Tips-and-Techniques For Stained Glass

Here are some tips-and-techniques that I've developed or heard about over the years. I use most of them all the time. Some of them use common household items...most of which are things we all dispose of when we're through with them.

I guess this could be referred to as recycling, or it could be called "the frugal stained glasser"! Whatever you want to call it, they make working with stained glass easier and cheaper. I'm sure everyone is interested in easy and cheap tips-and-techniques!



What are your own favorite tips-and-techniques?
Tell us about them here.




Here Are Some of My Favorites
Tips-and-Techniques


Using Wooden Clothes Pins


Wooden clothes pins are very handy when working with glass. Use the type that has a spring between the two pieces.

You can pull them apart and use one piece for a burnishing fid for copper foil work. You can make a lot of fids for a dollar!

When edge beading small suncatchers, hold the glass with a clothes pin. It makes turning the glass around much easier, and it saves on burned fingers.

Putting wire around the edges of anything copper foiled is easier if you hold the wire in place with several, or many (depending on how much wire you are using), clothes pins. Make sure you use the wooden ones. The plastic clothes pins melt easily, which makes a huge mess.


Copper Foil Dispenser


heavy can foil holder

If you don't have a copper foil dispenser, just place the roll of foil over a heavy jar or can. Now you can work with the foil without it unwinding and getting away from you.













Flux Tips and Techniques


1. Use Q-tips to apply flux. They are small enough to apply the flux exactly where you want it. They are cheap and disposable so you can use a new one as often as you want. You are less likely to contaminate your flux since you can throw the Q-tip away as soon as it begins to look dirty.

2. If you use liquid flux, pour a small amount into the lid when you are soldering a project. Throw away what's left in the lid when you're done soldering. The flux gets contaminated by dipping the applicator (brush or Q-tip) in it over and over again. The contamination is usually what causes your solder to spit and sputter. By using a small amount in the lid, rather than dipping into the original bottle, you will not contaminate the entire bottle.


Soldering Iron Tips and Techniques


1. Use a damp paper towel, folded several times, to wipe you soldering iron tip as you are soldering. The paper towel can be re-folded to get a clean side, as needed. Keeping the iron tip clean gives you much nicer solder bead, as there is no gunk from your iron to fall into the solder. This also helps to keep your flux clean as mentioned in the "Flux" tip above.


Box Making Tips and Techniques


When you make a box, put the sides together first, then make a bottom to fit. It's much easier to make one bottom to fit four sides then it is to make four sides to fit one bottom. The same goes for the lid.


Lampshade Soldering Tips and Techniques


1. When you are soldering a lampshade, place it in a shallow box with a lot of wadded up newspaper to support it. By moving the newspaper around, you can position the lampshade at any angle you want, for ease of soldering.

2. Any decorative gaps can be filled by holding a wet towel(squeezed out so it's not dripping wet) underneath the gap, as you are soldering. The towel keeps the solder from running through, and the wetness cools the solder so it will set quickly.

3. If your lampshade has bridging pieces (if you make lampshades on a form, you'll know what I'm talking about) place a piece of masking tape on the back side of the gap to be bridged. Place the bridging piece in the gap from the front side, and the tape will hold it in the correct position while you solder it in place.


A Copper Foil Repair Tip


Before you solder them in place, put pennies or dimes under the pieces you are replacing. The coins hold the pieces up to the proper height. If you don't prop them up, the new glass will be at a different (lower) height than the rest of the panel.


What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Scrap Glass 
I always had lots of tiny pieces of glass I saved in case I ever wanted to get into mosaics. However, the edges were always a problem because of the slivers …

Cleaning Tips 
I am trying a new item for cleaning my pieces before waxing. I am using the Mr Clean Magic Eraser, or the Walmart equilivant(?). It, so far, seeems to …

Cutting and Construction Surfaces 
A very inexpensive and easy way to prepare for soldering your project and not pushing pins or hammering nails into your board is as follows purchase a …

Marking Glass for Grinding 
I use the White Out correction pen for marking glass. It is always white and with just a little practice you will learn how to do a thin line, otherwise, …

Tips to Build a Light Box 
I had an open metal shelving unit w/3 adjustable shelves. It was 16"w x 35"l and stands 3' high. Previously it held my larger pieces of stained glass. …

Repair Tips 
I need to do a repair to the bottom of a box. Did the can cutting thing (a beer can of course) and voilla'. What a fantastic hint. You can bet I won't …

Pattern Pieces 
We all get many items in the mail that include return envelopes that we can't or don't use so I have been saving them and putting my pattern pieces in …

Miscellaneous Tips for Stained Glass Work 
When grinding or using your saw many times the glued on pattern wants to peel off. An inexpensive remedy is as follows. Purchase a wax seal for a toilet …

Patina Tips 
When I took my classes they suggested I use cotton ball to apply patina. I find using a tooth brush dipped in patina is much easier and you use less patina, …

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This page was last updated on October 10, 2012










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