And every time you see one, you are amazed at the artistic talent and craftsmanship it takes to make them.
But recently a little idea came to you:
Could I make Stained Glass windows myself?
Glass break easily and it’s challenging to cut it in the right shapes. And which tools do I need anyways?
After reading this post, you will know exactly what you need to get started at home.
Recommended stained glass kits
If you are excited and want to start working with stained glass as soon as possible, buying a complete kit is a great option.
Finding all the tools and materials in your local hobby and craft store is not easy. So getting a tool kit saves you time. And more often than not saves you money too.
Here are two kits by different manufacturers that I recommend.
1. Sun And Moon – Stained glass start-up kit
Glass working can be a little bit of a pricy hobby. So it’s understandable that you just want to start out with the absolute basics to get a taste of it before going all in.
If that sounds like you, the stained glass DIY kit by Sun and Moon might be a good fit. This is a no-nonsense kit that only includes what you truly need to get started.
It contains 10 tools such as a soldering iron and glass cutter, and comes with 10 sheets of 4 x 4 inch stained glass. That’s not a lot of glass but you can easily buy new sheets of when you run out.
The main downside is that this set does not include a glass grinder, hence the low price. This means you will have work a little harder and do some extra manual work. It also doesn’t come with any instructions, so you will have to find help online if this is your first time working with glass.
2. Delphi Glass – Stained glass start-up kit
My recommended mid-range option is the start-up kit by Delphi Glass.
The most noticeable different with cheap kits is that a glass grinder is included.
The Gryphon Gryphette grinder is a solid option smoothing the edges of small pieces of glass.
It also comes with a Weller 100-watt soldering iron with a built-in temperature control that can heat up in no-time.
Beginners will also appreciate the DVD with clear instructions that will take you through your first project step-by-step.
Overall, this kit by delphi glass is great value for money and provides everything you need to get started.
3. Delphi Glass – Ultimate stained glass kit
If you are ready to immerse yourself in the world of stained glass, this ultimate start-up kit by Delphi Glass might be the right fit for you.
It comes with all the tools you will need. The SuperStar II grinder is one of the best in the industry, and you can never go wrong with a soldering iron by Hakko.
It also comes with all the other supplies you need to make stained glass windows such as U came, solder, flux, etc.
Even though this kit seems to be geared towards people with a little bit of experience already, it also comes with a “Stained Glass Basics” instruction book. So even beginners can get started with this kit with no problems.
This stained glass kit might be on the pricey side, but it does live up to its name. It really includes all you can wish for if you are going to work with stained glass.
What is stained glass?
Let’s make sure we are all on the same page first and discuss what stained glass actually is.
On Wikipedia it is described as:
… Stained glass is glass that has been coloured by adding metallic salts during its manufacture. The colored glass is crafted into stained glass windows in which small pieces of glass are arranged to form patterns or pictures…Wikipedia
The most common example are the windows you can see in churches and chapels.
Now I’ll be honest, as a hobby artist you aren’t going to design windows for your local church any time soon.
But I can promise you that making your own stained glass windows, suncatchers, and glass art can be just as fun and rewarding.
my first Stained Glass piece i ever made i gave to Halsey in my M&G, my second piece is dedicated to the M&G Room@halsey pic.twitter.com/6j0x0cxYVn
— tori (@hopelesstor) 20 November 2017
Stained glass supplies
Working with glass is basically a two step process. First you cut the stained glass in the right size and shape. And then you need to solder all the pieces together to form your design.
So let’s look at the cutting tools you need for the first step, and the soldering tools you need for the second step.
But don’t worry.
I know you don’t have a huge budget to set up a professional workshop at home. So I only listed the stained glass working tools that I think are essential.
- Glass Cutter: these cutters are normally made out of carbide steel can are hard enough to cut through glass. Whether you use a cutter that is oil-filled or not is personal preference. The main thing to keep in mind is that you need to be able to apply enough pressure to cut the glass.
- Grinder: using a grinder is not absolutely necessary but it does make it much easier to correct small mistakes that can occur when cutting the glass. If you don’t have a grinder, you will probably have to do some serious grinding by hand. For more information check our article on the best glass grinder.
- Lead Knife: besides cutting the glass, you will also have to cut the lead came to if you are making stained glass windows. A lead knife lets you easily cut the came without deforming it.
- Soldering Iron: you will need a soldering iron to melt the solder and connect either the glass or lead came pieces together. This might be one of the most important tools so it is worth taking some time to find a model that is comfortable to hold, is safe, and works well. Make sure to buy one that has at least 100 watts for the best performance.
- Solder: solder is normally made from a mixture of lead and tin, which influences the melting temperature and how smoothly it is to apply. It is common to use 60% lead and 40% tin solder for copper foil and 50% lead with 50% tin for lead came.
- Flux: this is normally a paste or tallow. It makes the solder run smoothly and stick to the lead. Without applying any flux, the solder simply rolls off the lead and it will be difficult to work accurately.
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