I have never, ever crafted with stained glass before. But I’ve always been drawn to its beauty and the way that it playfully catches the light. So I decided to come out of my crafting comfort zone and give something new a go. I had a brilliant time, and I now have both a lovely piece of stained glass and a healthy respect for any stained glass artisans out there 🙂
First things first, I had to choose a design. Our teacher for the day, Stella Chadwick, advised us to choose from a range of beginners’ patterns with up to 15 pieces. I was very taken with the 1930s sunrise design – I thought it might look at home in our 1930s house, and it also had only 9 pieces… so it should be easy, right?
The next thing to do was to choose my glass. This bit was so exciting. I got to dive into boxes of glass and pick out any colours and textures that I liked. It was like letting my inner diva go wild – sampling the different colours next to each other, working our the role that textured glass played in the composition, holding them up to the light to see how they looked next to each other.
I really, really, loved these two textured panes of red and green. I couldn’t wait to get started on those.
Then I started planning out where each colour should go on a copy of my pattern. I was keen to try and make sure that the smooth and textured glasses alternated. I could not be more thankful to Stella for recommending that I make notes of which colour goes where at this stage. I got so into the whole thing that I kept forgetting the overall design.
Next came the scary part – cutting the glass into shape. We had these dinky little rotary cutters that scored the surface of the glass, and then we had to snap it apart afterwards. Sounds easy, but it takes a lot of practice and skill. This was when I was most happy that my pattern only had nine pieces, which were mostly straight edges with the odd curve. No swirly bits for me!
I have to admit I didn’t realise that there would be so many little bits of glass breaking off and making a bid for freedom when I was cutting. Safety goggles are so important when working with glass!
Once I had cut all my pattern pieces, it was time for the moment of truth… would they all fit together neatly? In a word, no. Not exactly. But here’s where the grinding machine comes in – it can literally grind the glass down until it’s the shape and size you want.
After a while, my piece were fitting together much more neatly and snugly.
Next I had to put copper foil around the edge of each piece before it would be ready for soldering together.
Next I soldered along the copper seams on the front and back of my stained glass piece.
Et voila! I am now the proud owner of a stained glass sunrise that I made myself, and I am super impressed with how wonderful it looks in the sunshine.
I had a wonderful time exploring stained glass, and it was thanks to our amazing teacher, Stella Chadwick, that everyone went home with a gorgeous piece that they were proud of. If you can give stained glass a go, then I would definitely recommend it to you. Whatever crafting you’re interested in, or if you’ve never tried crafts before, then try something new soon. You’ll have an amazing time.
Thanks for reading and see you soon,