for mixing your paint. A piece of sandblasted glass is the most suitable choice for mixing you stained glass paints. A palette knife is a helpful tool in mixing the paint. The paints are made from a mixture of powdered oxides, gum arabic and water. As with other forms of stained glass art, you will want to start with your design on paper. Make sure there is some definition to your design and that the differently colored areas are outlined in a darker color. You may tape your design to the bottom of your glass so that it will remain in place during painting. Begin painting the dark outlines of your design with a tracer or rigger (long brush with a slender point). You will want your trace paint to be dark enough to block out light and provide contrast with your lighter colors. You must apply the outlines in long, smooth, continuous strokes. Do not try to "go over" your lines once they have dried (which does not take long!). If you do you will cause the paint to bubble and separate (fry) when the glass is fired in the kiln. You should not touch the line at all once it has been painted, although you may correct some mistakes and overages by gently scraping the paint off with a toothpick AFTER it has dried completely. Next, your stained glass trace paint is fired in the kiln at approximately 1150? F. After your trace paint has been fired, you are ready to apply your shading colors. The shading color may be dropped into a particular area of the stained glass and then brushed or "mopped" over the entire area where that color is desired. You may then use various brushes with different strokes or techniques to create a stippled or otherwise textured look. Keep in mind that the color of the shaded area will appear lighter in your finished stained glass project after it has been fired in the kiln. You may also wish to enhance the look of your project with silver stain. Silver stain will be applied to the back side of your stained glass project (the opposite side from your painting) and will actually change the color of the glass rather than simply cover it. Silver stain can be corrosive as it contains silver nitrate so use with caution and please use clean brushes for this portion of the project. The effect of silver stain is a lovely yellow to amber-colored hue to the stained glass and provides a lovely background to your stained glass artwork. Your skill and technique in painting stained glass will improve over time, as with any new endeavor. Be patient and allow yourself to enjoy the process. Painting stained glass can be a rewarding hobby and with a little practice you may even create a masterpiece someday! Stained Glass Lead Came Technique The lead came method of stained glass construction gives an appearance of uniform lines and an antique look. The lead channel is wrapped around the glass and then joined at the "seams" or joints by a bead of solder. Lead came, used for joining pieces of stained glass, comes in one channel, called "U came," or two channel, "H came," strips about six feet long. "U" lead strips are used to frame the outside edges of stained glass, especially on small suncatchers or ornaments with only two or three glass pieces. In larger stained glass projects, the "H" lead strips are used to join two pieces of glass together, placed inside the grooves. Stretching the lead strips before fitting it around the stained glass makes the lead more rigid and stronger. Some lead is pre-stretched, but might have acquired some kinks or bends in packaging, so you may want to stretch it a little to get the kinks out. Do not over-stretch as it will narrow the grooves in the channel, making it too narrow to fit around the stained glass. Lead that is stretched too much will break. The lead is soft enough that after fitting it on the stained glass and making sure that you have good connections, you can easily cut it with lead nippers, a lead knife or even scissors. Be careful to make sure the joints you have cut butt so that it will be strong throughout the stained glass piece. Filling gaps between the joints takes a lot of solder and makes the joints look sloppy and unprofessional. Your stained glass work will be laid on a pine board, beginning at two strips of wood nailed at right angles to each other. These wood strips will act as a support for your project. Your alternating pieces of lead and stained glass will be temporarily held in place by horseshoe nails as you progress across your stained glass pattern. Each piece of stained glass and the lead strip around it has to fit within the pattern lines before you move on to the next piece. If one piece is too large and crosses over the pattern line, then every other piece will be off and your entire stained glass piece will be off. Before you begin soldering the lead joints on your stained glass project, you should practice on some scrap pieces of lead first. Lead melts so you want to check your soldering iron's temperature on the lead scraps first. If it is too hot, a rheostat can lower the temperature enough to prevent unwanted melting of the lead. A 40 watt soldering iron is hot enough. Before you solder the lead joints, prepare the metal with flux, then move your soldering iron tip quickly over the lead, creating a pool of the 60/40 solder. The pool of lead should smoothly flow over the seams and lie flat. It is not necessary to raise a big ball of solder at the joints. Solder all joints on both sides of your stained glass panel. Clean the flux away with warm, soapy water. Reinforce the stained glass panel by forcing a glazing compound or putty