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[Stained Glass Gems] Magazines for the Glass Hobbyist
July 18, 2010

Issue #19 All About Working With Mirror

Greetings to all of my stained glass friends. These Stained Glass Gems have been found during my frequent browsing and deep digging for helpful and or unusual stained glass web sites, as well as other information pertaining to stained glass. I do hope that there's a gem or two that will brighten your day and be helpful during your stained glass journey.

I apologize for not sending out an ezine in June. Recovery from surgery took a bit longer than I had anticipated. All is well now and I'm ready to get back on track! Also, there are a number of emails that have arrived over the past 6 weeks that I have been unable to answer. I will answer them, so please be patient. I don't want anyone thinking that I'm ignoring them.

Stained Glass Blogs

Over the next few months, I'll feature two blogs in each Ezine. These are blogs I've come across while surfing the net for interesting stained glass web sites.

The blogs cover a variety of subjects and techniques. Some of the techniques will be different from the way I have demonstrated in my tutorials, but that doesn't mean that either their's or mine are the right way or the wrong way to do it. It's just another way of getting to the end result. I hope you enjoy the following blogs and perhaps learn something new.

Stained Glass Patterns and Tips from GlassSorcery
GlassSorcery is a site about the magic of stained glass.

Stained Glass Story
I'm just a beginner to stained glass, but I love it. Follow my growth, my learning curve, my trail of bandaid wrappers as I foil and solder my way through retirement.

Working With Mirror

Cutting and using mirror is no different than working with any other glass. Mirror is basically window glass that has a silver backing. The main problem with mirror glass is the backing. It can chip along the edges or get scratched easily. Here are some suggestions for preventing those problems.

It is best to purchase mirror from a glass shop or a hardware/home improvement store. Get 1/8" thick mirror glass. The cheap mirrors from your discount stores usually have a very thin backing (it's not silver) that tends to peel off or chip easily when you are breaking out the pieces after you've scored them.

Cut the mirror on the mirror glass side. Before you begin cutting, make sure the mirror is laying on a clean surface to prevent the back from getting scratched. It is very easy to scratch the back side. Another thing you can do is to cover the back of the mirror with contact paper before you begin cutting it. The contact will protect the back.

You must seal the edges of the mirror glass before you begin constructing your mirror. There are several mirror sealants available through your stained glass retailer.

The reason you seal the edges is to prevent "black rot", a term used to describe the black patches that you often see in old mirrors. It is caused by moisture getting between the silver backing and the glass of the mirror. It can also be caused by flux, patina, just about anything you use to construct or finish your mirror.

When applying the sealant, paint it along the edges of the mirror and run it over, about 1/8 inch, onto the back of the mirror. By running it over, you will cover any chips in the silver that have been caused by cutting and breaking the mirror. Be sure the sealant is absolutely dry before you apply foil.

Another way to seal the mirror is to lay the mirror upside down (glass side down) on a lazy susan, or anything that you can turn, and spray the edges and the back with a clear polyurethane. My favorite product to use is Color Magic UV Sealant in a spray can ( available from stained glass suppliers). Again, let it dry thoroughly before you begin foiling or leading.

It will take several hours (more if it's cold or humid) for the sealant to dry, so cut all of your mirror glass and seal it. While you are waiting for the sealant to dry, you can be cutting and foiling the rest of the glass.

It is best if you don't grind mirror glass, as the grinder chips off small bits of the backing on the mirror. I know...sometimes you have to grind, especially if it is an odd shaped piece, or maybe it's your last piece of mirror glass. Whatever the reason, use an old grinder bit, one that is well worn down. I also find that grinding the mirror upside down helps to prevent chipping. If you do this, put some paper towels under the mirror front, while you are grinding, to prevent scratching the glass. Actually, put something under the mirror, no matter which side up, to prevent scratches.

Use silver back foil on the mirror. It will not reflect in the mirror like copper or black back foil does.

If you discover a small scratch on the backing after your project is complete, you can use aluminum tape, available from some automotive supply stores, to cover the scratch. It is reflective on both sides. Once it's applied over the scratch, the scratch is no longer visible (except to you because you know where it is). I have used it to "save" a project with great success.


mirror back Finishing The Back of a Stained Glass Mirror

To finish the back of the mirror, solder an
18 gauge copper wire around the back, as shown
in the enlarged photograph (double click on the
photo to enlarge it). At the top, loop the wire
to form a hanger. Put self adhesive felt over
the back of the mirror glass to protect it
from scratches.

Double click on the picture to see a larger version.


Miscellaneous Stuff!

I've started a page on Facebook where anyone working with glass can make comments about their current projects, upload pictures of their work, ask questions, or just add generally stained glass chit chat. I've kicked it off by asking "what are you currently working on?" Please join in, and also please tell your fellow stained glassers about it. You'll find it here Stained Glass Tutorials and Free Patterns. Click on Like at the top of the page to have new comments show up whenever you go to your Facebook page.

Here's a quick summer project... Dragonfly Garden Stake Pattern

I found this interesting method for applying Black Patina to Zinc Came. If you have problems with zinc and black patina, this just might work for you.

I'm an advocate of using a carborundum stone instead of the grinder, whenever possible. This tutorial is about Using a Carborundum Stone.

Finger Fids Hmm...I'm not too sure about this, but apparently it works. Just seems like a lot of time spent taping up your fingers.

You can now see the Ebooks I have to for sale Here


Have a look at Robert Oddy's web site for some unique patterns, plus a free pattern to show you what the patterns and instructions guides are like.
All designs feature:
Three-dimensional layering that creates depth in your designs - taking you well past the two dimensions of basic stained glass.
Full-color instructional guides for every step in the construction process.
Full-scale patterns ready to print as many times as you need for your project.
Supply lists for each design to help make sure you have everything you need.
Extra construction tips take you beyond the simple skills you learned as a beginner!

Although Robert's patterns aren't for beginners, I know there are a lot of you that are very capable of working with them. These patterns will make your skill level grow by leaps and bounds and you'll learn new techniques that you won't be taught in any classroom. Have a look at what he has to offer and download that free pattern...it's beautiful and something I know most of you would love to make.

Go to SmartFlix.com How-To DVDs to find hundreds of "How To" DVD's for rent. They have some very interesting stained glass tutorials that can be found at Glass

Best deals in art glass suppliesDelphi Stained Glass Supplies is a place where I have bought supplies online and over the phone for many years. Some very helpful people work there, and I recommend Delphi as a reliable place to order your supplies.





Just in case you don't know, the Stained Glass Gems ezine is mailed out the third Sunday of each month. Be on the look out for [Stained Glass Gems] Issue 20 on Sunday, August 15th.

I want to encourage you to have fun and experiment with your glass. Try new things and different techniques. It's amazing what you can do when you "think outside the box."

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Stained Glass Patterns and Tutorials

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