Monday, May 1, 2017

Stained Glass Heart Window

This 23" square started off as a copy-right free design in one of my many pattern books.  Since my customer wanted to have some bevels in her window, I modified it to her vision.  This window was a gift from mother to daughter, something very special for her first wedding anniversary.

Here's the original design in the book.

And here's my rendition of a new design which incorporates the bevels.  This is one of three that I created.  The colors were also her choice.  

Here I'm preparing the pattern.  The bottom layer is Manila folders, the middle is carbon paper and the top is the "cartoon" or paper pattern.

Here I'm tracing on all of the markings.

Since bevels can't be cut, they go down first.  Then I adjust the pattern to fit them.

Bevel glass is softer than stained glass.  I'm careful to put them back in the box to prevent them from scratching during the building process.

These are double-bladed "stained glass pattern shears" which leave a thin strip of paper between each glass pattern piece.  This gives room for the copper foil which will follow later.

I organize pattern pieces into junk mail envelopes, by color.

I decided to start with the beautiful red border.  Here I've traced the patterns onto the glass.  The tools pictured are the blue "running pliers" which snap glass along a straight score, the purple "oil filled pistol grip cutter" which scores the glass, and the "groziers" which nip off small pieces of glass.

After each piece is cut, I run the edges through my electric glass grinder.

Since this pattern required cutting some very deep curves which would not be easily cuttable by hand, I'm using my wet saw.  Here I'm applying lip balm to my  markings so that they don't wash off.  When this saw is running, it sprinkles water onto the glass to keep the blade from overheating.

Here's another example of the wonderful cuts the ring saw does.

Here are the purple, red, and yellow pieces cut and ready to be placed onto the cartoon.

Using the "groziers" to nip off a chunk of clear glass.

Now the copper foiling process has begun.  I place the foil at the center of the edge of each piece of glass. Notice that the "cartoon" is locked in place on my work surface by a metal "fence".  This keeps the glass pieces in place as I work.

Then I burnish it onto the glass using a "fid" or flexible plastic wand.

Now the window is fully foiled.

Here I'm running braided reinforcement wire throughout the piece.  This serves to add strength to it.

Now I'm brushing on liquid "flux" this is a catalyst which enables the solder to flow freely over the foil.  What I'm doing now is called "tack soldering".  I'm adding small dots of solder randomly on the window, at all the joints and along long sections.  This is to lock the pieces together.

After I've "tack soldered" the window, I release the metal "fence" and slide out the "cartoon".  Then I go back and fully solder the front of the window.

Next I use my electric Dremel tool to sign my name, month, and year to the bottom right of the window.

The signature .. Its really only visible when its in front of something dark.

My husband Eric takes over now.  He custom cuts sturdy zinc metal framing for the borders.

He's trying them on for a perfect fit.

After the zinc frame is in place, he put the fence back on tightly, so that I can solder the frame together.  I solder the corners and I solder it to the lead lines, front and back. Since the front has already been fully soldered, I turn the window over and solder the back.

After the front and back are soldered, I clean the entire window thoroughly with this neutralizing cleaner.

Here's the window after soldering and cleaning.  Notice all the lovely textures of the glass.  The red is a cathedral granite, the purple is a knobby cathedral, the yellow is a wispy, and the clear is Artique.

Now I'm applying black patina to the solder.

The window is now patina-ed and drying.  After its dried, I'll add "stained glass finishing compound" to the surface and then buff it out.  This is a light wax which protects the patina and adds a nice shine.

Here's an example of how closely the computer renditions match to the finished window.  Here's the original rendition.

And here's the finished window!

Another view with trees in the background.  You can see the lines running through the beautiful clear Artique glass.

And here's another view against a white wall.

And here it is after we installed it .. A view from outside the house. (Pardon the wire).
Big thanks to Mariann for your lovely choices, to your Mom Marie for calling upon me, and to your Mother in Law Darlene for coordinating it all.  May you and your family enjoy this gift for many years to come!

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

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