into the lead channels. Clean away all excess putty with whiting or sawdust, and then a soft cloth. Another method of joining stained glass, created by Louis C. Tiffany, is the copper foil method of stained glass construction. The glass crafter can choose which method he/she prefers based on each individual stained glass project. Both methods of stained glass construction generally work equally well. Stained Glass Copper Foil Technique Copper foil is a stained glass leading technique that has a more delicate or intricate look to it than the lead came technique. Louis C. Tiffany created the copper foil technique in the early 1900's. Tiffany didn't have the adhesive-backed copper foil that we have today. When he built his copper foil stained glass projects, he painstakingly cut the copper strips and applied wax to them to secure it to the stained glass. Copper foil is often used for decorative glass boxes, stained glass lamps, and other stained glass projects with intricate curves. The copper foil is flexible and when the solder bead is applied correctly, it is strong enough for just about any stained glass project. Deciding whether to use copper foil or lead came on a project is mostly a personal choice; yet, some areas may have building restrictions or codes that you might want to check. Some people believe that the copper foil method of stained glass construction is not strong enough for large stained glass windows. There are methods of reinforcing stained glass windows whether they are constructed by the copper foil method or the came method. Rebar is used to reinforce large stained glass windows. There is a copper flat wire called "Strong Line" that is also used as reinforcement by placing it between the pieces of stained glass before soldering. The copper color of Tiffany's thin strips of copper for his stained glass window construction would have shown in, for instance, clear glass. Today's copper foil comes in various backing colors like copper, black, silver and brass. This gives the stained glass artisan choices of backing that will show up less through clear glass; and for instance, if you use silver backing on white stained glass, there will not be a line of shadow on the white stained glass near the solder lines. Also, if you plan to leave the solder lines silver and not use a patina to color the solder, then silver back will look better wherever there is clear glass. The same works for using a copper patina on the lead; you would want copper backed foil on your stained glass. Black-backed foil would look best on that clear glass if you are using black patina. Copper foil tape is a "dead soft copper" which, when burnished onto the stained glass, sticks closely to the glass. It comes in various widths with popular sizes being: 1/8", 3/16", 1/4", 7/32" 3/8" and 1/2". Most copper foil tapes are in 36 yard rolls. When working with larger stained glass projects, 3-dimensional articles or windows, a wider copper foil like 3/8" or 1/2" will be stronger. Thicker stained glass requires a wider tape. When you are doing very intricate or delicate stained glass work, you might prefer to use the narrower 3/16" copper foil tape. When you wrap stained glass in copper foil tape, be sure that the edges of the glass are ground and then cleaned very well; otherwise, the foil will not stick to the stained glass. Wrapping the glass edges carefully and being sure equal amounts of foil are folded up onto either side of the stained glass will ensure a smooth, even solder line. Be sure to rub or burnish the foil until it is smooth and secure. Copper foil for stained glass construction is available through wholesale distributors all over the world. A very popular and reliable copper foil is manufactured by Edco Supply Corporation in Brooklyn, New York. Stained glass retail stores, craft stores, and online stores carry copper foil for stained glass. Stained Glass Artisan, Louis C. Tiffany Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) is associated with Art Nouveau style stained glass lamps and windows. He was nicknamed "Rebel in Glass" because he ventured into many avenues of art glass. He founded Tiffany and Company soon after the Civil War and employed several artists to carry out his artistic ideas. Tiffany had studied painting in Paris and when he returned home, he studied Medieval techniques in glassmaking. From his experimentation of many techniques of glassmaking, he came up with his beautiful "drapery" stained glass which he used to represent the folds and ripples in the robes and gowns of figures in his stained glass windows. Tiffany's first figure stained glass window was built in 1878 using opalescent glass from the Heidt glasshouse. He made his first glass tiles at Heidt glass house, his factory in Brooklyn. Tiffany's stained glass designs were unique and constructed with an aim for stability so that they would last and be enjoyed for generations. Much of Tiffany's work no longer exists. Without a thought, people threw away Tifffany stained glass lampshades; and, church and cathedral stained glass windows have been destroyed over time. Some of Tiffany's stained glass lamp shades, when found, are now valued up to tens of thousands of dollars or more. Tiffany's stained glass products were not intended to be mass produced but, rather, were created for individuals or church memorial gifts. Probably only less than half of Tiffany's stained glass products are still in existence. Those are mostly already in museums or are kept by prominent collectors. So, it is unlikely for you to accidentally run