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!