Double D knew I had enjoyed making my fused glass pendants so much that he got me a gift certificate to the same place for a leaded stained glass workshop. I’ve never really had any stained glass in my house, but I was excited to take the class, just so I could learn the process.
When I got to the workshop, the instructor had laid out various colors of glass, and also a pre-drawn grid pattern. I knew picking out the colors would be the hardest part, since I wasn’t sure which window I would want to hang it in. There were even more colors to choose from that aren’t in the below picture (which is really blurry. Sorry!).
Since I wasn’t sure where it would go, I ultimately decided to do clear glass, all with different patterns. This way, I could move it around my house, and not have to worry about it matching the room colors. It was really fun to go through all of the glass to pick which glass pattern would be going in which box. Once that was decided, the instructor cut the glass to fit.
I started by laying two of the frame pieces. Those corners had already been cut to create an angle. The first piece of glass was fitted inside the track of the frame pieces. In the next step, long pieces called lead came (not cane) are what go in between the pieces of glass to hold it together. I laid the lead along side of the first piece, and used a spacer to mark where I wanted to cut. That way, there would be enough room for the next piece to be flush against the first lead piece. I used the lead nippers to cut the piece, and fit the glass inside the channel. The lead pieces look like an H if they are on their side.
Here is another picture a bit further into the process. One thing I should mention is that since this was all patterned glass, I wanted to make sure the pattern was on one side, and the smooth glass was on the other side, for each piece. That way, it would seem more uniform.
Once all the lead came strips were cut and the glass was fitted inside the channels, it was time to cut the angles for the frame. I laid the frame out, marked the measurement of the corresponding frame piece, and drew a diagonal line. I used a small chop saw to cut the piece along the diagonal line to make the corner.
Once the frame was cut to size, we nailed horseshoe nails to the outside of the frame edges to ensure the pieces would not move.
The next step was soldering. The instructor gave me a small bowl of flux liquid, which I dabbed on each joint with a paintbrush as I was working on it. Flux allows the solder to run freely, so you don’t end up with blobs of solder at each joint. Soldering was intimidating to me, just because I had never worked with anything like that, but by the end I had gotten the hang of it.
I started with the corners, then the joints on the outside of the frame, and finally moved to the joints on the inside. There was a different technique for the inside joints where you held the wire, and then rolled the soldering gun from one side to the other. After I got all the joints done on the first side, I took the nails out, turned it over, and started on the other side.
Then it was time to add the hangers. I used a piece of glass to tape the hanger to, and placed that next to the frame. From there, I just soldered some wire to the hanger. Then I took the tape off, and did the other side.
It was finally looking like an almost finished product. The next step was to wash it in a solution to remove the flex and the marker from the glass pieces. Then I rubbed the lead pieces and joints down with steel wool, and rinsed it off with alcohol. The final step was applying a wax solution to the lead pieces to stop discoloration, which had to cure overnight. The next morning, I used a soft cloth to buff the wax.
And here is the finished leaded glass. I haven’t hung it yet, but I do have it sitting on the ledge of my front window, so I can enjoy it. I’m glad that I did the clear glass, since I originally was toying with putting it in another room. I love how it looks, and am very happy with the outcome. I might have to do some more now:)
Thanks for looking!
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