across a Tiffany stained glass lampshade or stained glass window panel that will make you wealthy. Tiffany was an avid painter who painted all his life. His painting ability was very useful to him in designing his significant stained glass windows. His "cartoons" were not merely patterns on paper, but often they were full-size oil paintings on canvas. For Tiffany, stained glass windows were simply another form of painting. Interestingly, Tiffany's stained glass windows for public buildings were signed, but stained glass windows he built for individual homes were not signed. He thought the families who lived in the homes would be able to attribute to the fact that he or his company had made their stained glass windows. This has caused problems proving stained glass windows were his. One of Tiffany's better known designs was the Wisteria Table Lamp (c. 1900) of which many reproductions have been made. The beautiful stained glass lamp shade is a resemblance of a vine, leaves, and wisteria blossoms dripping all over in beautiful colors. Tiffany's stained glass works can be seen in various places. One such place is the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida where the interior of the chapel Tiffany designed is assembled. It had been designed for the 1893 World Columbian Exposition in Chicago. After the exposition, it had been stored in Tiffany's mansion until the mansion burned down. The chapel parts and all its stained glass windows were salvaged and rebuilt in the museum at Rollins College. There are several of Tiffany's stained glass windows in New Jersey. Stained glass windows at Saint James Church in Fordham, Bronx, New York represent some of Tiffany's best work from the late 19th century through 1929. Other Tiffany stained glass works can be seen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, City. Many references to locations where Tiffany's stained glass windows and other art can be seen can be found online. Sandblasting Stained Glass Stained glass is actually an incorrect name for a type of art encompassing many different ways of decorating glass for windows, mirrors, lamps or other projects. Stained glass may be made from many pieces of colored glass cut into a design and soldered together with lead or copper cames (metal strips), it may be painted, etched, actually stained with various metal oxides or even sandblasted. Sandblasting is a fascinating way to add texture and interest to your stained glass art project. Rather than adding colored, sandblasting gives a unique frosted or abraded look. This can be used as a decorative "frame" for your stained glass project before painting and setting it in the kiln, or you can create the entire design through sandblasting alone. Sandblasting equipment can be quite expensive, so you will most likely want to borrow or rent the equipment. You may also consider paying a professional to sandblast your prepared design. Be prepared to make several phone calls and be clear about what you would like to have done. You will likely be charged a set fee per square foot of the stained glass project. There are four basic elements to the sandblasting unit. The sandblasting unit works with an air compressor that acts as the motor of the unit and provides compressed air to the sand mixing unit. This highly pressurized sand is then forced through a soft tube into a sealed compartment where it is forced through a nozzle. You will do the sandblasting through a set of long rubber gloves that extend inside the unit where you can move your stained glass project around and control the nozzle during sandblasting. You will want to create your pattern on a special type of removable backed adhesive paper called "transparent resist". You may also try regular contact paper, but it is not as sturdy or easy to work with for your stained glass project as the resist. Draw your design on the transparent resist paper with a pencil. Remember that the cut out portions will be the frosted design on your stained glass project. Be create, experiment with different lines and shapes. When you are satisfied with your design you should tape it to your cutting mat and cut it out carefully using a craft or razor knife. Next, gently remove the paper backing and roll the resist or contact paper unto your piece of glass smoothing it out as you go along. Be careful not to leave any air pockets or lifted edges where sand might get into and foil your design. Follow the manufacturer's directions for sandblasting (if you are renting the equipment, otherwise drop it off to the studio and wait for the dramatic results). Carefully peal off the transparent resist and viola, a beautiful piece of stained glass art! You are now ready to use stained glass paint and fire the piece in a kiln if that is what your design calls for; otherwise your stained glass project is ready for framing or hanging. Stained glass artwork is a satisfying hobby that not only provides hours of enjoyment, but also creates attractive accents for your home, or gifts for family or friends that will bring pleasure for many years to come. Painting Stained Glass -- Not as Mysterious as it Seems You may have mastered stained glass construction, but stained glass painting seems like a mystery and looks difficult. Most stained glass crafters know little about the process and the materials needed for painting stained glass; but it should be just another step in the whole process of creating beautiful stained glass windows. Some people have a misconception that stained glass is clear glass that has been painted to a desired