Thursday, September 17, 2015

Stained Glass House Number Transom

I've been wanting to create a transom with a house number for years .. Here's my first one! (Thank you Ellen & Jim). We had a creative exchange which featured 4 (or 5) similar designs in many color combinations. The more designs, the more combos!
Here are four different ones, created for their review.

 Here's the front door, just waiting for a transom with their house number.

 And here's the winner! Its a great choice. It sets off the the green in the front of the home, and the plum is a great accent color.

Early in the process is the pattern making. Before finalizing the pattern, Eric made a template of the opening. The pattern consists of three layers: File folders on the bottom, then carbon paper, then the numbered "cartoon" above. All of the markings on the cartoon are traced onto the file folder layer.

Specialized stained glass pattern shears are double bladed and leave a thin strip between each pattern piece. This is to allow room for the copper foil.

Then the pattern pieces are laid down onto the glass, traced with a Sharpie, and then carefully cut out.

As a batch of pieces are cut, I bring them to the grinder.

When I score straight cuts, I use these "running pliers" to snap the glass.

Now all the glass is cut. Notice that I have a color rendition of the finished piece to guide my glass selection. Also note the "fence" or "jig" around the glass. This holds the glass in place while I'm working on the transom.

 This transom features three clear, flat marbles which also, of course, need to be foiled. Here I've wrapped the foil around each of the marbles.

A quick way to get the foil burnished onto flat marbles is to toss them into a small container together and then shake them up! Works in under a minute.

Applying copper foil to the edges of each piece of glass.

Now all the glass is foiled.

As I do in most of my panels, I'm inserting flat, braided copper wire in between the glass in several places. This adds another element of strength and reinforcement to the transom.

The next step is called "tack soldering" where I apply liquid flux to the foil, and then add a dab of solder to the intersections of the pieces. I put on just enough so that the glass stays together as a unit. Then I remove the "fence" and slide the transom off of the "cartoon".

Then I fully solder the front of the transom, followed by a thorough cleaning and drying with Kwik-Clean spray.

 My husband Eric then custom cuts and fits a metal frame around the piece. He places the "fence" back on to secure the framing while I solder it on.

A view of the transom with the lead lines soldered to the frame.

Here's the transom with the framing soldered on

Another view of it, off the work table, and on a light box so that the colors can now be seen.

Back on the work table, I'm applying black patina to the solder. Its a chemical which reacts instantly with the solder.

I wash off the excess patina, let it dry, and then I apply Liva Stained Glass Polish to the entire transom, front, back and sides. It gets buffed off when fully dry.

And here it is! Ellen and Jim were thrilled to see it "in person". Ellen said she couldn't be happer with it. Yes! Another happy customer. Thank you again, Ellen and Jim, for bringing me my first house number project!  I hope you enjoy it for many years to come (now that everybody knows where to find you!(.

For information on other projects, please click here to visit my website.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Custom Monogrammed Wedding Lantern in Stained Glass

And now for something completely different!  I had the pleasure of working on this project with Erin and Jon, a wonderful engaged couple, both of whom are very creative.  They found a chabby chic lantern at a local craft store and decided to replace one side with a stained glass panel, to make a special card holder for their wedding.  It will serve as a wonderful home decor item after they are married.

They came to me with a computer rendition already in hand.  They created the logo of their initials together for a one-of-a-kind theme which will appear on all their wedding items.
We tweaked the rendition a bit after researching bevel sizes.  The panel consists of grey, white and clear wispy glass for the border, with an inner border of bevels.  We found unique, highly faceted square corner bevels to replace the standard ones. They really shine! The center panel is a rare vintage German blown glass which I happened to have in inventory.  It was the perfect match for their wedding colors.

Since this panel uses bevels, they always go onto the pattern first.  This is because their size can't be changed so I build the panel around them.  Here I've laid them in place on the "cartoon".  The cartoon is on top of a layer of carbon paper which is above a layer of file folders.

After I've traced all the lines and markings onto the manila folder below, I cut the outer border with regular scissors.  The individual pattern pieces are then cut with specialized stained glass pattern shears.  They are double-bladed and cut a thin strip out between each piece.  This allows room for the copper foil to follow.

