Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Art Of Stained Glass 101 - Supplies

In our last entry we went over a quick, but very complete list of everything you will need to get started in your venture into stained glass. Now in this entry I'll list the supplies you'll need in order to get yourself organized and started in the wonderful world of stained glass!

The first thing to do is to decide on a pattern. For my students I always have a selection of easy starter patterns for them to choose from. If you go here you will find a site that has three simple and easy patterns for you to choose from. Any one of these would be a great pattern to start with because of the small number of pieces required and the low level of difficulty involved.

The second thing you will need to do is choose the glass for your pattern, about 2 to 2 1/2 sq. ft. Stay simple. There's time enough later for you to become bold and brave with your glass and color choices. This is the time you need to stay simple and learn the basics of how to use your tools and cut the glass. So remember that old "kiss" saying, "keep it simple stupid!"

The next items you will need are a roll of 7/32" black backed copper foil, a 1 lb spool of 60/40 solder, and water soluble flux for stained glass. There are several different varieties of each on the market, each with their own pro's and con's. The only one I am really a stickler about is the flux. I prefer to use Novacan Old Masters Flux because I've had better results with it in the past. But since I haven't tried every single one on the market, I can't say you won't find another one you like better.

The last items you will need to get will be the patina, that is if you intend to blacken your piece, and the polish to shine it to a beautiful black/bronze shine. These two items are like the icing on the cake in my book. They are the finishing details that make stained glass so beautiful.

Now your ready to start setting up your work surface and cutting your pattern out next. On your work table keep a supply of fine tipped black sharpies and silver sharpies along with a white and black china marker. These are for your glass later on. I keep a large spray bottle of alcohol and a roll of paper towel on my table that I use to clean my glass with and disinfect any cuts I may get immediately. Band aids are just the nature of the beast when you work with glass, so keep plenty of them on hand too.

So with scissors in hand I'll see you for our next entry to start cutting out your pattern. Oh, and if your wondering who's stained glass panel that is in the picture, well that's my first piece of stained glass I did over 25 years ago. My how time does fly!

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