color. Actually, stained glass is colored while it is still in its molten form by adding metal oxides. Painted stained glass is already colored and has had a design painted on it. Painting on stained glass is done to add humanistic details of the face, hands, feet, or shading of the body and hair. Painting reduces the amount of cutting and leading of many tiny pieces of stained glass. Painting enhances the beauty, textures, and color that are already in the stained glass. You don't have to be a talented "artist" in order to paint on stained glass windows; although, a little drawing experience and some knowledge of perspective and the human anatomy can be helpful. If you can find classes on stained glass painting, it always helps to learn from someone who has already learned what works and doesn't work. If you cannot find classes, look for information online, on related online forums and in instructional books at craft stores, stained glass shops, or in your local library. You can spend as little or as much as you want on stained glass painting tools and supplies. You can get started for as little as $20 to $100. You can save money by making some of your own stained glass painting equipment. Suppliers for stained glass paints and tools can be found by searching on the internet and at craft and supply stores. Be careful of the paints you choose because the paints for stained glass painting are specific. Stained glass paint is a high-fired permanent paint which actually has glass (called the vehicle) in it. Stained glass paint also contains lead and has coloring agents like sand, alumina, clay, red or white lead oxide, boric acid, potassium and sodium. The lead in the stained glass paint refracts light. The matt (paint) can be applied, taken out in the tracing, fired, and then applied again, depending on the lighting, detail, and textures you want to achieve in your stained glass painting. A few good brushes, spatulas, a small easel with a thick-plated glass surface, a light box and an inexpensive small, electric kiln would be a good start on supplies needed to do stained glass painting. In order to save money, you could build your own easel and light box and purchase a used kiln from ads in stained glass magazines or online. You can also make your own mahl sticks and bridges which are wooden supports for your hand and arm for helping with paint stroke technique. Your work area does not have to be large. It could be an area set aside in your stained glass workshop with a good source of natural light from a window. You need plenty of storage including a palette box for storing the color palettes you make. You will need squares and rectangles of scrap clear glass, ground and rounded on the edges to prevent cutting yourself. These scraps will be for practicing your stained glass painting and tracing technique. Armed with the knowledge you gain from sources and practice, you will find that there really is no mystery to stained glass painting. Mastering Difficult Stained Glass Cuts You're getting pretty good at the basics of scoring and breaking stained glass, but you've run into some problems with difficult cuts that seem impossible. There are techniques that will make difficult cuts in stained glass seem like cutting butter. Scoring disturbs the molecules in stained glass, so you want to separate it immediately after scoring. - Narrow Strips: A straight strip that is scored less than an inch away from the edge of the stained glass, it will be difficult to pull it apart with your hands. Use running pliers and align the bump in the pliers head on the score line and squeeze. This causes the score to run and break apart - Straight Lines: When cutting straight lines on larger pieces, you can line up the score line along a table edge. Hold one side firmly on the table while using your other hand to pull down and away, snapping the pieces of the stained glass apart. - Small Squares: If you have several squares of stained glass to cut, use a straight edge to measure the width, run your score line, then break the strip away using running pliers, breaking pliers, or your hands. After you have your stained glass strip, measure and score across the strip the same amount as the width of the strip. You can quickly line up each score line on the edge of your Norton board and, one at a time, push down and snap off the small square stained glass pieces. - Curves: If you are scoring clear stained glass, you can lay your glass on top of your pattern, smooth side up. Cut your stained glass down to just a little bigger than the piece which your are cutting -- about 1/2 inch extra all the way around the piece. Score all the way around the piece, just inside the black line of your pattern. Next, score several diverging lines from the pattern line to the edge of the stained glass. Break away pieces a little at a time. Never try to break away too large of a piece of stained glass because it will shatter. - Circles: You can cut a nearly perfect circle out of stained glass by using a similar process as for curves. Score all the way around the circle, just inside the black line and then score several lines from the circle to the outside edge of the glass. Start breaking away small sections of the stained glass - Concave Curves -- Concave curves are difficult to break out of stained glass, especially if they are deep. Again, you will start by scoring just inside the black line of the pattern on the smooth side of the stained glass. From that inside line, gradually add several more similar cuts until you are on the outer edge of the