 Here I've traced the pattern pieces onto the glass.  I use the purple oil filled pistol grip glass cutter to score the glass and snap it.

After I scored this segment of glass, I snapped it in two, using these blue "running pliers."  These pliers are used to snap most straight scores.

Then each piece goes to the electric grinder. Grinding the edges makes the glass safe to handle and helps the copper foil to adhere better.

Using a light box, I'm using a paint stick to lay down a clear base coat for the one-of-a-kind logo.

 Then I go back in with 2-3 layers of silver glass paint, for good coverage.  I let each coat dry for 24 hours.

While the silver paint is curing, I'm applying copper foil to the bevels and glass which has already been cut.

Now the pieces and bevels have been copper foiled.  Notice that they are locked in a "jig" or metal frame.  This prevents them from shifting while I work.

 After the paint has cured overnight, I bake it at 325 degrees for 40 minutes.  This makes the paint permanent. 

After the painted piece has been baked and cooled, I applied copper foil to its borders.  Then I apply liquid flux which is a liquid agent which allows the solder to flow freely on the copper foil.  Next I do what's called "tack soldering".  I apply a small amount of solder to the intersections of the glass to lock them in place as shown.

After the panel is tack soldered, I remove the "jig" and slide the cartoon out from underneath.  This protects it from the chemicals and cleaning agents which will follow.

Next. I fully solder the front of the panel.  Then I measure and press on a thin metal frame for the outer border.  Before I solder it on, I put the "jig" back on, to keep it in place.  (I used blue tape to prevent solder from coming through to the other side).

At this point, both the front and back of the panel has been fully soldered.  I've also soldered the frame onto the lead lines in the piece, and soldered the corners.  After soldering, I use Kwik-Clean spray to remove all traces of the flux which I applied prior to soldering.  After I buff it clean, I let it dry.  Then I apply Novacan Black Patina as shown.  This chemical reacts instantly with the metal, turning it black.

After the patina is applied, I let it dry, then I spray the entire piece again with Kwik-Clean, and buff it dry.  I let it sit again, then I apply Liva Stained Glass Finishing Compound, which is a light wax.  The wax protects the patina and gives the glass and the bevels a nice shine.

Here's the "before" and "after" .. The finished panel!

 And here is the custom logo panel installed inside the special lantern for the wedding!  Erin and Jon, you have such a creative and personalized idea here .. So unique!  Wishing you the very best for your wedding and all the years to follow.  It was a pleasure working with you!

Please visit my website to see my custom windows and repairs (click here).  And if you are on FaceBook, become a fan and I'll keep you up to date on all my stained glass projects.  Call me any time at 201-600-1616 or email with your questions. Thanks!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Creating an Ornament from a Stained Glass Rondel

The previous post showed the design and creation of a small window inside a front door.  The original window had a small clear glass Star of David rondel at the center.  As a small token of thanks, I offered to make the rondel into an ornament for my customers.  Here are the steps ..

Here's the original leaded glass window.  I used needle-nose pliers to pull away the old lead came from the rondel as shown.  I then gave it it a good cleaning.

Then I added 7/32" copper foil to the outer edge.  On top of that, I laid some fine gauge wire and taped it in place.  To make the hanging hook, I looped the wire twice around the barrel of a metal acid brush.

Holding the rondel carefully, I added solder to the edge, trapping both lengths of wire on top of the  foil.  I added more at the base of the loop, for strength.

 After the soldering was smoothed out, I cleaned it thoroughly and let it dry.  Then I brushed on Novacan Black Patina as shown.  After the patina set, I washed it again, let it dry, and applied Clarity Stained Glass Finishing Compound to protect the patina and to shine up the glass.

And here it is, a short time later.  A re-purposed little gem to enjoy rather than discard.
Please visit my website to see my custom windows and repairs (click here).  And if you are on FaceBook, become a fan and I'll keep you up to date on all my stained glass projects.  Call me any time at 201-600-1616 or email with your questions. Thanks!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Custom Stained Glass Window for Door Insert

After two years with a broken front door window, my customers decided it was time to have a new one created.  We sat together and chose glass in textures and colors which complemented an existing nearby window as shown below:

I prepared three different designs and rendered them, in full color, in several combinations of the colors we decided upon.  The final choice is this one .. It uses Clear Granite glass, Mystic Purple, Turquoise and Blue opalescent glass, with a bevel cluster in the center. The bevels will catch and transmit light and loosely mimic the shape of the center of the nearby window.

