Adding Wire Stamens to Flowers

by Deb C
(New Tazewell, TN)

Daffodil With Wire Stamen

Daffodil With Wire Stamen

I am working on a pattern that suggests adding wire stamens to the piece. (I am working on Daffodils). I have never done anything like this as I am fairly new to stained glass. What kind of wire would I use and how would I attach it to my piece. I am working with copper foil if that helps and the pattern is about 1 foot wide and 2 feet tall.


Answer

You'll want to use copper wire. You can buy it from most stained glass suppliers. I'd suggest using 20 or 22 gauge. You can buy it tinned or untinned. I usually use untinned, and tin it myself.

To tin the wire:
1. cut (using wire cutters) the approximate length of wire that you will be using
2. hold it with needle nose pliers
3. apply flux
4. touch you soldering iron to a small amount of solder
5. run the iron down the wire.
Make sure the solder covers all sides of the wire. You only want the wire to look silver. You do not want a build up of solder on it.

Do not try to hold the wire in your bare hand while you tin it. It gets extremely hot and I can assure you that you will get extremely burned!

The reason I use untinned wire is that different solders take patina differently. I have no idea what brand of solder, or even what type of solder, was used to pre-tin the wire. I want to be assured that the wire will look the same as the rest of the panel after I patina it, so I tin it myself.

Once the wire is tinned, cut it to the lengths you want for the stamen.

Getting it soldered in place is a bit tricky if you need them to stand up straight. If they are laying down, like they are in the picture, it's not hard to do.

You will add the wires after the panel is completely soldered. Make sure the solder is well beaded where you will be attaching the wire.

To make them stand up:
Hold the wire with needle nose pliers. Touch the end of the wire to the area where you will be attaching it. With one corner of your soldering iron tip touch the solder, and at the same time push the end of the wire into the melting solder. Remove the soldering iron and hold the wire in place until the solder sets. Keep doing this with the remaining wires.

The frustration part comes when you start adding more wires. If you aren't quick enough and you get too much of the solder melted, the first few wires will fall over or completely fall out. There's a fine line between too much and not enough melting. You want a good solid join between the solder and the wire, but you don't want to melt the solder enough to cause the other wires to fall. It's one of those situation where you perfect the technique pretty fast in order to maintain your sanity.

To have them laying flat:
Hold it on the area you want it attached to. With your soldering iron, touch down on the end of the wire until it is sunk into the solder. Hold it still until the solder sets. If you have problems with the already attached wires moving, as you are attaching more wires, run a piece of masking tape over the tips of the attached wires and secure them to your work bench. That way, they'll stay in place.

If you want to get fancy with the stamen, you can form a circle or and elipse on the tips of the wire (using your needle nose pliers) and fill them with solder before you attach them. That makes them look more stamen like (as you see in the picture).

I hope I have made sense. It is difficult to explain this without using a lot pictures to show you what I mean. If you don't understand, contact me and I'll ty again.



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