highest ends of the curve. Use the ball end of a pencil cutter to gently tap runs into the scores; then break away one piece at a time from the outside, in. Sometimes it helps to rock each end of the score back and forth before pulling apart the curved stained glass pieces. - V-cuts: V-cuts are next to impossible unless you happen to have a special band saw for cutting stained glass. Otherwise, a v-cut like you would have in a heart shape should be redesigned so it has a softer curve instead of a point. Don't be discouraged if once in a while the natural tendency is for the stained glass to just go ahead and break straight across. John La Farge, American Stained Glass Artist American stained glass artist, John La Farge was born in New York City on March 31, 1835 to french immigrant parents. Upon completion of his formal education in law he ventured to Europe to study art. After his return to the United States he made a brief attempt at practicing law, but soon gave it up to follow his passion for artistic expression. Initially, he painted landscapes later moving on to figures and stills and eventually caught a break doing drawings for a magazine. His first prominent assignment, however, was in 1876 when he was commissioned to handle the decor for the entire interior of the Trinity Church in Boston. That accomplishment represents a milestone in American art as it was the first real mural painted here. Many art historians consider his painting on the end wall above the altar in the Church of the Ascension in New York his greatest masterpiece. He became intrigued with glass making after becoming aware of certain inadequacies in the industry which limited the ability of an artist to create brilliant designs with varying transparencies without losing the polished finish. He then developed techniques in overlays (plating) and opalescent glass which has come to be known as American Stained Glass. Initially he used these new methods on privately owned homes despite the fact he had previously designed the old style stained glass window for the Trinity Church. The "Battle Window" in Memorial Hall at Harvard University, commissioned to commemorate Harvard's Civil War dead, is considered to be one of his most significant works in stained glass. Other notable stained glass achievements include Watson Memorial in Trinity Church, Buffalo and the Church of the Ascension, New York. While his leading competitor in the business, namely Louis C. Tiffany, chose to employ a staff and develop a factory, John continued to do his projects one at a time and mainly by himself. He began to perfect a technique of making jewel-like flower panels which were installed in the mansions of many of the wealthiest members of turn-of-the-century American aristocrats such as Cornelius Vanderbilt. La Farge is believed to have created several thousand stained glass windows over the course of his career some of grand and immense artistic and historical importance and others just a minute decorative touch in a private home. His last work of the jewel-like flower type is said to have been "The Peacock" which was purchased by the Worcester Museum. La Farge won many awards including one from the Legion of Honor, which was given him for the stained glass window exhibited at the French Exposition in 1889. He was awarded a gold medal at the Pan -- American Exposition at Buffalo in 1901 and three years later in St. Louis he was awarded a diploma and medal of honor for distinguished service in art. He was the initiatory recipient of the Medal of Honor from the Architectural League of New York's. He was elected an Associate of the National Academy of Design in 1863 and became a full fledged Academician in 1869. He presided as president of the Society of American Artists among other notable achievements before his death in 1910. La Farge will long be remembered for his contributions to American art and most especially his innovations and artistic expression in stained glass. How to Repair Your Stained Glass Window If you have some experience in stained glass handi-crafts repairing your old or damaged stained glass window is a project you may consider doing yourself. This article assumes you have at least some experience in this craft. If your window is very valuable, if you do not have any experience in stained glass window making or if you lack confidence in your abilities this is a task you may want to leave to the professionals. Otherwise, the process is very much like creating a new stained glass window and even a little easier in the sense that you do not have to do much, if any, glass cutting. Problem #1: The leaded stained glass window cames are around seventy years old (or older) and have become brittle causing bulging or breaking. This usually begins to happen in a stained glass window over seventy years old. Lead does not rot or rust, but it does lose its elasticity and become brittle over time. If left unattended it may cause the stained glass pieces to fall out or break as well. The Solution: Re-leading the window. This is time consuming, but very worthwhile to restore your stained glass window to its original beauty and integrity. The following steps must be taken: 1. Take a photograph of the window and measure lead cames to help with reconstructing it later. 2. Take the panel out of the window frame and remove panel framing. 3. Next, you will need to take the entire panel apart using the soldering iron to loosen solder and gently pry the old cames from the glass pieces. 4. Dispose of old lead in an environmentally friendly way, you should probably take it to a metal recycling facility. 