Used in cathedrals to show glorious scenes of saints, and for animals and plants in other venues stained glass panels are beautiful works of art. Though complex looking, these stained glass windows are actually fairly simple, and with a little effort anyone can recreate the art.
The biggest concern when creating stained glass panels is of course safety. The art you are creating includes exposed glass edges, a hot soldering iron, chemicals, and power tools. If you keep safety in mind and maintain a well-organized workspace your hobby will be perfectly safe. As with most crafts you will need to acquire some tools and materials before you begin. You will need glass cutters to score the glass for breaking. As with most tools the higher quality cutter will cost more to purchase, but can make the difference between success and accidental breakage. Another glass specific tool you will need is a pair of combination breaker-grozer pliers. A glass grinder will be needed for making adjustments to glass edges after breaking. Mastering this tool can help your pieces fit together more precise, increasing your appearance quality. More material and tools will be introduced to you as we begin to construct a stained glass panel.
To get started grab the sheet of glass you will be working on with one hand holding the top edge and the other holding the bottom with the sheet in a vertical position. Never carry a sheet of glass in the horizontal position to avoid cracks and breakage! To place the glass on your workbench while vertical place the center of the sheet against the bench edge. Then roll the glass onto the table and slide completely onto the bench surface.
For your first project choose a novice pattern with a simple design and relatively short lines to score. You will need two copies of your pattern so trace the original pattern onto a sheet of standard paper and heavy pattern paper with a sheet of carbon. Assign numbers to each piece as a way of keeping track of your pieces as you create and build the project. Then use special glass pattern shears to cut your pattern out of the heavy paper.
Select one piece of your pattern and trace the shape onto your glass using a glass-marking pen. Do not forget to mark on the glass the number assigned to that piece of the pattern. Then you need to score the lines you traced onto the glass. Apply firm constant pressure with your glass-cutting tool and make one smooth cut along your line. After you score the line you will need to break the score. Some crafters opt to do this step by hand, while others use breaker-grozer pliers for the job. Either way apply a quick even pressure while doing the break to keep it as clean as possible. Continue to mark, score, and break until all the pieces of your project are created.
Starting in one corner of your project, next compare the glass piece you cut out with that piece in the uncut pattern. Mark any glass that crosses over the pattern lines and then use a grinder to remove the excess glass. Continue to do this to each piece until all pieces are the same as the pattern then place them within the assembly jig for the project.
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