Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Custom Stained Glass Angel

This little angel is only 8" x 8" but it has given my customer a great deal of joy which will be shared when she gives it to her boss as a Christmas gift.  The design came from an inspiration stained glass window in her home, which I modified to suit its smaller size.  Here's the process, start to finish ..
I prepared several different variations of the angel .. Here is the "winner"

Here I'm preparing the pattern.  I sized the design to 8" x 8", then made a "sandwich" of Manila folder on the bottom, then carbon paper, then the printed pattern on top.  Then I transferred all markings. I keep a color rendition of the piece nearby so that I can mark the glass colors as well.

I use stained glass pattern shears to cut the pattern pieces.  They are double-bladed and leave a small bit of paper between each piece.  This leaves room for the copper foil to follow later.

The glass palette and the recycled envelopes where I keep the pattern pieces.

The metal "fence" which keeps the glass in place as I work.

Tracing pattern pieces onto the glass with a black Sharpie.
 Cutting the glass by hand by resting an oil-filled pistol grip glass cutter against an old, flat ruler to get a straight "score".  After I score the glass, I tap on it repeatedly with the brass end of the cutter.  Eventually the glass will loosen and split along the score.

 Cutting some pieces with a ring saw.  Here I'm coating the Sharpie markings with lip balm to prevent the water from the saw from washing them off.  Because the glass is still sharp, I'm wearing gloves.  The ring saw enables me to accurately make deep curves and unusual shapes that would not be possible to cut by hand.

Now all the glass has been cut and fitted onto the pattern.  I call this a glass jigsaw puzzle.

Here I'm applying the copper foil to the edges of each piece of glass.   Since the solder will be blackened with patina, I'm using "black back" copper foil.  On some of the clear pieces, the inside of the foil will show through.  The black interior of this foil will make it invisible.

Now she's all foiled.

 Brushing on liquid "flux".  This chemical allows the solder to flow freely over the copper foil.

Now I'm "tack soldering", meaning I'm putting dots of solder at random places on the design, to lock the pieces together.

Since the pieces are locked in, I've removed the "fence" and I'm sliding out the paper pattern.  Now that the angel is free from the fence, I can maneuver it around to get good angles for soldering.

Here I'm soldering the front.  The back follows soon after.

After the front and back are fully soldered, I apply "black patina".  This is a blue chemical which instantly turns the solder black.  After it sets a few minutes, I wash it off carefully with a spray called "Kwik-Clean" and I allow it to dry.

Here's the angel with the black patina applied.

Next, my husband Eric custom cuts a metal frame and pins to the panel.

Making hanging hooks from paper clips. Sometimes I make hooks from wire, but since this piece is small and lightweight, the small paper clips work just fine.

To prepare for soldering the hook, I add flux to the area, then I place a blob of solder over it.  I hold the hook in place using needle nose pliers, then I heat it and let it sink into place.

Here's the computer rendition again ..

And here's the finished angel in the sunlight.

Another view showing the beautiful textures of the glass. The angel will look different depending on the amount of light nearby.

And another view .. Thanks so much for asking me to make this for your boss, Diana .. It was a really fun project .. I hope she loves it.  Merry Christma to you, your boss and to all of my Boehm Stained Glass Studio customers!
For more information on my other projects, please click here to visit my website.

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