5. Next each piece of glass should be thoroughly cleaned and dried. Lay the pieces in place so as not to become confused later. 6. Reassemble panel using with new lead cames in the same width as the original. 7. Broken stained glass pieces should be traced and matched as closely as possible to a new piece of glass cut with the pattern you create. Another option if you have all the broken pieces and either cannot match the stained glass closely enough or do not want to put new pieces in, is to use thin lead cames to hold the broken pieces together. This option will likely make it obvious that the window has been repaired, so use with care. 8. New cement should be applied to both sides 9. New reinforcement bars should now be attached. 10. The stained glass panel is now ready to be re-framed and re-hung. This process should be done when the window is nearing seventy years old. Following the steps above should result in a complete restoration of your stained glass window and it should be as structurally sound as a brand new one. Problem #2: One stained glass panel in a window less than 70-years-old is broken. The Solution: This will depend on the location of the broken piece. If it is near the outer edge, you may be able to get away with carefully breaking the damaged piece out of the frame and using the soldering iron to loosen the lead cames and then re-soldering the new piece in place as in #7 above. If the broken piece is in a difficult location or if there are several broken pieces, you may want to re-lead the entire window following the above instructions. If there is a small crack, you might consider using a glass repair kit from the automotive shop. These are used to fix small chips and cracks in windshields and if the damage is slight, may be a suitable way to repair the crack and prevent further damage. There are a number of other small repairs that you can do yourself such as re-painting areas that have flaked off, but these will need to be removed and re-kilned and you may want to consult with a professional for help with that. Restoring your stained glass window may be a painstaking process, but it is worth it to preserve its original beauty and make it last for future generations. How to Properly Solder Your Stained Glass Since stained glass making is such a fine art much attention is paid to the type, colors and quality of glass used and/or the quality of the paint used on the glass. The soldering iron, while absolutely crucial to the outcome of the project is often given little or no consideration and attempts to use one borrowed from a friend or found in the tool bin in the garage are often made. The right soldering iron and type of solder can make the difference in the overall quality of the finished stained glass window or other project, however, and should be given more attention. Using a low wattage soldering iron as one might find handy from household projects is a bad idea. Irons of less than 75 watts do not retain enough heat to handle the large amounts of solder that are needed to complete your stained glass project. When the iron loses heat from constant use, the solder suddenly becomes sticky and slow and the joints become messy and unstable. Not only will your stained glass project look unprofessional, it may well fall apart! Using a soldering iron with too high a wattage can also present a problem. Soldering irons over 200 watts will heat the solder too quickly, causing drips and possibly burning or melting the metal cames and irrevocably damaging the stained glass project. Turning the iron off periodically may help this problem, but all too often one forgets to turn it back on and is left with a cold iron or the same problems as using the too low wattage iron with slow, sticky solder. The ideal soldering iron would have a temperature control keeping it at a constant level between 100 and 200 watts. It would also have an iron coated or plated tip to make it long lasting and easy to use. The tip should measure about 1/4 inch and be comparable to a flat tip screw-driver in shape. You should replace the tip often to keep your projects flowing smoothly and to help keep your joints neat and clean. The first step in soldering your stained glass project is to heat up the soldering iron. Once it is heated it is important to clean the tip to remove impurities either by wiping it on a damp rag or sal ammoniac (a naturally occurring mineral that reacts with the heat of the soldering iron to clean residue when the tip of the iron is rubbed across it). Next, brush the tip of the soldering iron with a little flux and then melt a little dab of solder onto it. When the solder melts into a shiny liquid bead, you will know your soldering iron is ready to use on your stained glass project. Start by soldering all of the joints in your stained glass piece, that is any area where two pieces of came intersect. Then you should carefully run a bead of solder along all of the sections of came on your stained glass project. If the solder is too sticky you should wait for the iron to heat up a little more, if it is too runny your iron is too hot. You want to be careful to ensure a smooth finished look, but do not worry about the heat of the iron cracking the glass since stained glass is kiln fired at temperatures about 1000? F, there is little chance of that! Soldering your stained glass project well will give it a more professional look and ensure that it will last for many generations to come.
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