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!

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