Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Custom Recognition Gift in Stained Glass

Recently I was asked to create a very special, one of a kind gift to commemorate and recognize a former resident's many contributions to the Borough of Essex Fells, NJ.  My customer and I had a brainstorming session over the phone and we collaborated to design this unique commemorative plaque for him.

Here is the design which features a border of medium blue rough rolled Cathedral glass.  Inside the border are 8 clear bevels which add elegance to the plaque.  The center piece was originally rendered using white opal glass, but I later decided to change that to white and clear wispy.  We both agreed this was a nicer choice.  Permission was granted for the use of the borough's logo which serves as the centerpiece.  The overall size is 11" x 11" square .. Perfect to set on a desk with the sun streaming through.

This plaque involved very little glass cutting .. Just the four blue border pieces and the center.  Here I'm in the process of creating a template for the blue corner pieces.  I'm using Manila file paper with carbon paper as shown.

Here are the bevels and the 9" x 9" center piece which is white and clear wispy glass.

I cut the blue border glass on an angle to the Rough Rolled glass, to add more textural interest to the plaque.  

Here I'm using an oil-filled pistol grip cutter pressed against a flat ruler to score the lines. To break the scores, I tapped repeatedly on the glass, front and back along the scores, until the glass "loosened" and separated.  

After the blue border pieces were cut, I brought them to the electric grinder.  I used this to grind down the edges of the glass.  This makes it safer to handle and allows the copper foil to adhere better.

Next, I apply 7/32" adhesive copper foil to the edges of each piece of glass.  I'm using "black backed" foil because I'm using bevels.  The interior of the foil will show through the bevels.  As soon as I've applied the black patina, the interior of the foil becomes invisible.

Here I've enlisted the help of my artistic husband Eric who used a light box and friskit to mask the Essex Fells logo.  He painted the logo using black glass paint.  After the logo was painted, we waited the requisite 24 hours for it to cure.

After 24 hours, I baked the glass and logo in a 325 degree oven for 40 minutes.  This makes the paint permanent on the glass.

Here is the center panel in place with the bevels and medium blue border.  After the center piece cooled, I applied copper foil to it.  I added four "fences" or "jigs" to the sides to keep the plaque square.
 Now Eric uses his band saw to custom cut a metal frame.  He also started working on the custom desk stand while I began the soldering process.

Now the plaque is soldered on the front and back ..

And now the metal frame has been added. After the soldering and framing, I give the plaque a thorough cleaning.

Here I'm applying Black Patina to the metal with an acid brush.  The patina turns the metal black instantly.  I let it set for several minutes, then I clean off the excess and allow it to dry completely.  After it dries, I apply stained glass finishing compound.  This is a light wax which protects the patina and gives the glass a nice shine.

And here is the finished plaque!  I think it makes a very fitting and thoughtful gift for this gentleman who gave so many years of faithful service to his town.

And here's the plaque in its custom desk stand.  The beauty of the white and clear wispy glass can how be seen, and the bevels add a nice touch, too.

Thanks so much, Susan, for calling upon me to design and create this very special recognition gift for a very deserving individual!  It was my pleasure!

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

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