This class has been updated in June, 2016!
Welcome to Basic Leaded Stained Glass! Have you ever wanted to make something incredibly unique, decorative and lasting for your home? Or even to make stunning gifts or to sell your creations at crafts fairs? Then you are in the right class!
This course will teach you the basics to get started in making leaded stained glass windows. You will learn to make patterns, cut colored glass and construct a basic stained glass window using lead and solder. By the end of this class, you will have constructed a beautiful stained glass window and will be poised to make other projects of increasing complexity.
Get ready to make something you can be proud of! You will follow your instructor in step by step videos as you make your own project to display and keep. You will also have all the basic skills and knowledge to keep going with this amazing and rare skill to create an art form that has been around since medieval times!
This course will teach you to construct a leaded stained glass window and help you succeed every step of the way. You will be well on your way to mastering basic skills and going on afterwards to increasingly complex and challenging projects.
Let's discuss the history of glass making and how stained glass has been used for for the last 1000 years. Pieces are unique, durable and often tell a story.
Medieval glass producers needed high heat and a nearby pure source of silica. The glass-making process uses mineral salts in the melting process to produce vibrant colors, including silver, gold, copper, and cobalt.
See some projects and start getting inspired! The leaded stained glass method involves cut glass pieces fitted into lead channels and soldered together. In this lecture, see pieces in the instructor's home made in the leaded method, and lamps and a small built in piece in the copper foil method.
This lesson discusses the materials needed for working with stained glass. Although it may seem like a lot, it is likely that some of the tools are already in your garage. You can start with low cost versions and upgrade later as well. Consider taking the class with a friend and sharing the tools!
This lesson shows the use and merits of each tool, so that when you shop for supplies and tools, you are prepared to get the right ones!
Please download and take the list with you as you shop in a stained glass supply store near you, or when you shop online.
This lecture discusses the advantages to buying extra glass, both for piece of mind and to build a collection of multiple colors of glass for future projects. Store it safely, both out of the way and in a manner in which you can see your stash and plan for future project!
This lesson discusses how to construct or purchase a project board to fit your current and future project plans. The project board is mobile! It can be moved so that you can use it in any room or even outside. It must be as long as the piece you will be building on it. Over the last 20 years, the instructor has had three boards, each longer than the one before to support increasingly complex and large projects.
Let's prepare to protect your eyes, your ears, your skin, your lungs and to minimize other risks, such as cuts, and fires. Also, let's keep your family, and pets safe from tiny bits of glass, lead and chemicals.
This lecture discusses what makes a good stained glass pattern, and also describes good patterns for just starting out. Very slender pieces and acute angles , as well as extreme inside curves may be too difficult for a beginner, and cause high amounts of frustrating breakage, so choose a simple pattern, with less that about 25 pieces to start will until you have built some basic skills and are ready to move on to something more challenging.
Your assignment: Choose a patterns from one of those offered below, or draw your own and make two copies. Number each piece on both copies!
This lecture discusses how to carefully and accurately cut out your pattern piece. Only cut out one, without going over the lines more than once. Save the other pattern for when it is time to build your window. This lecture also discusses lead shears, and how to compensate for the space the lead will take in your project without lead shears.
Your assignment: Go ahead and cut out one copy of your pattern along the lines where the lead will separate each piece of glass. If it will not be obvious which piece is for each color, you may make it easier for yourself and mark the color each piece is to go on.
This lesson discusses how to arrange the pattern pieces to minimize waste. The better you can use the glass efficiently, the more extra glass you get to keep for later projects. Also, make sure you are not trying to make a cut at an extreme angle, as glass wants to break in relatively straight lines. A better way is to line up pieces so you can carefully cut between the pattern edges, reducing the total number of cuts, and taking advantage of straight lines.
Assignment: Take your cut pattern pieces and your glass and line them up as efficiently as possible to minimize waste, and to take advantage of straight lines after seeing the lecture!
Protect your tools! Learn to add oil, or store cutter tip in oil for long life.
OK we are ready! Let's take a piece of glass and try some practice cuts. Use your cutter with the pressure of your hands and forearms; you do not need much force, control is more important. The "score" that you make with your cutter, gives the glass a point to fracture from. "Running" the score makes the fracture travel all the way through the glass. Tapping, snipping and rolling the pieces away from each other are three ways to help glass break where you want it to break.
PS: Keep these scraps for some more practice later-we will use them to practice soldering
Tip: If you are interested in making mosaics, opaque stained glass makes a perfect media! So consider saving your pieces, even if they are too tiny to use for other stained glass pieces!
Assignment: Make 4-5 practice cuts using straight lines
Let's try some angles, inner curves, and circles for an increased challenge! The beauty of stained glass, is that you can use it to portray animals, intricate geometric designs, even the faces of people! But to do this, you will have to master cutting small, curves, pointy, and otherwise challenging pieces.
Tip: See the supplementary materials for a summary of glass cutting tips to print and hang in your work area!
Assignment: Mark or glue a practice pattern piece with a sharp angle, and a curvy shape like a crescent moon and try making interior curves and gradual points. Wear your safety glasses!
Dive in and cut your easiest pieces first! (Try squares, rectangle and fat triangular shapes.)
You may find with too direct and forceful pressure the piece falls suddenly, or it drops when you are tapping the score from the underside. Try to keep your hands clear and bandages handy. Clear your workspace often to remove the little bits on your work surface, as they can cause breakage when you are scoring new pieces on top of them.
If something breaks the wrong way, do a brief check, was there a good, clean score? Was it too sharp a curve? Then forgive yourself, peel off the pattern piece and move it aside and keep working. Re-glue patterns pieces to extra glass at the end and cut them again.
