Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Welcome to Stained Glass Class

Where to begin? Here's the story first, I guess. I play bunco once a month. Last November I won a handmade stained glass snowflake. The woman who made it is one of my bunco friends and is also the bishop's wife in my ward. She's great. She was also Scott's first babysitter. Well, I thought it would be cool to make a stained glass something of my own. I thought a welcome sign for my door would be cool. So, I asked my stained-glassing friend, Angie, if she would help me learn how to do it and watch Scott while I worked. She thought that would be fun. So, I made a pattern of my own. I printed out the letters on the computer and traced them on to a big piece of paper, and then Angie came over and told me where I should make the cuts so that the glass wouldn't break where I didn't want it to. Then I went to Kinko's to make a copy so I could cut out each individual piece that I would be making out of glass. Then a few weeks later, I bought the glass and went over to Angie's house and got to work. This was in April. And I got almost to the end when we realized I was missing a piece. So, lucky for all of you, I got to take pictures of every step all in one day for that one piece... it was number 17 out of 89, in case you were curious ;) So... the steps are:
Glue each piece to the piece of glass of your desired color.
Score the glass where you want it to break.
Break the glass.
Ta-da. The curve is intentional, so I wouldn't waste glass. You have to be careful about how curvy you get, because glass wants to break in a straight-ish line.
Here's a close up of the glass breakers(?). You line up that little line in the middle of the tool with your score line. The breakers have one flat side and one curved side, so the glass will break. It's pretty cool.
Grind the edges so you won't cut yourself, or the copper foil you'll be putting around it in another step.
Peel off your paper and clean the glue off. And if you have 89 pieces like I did, then you also dry off the piece and write the number that was on the paper on the glass with a Sharpie.
Then you copper foil each piece. The copper is sticky on one side and about double the width of your glass, so you have to center it, and then walk the piece along the copper foil.
Then use a marker to smooth the edges.
Then you fold the side of the copper onto the front and back of the glass piece, and smooth those down.
Then, you put all the pieces back on your pattern--this is where the numbers come in really handy.
Ta-da. Then you square off your corners so when you're done you can put a border on it.
Then you solder it together. This is why you had to copper foil every piece. The solder will stick to the copper, but not to the glass.
You solder the points first, and then flip it over and solder the points on that side, and then back over to fill in the gaps.
Then you put a border on--it's made of aluminum and it kind of looks like a U--so you slide it onto your edges and then solder it on. Then you put hooks on it and voila:
I still haven't decided exactly how I'm going to hang it. We have to slam our front door to close it, so I don't think I should put it directly on the door, so I'm thinking of hanging it from the ceiling of our entryway--but I need Matt to help me decide. I didn't want to postpone doing a blog about it because then I might never have done it.
Yesterday, when I was finishing up, the bishop walked through the garage where I was working and asked me what I thought of stained glass. I told him I probably wouldn't do this again any time soon. It was fun, and I'm happy with the finished product, but it was WORK. It's not easy. There's real muscle involved in some of these steps. I got cuts on my hands when I was cutting glass and my back and hands hurt a lot after working on it. To be fair, this was a complicated first project. 89 pieces is a lot. But, maybe someday when Scott is grown up, I'll pick it up again--if I can find a friend where I'm living who has a glass cutter, a glass breaker, a glass grinder, and edging. :)
Thanks for coming to my class--hope you had a great time!

8 comments:

Amanda said...

Beautiful!! How about when Scott is grown, you and I can be neighbors. We can stain glass away. I've always wanted to do stained glass. You did a wonderful job. I can't believe you found the time with Scott! Good job.

Becca and Jon said...

Wow Becky! You did an amazing job!

Hannah Neville McMillan said...

that looks great!!!

Yours, Sincerely said...

Wow! I'm so impressed with such an ambitious project! I don't think I took on anything so big when I had my first little nipper. Kudos to you; it looks gorgeous!

Becky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Margot said...

Beautiful! You're quite handy. Homemade bibs, stained glass, what's next?

Neal! said...

Can you make me one that has "Footprints in the Sand"? I'd like to make a stained glass mural in my room. Should only be like 3,000 pieces or so. Thanks!

Stuart and Nicole Tucker said...

I am so impressed!! I remember doing glass projects in the 8th grade and I did a picture frame that only had 8 pieces. It was SO hard getting the glass to fit together right, and it only had straight lines!! I can't get over just how amazing you did. WAY TO GO, BECKY!!