When panels include bevels, they always go down onto the pattern first, since their size cannot be adjusted.

With the bevels in place, I trace them and the rest of the "cartoon" onto file folders taped side by side beneath carbon paper.  All markings and colors are transferred.

The border of the pattern is cut with regular scissors.  However, the pattern pieces are cut with specialized stained glass pattern shears as shown.  They cut a thin strip of paper between each piece.  This allows room for the copper foil which will follow.

I generally cut all of one color at the same time.  I started with the Mystic Purple glass for this project.  I've traced the square corner glass pieces as shown and am ready to trace the ovals around the bevels.

The glass is scored along the lines using an oil-filled pistol grip cutter (shown on the table).  After scoring straight lines, I use these blue "running pliers" to snap the score as shown.  For curves and smaller pieces of glass, I use metal "groziers".  (Not shown)

After several pieces of glass are cut, I grind the edges with an electric wet grinder. For this process, I wear either leather-palmed gardening gloves, or rubber fingers which are available at office supply stores.

With the purple cut, I'm moving onto the Clear Granite Glass.  Each piece is traced onto the glass as shown, then cut and grinded.  (The groziers are on the table, above the gloves).

Now I've cut all the glass and laid it in place on the pattern or "cartoon".  Notice that I've set up a "fence" or metal border around the panel.  This prevents the pieces from shifting.

Here I'm applying adhesive "black back" 7/32" copper foil to each piece of glass.  "Black back" foil is used when clear glass and black patina are used together.  Since the inside of the patina is black, it will effectively disappear after the solder is patina-ed.

Here I'm using a "fid" or flexible plastic wand to press the copper foil onto the glass.  This prevents liquids from seeping under the foil and allows for neater soldering lines. If there are any overlapping areas, I trim them with a razor knife.

Note that the "fence" is still in place.  All of the pieces have been foiled. 

Here I'm brushing on liquid flux which is an agent that permits the solder to gather on top of the copper foil.

This next step is called "tack soldering".  I'm applying a small dot of solder to the intersections of each glass piece as shown.

Now that the panel is tack soldered, I've removed the "fence" and I'm sliding out the "cartoon" from beneath the panel.  This is to protect it from the chemicals and liquids which follow.

Now the front of the panel has been fully soldered.

Next, the front receives a thorough cleaning with Kwik-Clean spray.

Next, my husband Eric prepares a custom cut metal frame, with mitered edges.  The frame is then held in place with push pins.

Here I've soldered the lead lines to the frame, then I've removed the pins. With the frame in place, I'm now able to fully solder the back of the panel.
 Now that both sides of the panel are soldered, I'm applying Novacan black patina to the solder using a metal acid brush.  This blue chemical reacts instantly with the solder and the zinc frame.  I let both sides dry and then I clean the whole panel again with Kwik-Clean spray.

Once the patina has set and dried, I apply Clarity Stained Glass Finishing Compound.  This is a light wax which gives the glass a nice shine and adds a protective coating to the patina.

And here is the finished panel!  We hope to install it this week, at which time I will post photos of the installation. 
 Here are a few photos of the installation, completed tonight (August 19th) ..  Here's my husband Eric taping up the window to prepare it for silicone caulk. 

In this photo, taken from the inside of the window, the textures of the various glass can readily be seen.  Note the variation in color as well.  Lighting is everything.  Colored glass is very dynamic .. It looks differently in various lighting situations and at different times of year as well!

Here's the newly installed window with the light coming from the back.  This is a more "true to life" rendition which shows the colors under ideal conditions.  Another labor of love.

Thank you Carol and Mike for your hospitality and for giving us the chance to spruce up your front door.  It was a pleasure working with you! 
Please visit my website to see my custom windows and repairs (click here).  And if you are on FaceBook, become a fan and I'll keep you up to date on all my stained glass projects.  Call me any time at 201-600-1616 or email with your questions. Thanks!