Assignment: Make your cuts! Refer to the glass cutting guide in the last lesson's supplementary materials for help.
There are two options for grinding, the carborundum stone and an electric glass grinder. The stone is just ground along the edge of each glass piece, powered by muscle. This lesson focusses on an introduction to the parts, function and operation of the electric grinder (likely one of the safest power tools you'll ever use).
Good glass grinding is critical for accuracy. It is extremely difficult and rare to be able to cut stained glass pieces perfectly the first time, and so some type of grinder is needed. The first several pieces your instructor made were with a manual grinding stone. Stained glass became more fun and accurate with the electric grinder.
Safely grind glass for a perfect size and fit. You will be practicing how to use a grinder if you have purchased or borrowed one. If you are using a manual grinder, start shaping each piece so that the paper pattern is flush with the edge of the glass. You can use the glass groziers to carefully nibble off the extra glass before manually grinding, but be gentle, picking off small pieces at a time.
Your assignment: Grind all of your pieces so that the pattern is flush with the edge of the glass!
Let's discuss some details about lead itself. To make it less likely to stretch and sag in the future, make sure you stretch your lead, either with a partner or in a vise. You will also gain some length and remove any kinks or twists. Also, get ready to build your piece by placing the trimmed patterns in the corner of your work board.
Your assignment- gather your board, stretched lead, ground pieces, lead snips, hammer, little block of wood, horseshoe nails and a brush to clear your workspace, and build along with me in the next lesson!
Learn to hit your project with a hammer! Gently! In this lesson you are carefully and accurately building your piece, with the pattern beneath the project as a guide. You will be snipping lead, and fitting your pieces into the channels. Hold everything together as you build, and continue to keep it tightly together so that it is tight and supported until it is help together in the soldering step.
PS: Save some scrap of lead for use later on for when we practice soldering.
Error can creep into your project in sneaky ways. This lecture focusses on finding error as it happens and correcting for it as best we can. Measure your piece often and keep an eye on your pattern below to get an early indication of crookedness, or misaligned pieces. Beware particularly of rotated rounded pieces, they can cause error that is difficult to spot.
Assignment: Build the rest of your piece, measureing and troubleshooting as you go!
This is a quick review of safety, targeting the soldering step only. Remember the tip is extremely hot, you are using potentially spattering chemicals and solder, there are fumes, and you could drip solder on your foot, all potentially painful events, so be careful and take care of yourself.
Wait: Do not plug in your soldering iron!
This lecture shows you how to preserve your soldering iron, by applying a layer of flux and tinning it with solder as the iron is heating up. Watch the lecture before tinning your iron so you are sure you know what to do. Soldering irons rust easily without this step, something that will ruin your soldering iron tip rather quickly.
Assignment-Tin your tip!
This lecture shows the soldering technique for lead. We will show the technique on scraps of glass and lead. You are tapping the soldering iron tip with solder melted on it straight up and down, leaving a slight puddle to adhere to the joint, "gluing" the two lead pieces together and securing the glass. Notice the best looking joints are smooth, cover any gap between the lead pieces, and are shaped like a shallow, inverted U. (another way to describe the shape is that of a short centipede). If a joint looks spiky or rumpled, make sure your iron is hot, reapply a bit of flux and remelt the joint with a slow, tapping motion. If there is a gap, consider patching it with a scrap of lead to support the solder.
Your assignment: Join a few scrap pieces of glass and lead with flux and a bead of solder. Do several joints, on both sides of the practice piece.
This lecture shows the tapping motion that leads to smoothly soldered joints. Also, how to correct problems like too much solder, solder that drips to the glass and bridging solder. Make sure you watch this to gear up for soldering your own piece.
Assignment: Now be bold, be confident, and take your iron and solder for real!
Putty is needed to stabilize and weatherproof your piece. Do you need to do this step for small pieces that will hang in a window? You probably should, as the piece will likely last longer through the generations if you finish it with putty. Certainly for a built in piece, a large piece, or a project with small pieces, as these tend to wiggle and might even fall out some day.
Your assignment: Before you putty, protect certain types of glass with contact paper, as it is difficult to clean some textures. Use a brush to move putty under each lead channel. When you are through with one side, carefully turn over your piece and do the other side. Use a natural bristle brush and whiting to dry the remaining putty and to scour away the putty on the glass, leaving the putty under the lead channels. Continue to use fresh whiting to scour the piece clean, alternating both sides under you are satisfied. Use a horseshoe nail to scrape away any stubborn putty. The piece should sparkle.
Using an acidic wash, called patina, go over bright lead pieces and soldering joints to make a dark, uniform line. Ideally you want the glass noticed, not the lead and solder. Wipe away excess patina and allow it to dry. Do not forget the wash your hands well after handling your piece!
Assignment: Go ahead and paint the joints with patina.
Yay, you have a piece you can be proud of, and you have the skills to try additional, fantastic projects! Practice makes perfect!
KT Caselli loves crafting in her spare time from her real profession, teaching adults in the corporate world. Some favorite offline hobbies are building stained glass windows, making mosaics, designing quilts, stenciling and gardening. KT has been enjoying simple and complex projects in stained glass, including built in windows and Tiffany style lamps for the past 20 years. KT knows all the tips, tricks and practice techniques to help you build a unique piece of art to decorate your home or those of your loved ones.
KT Caselli is also a 17 year veteran of the Learning and Development Industry. A certified Trainer and long-time Instructional Designer, KT also has her masters degree and years of public speaking experience. Her experience in classroom teaching and in online learning environments translates very well to teaching Udemy classes.