Tiffany glass (Stained Glass)

Most people associate the above heading with lamps done by Luis Comfort Tiffany. He used a technique to assemble small pieces of stained glass together with help of copperfoil and tin solder to make astonishing pieces of work. It´s like a puzzle. Let me illustrate with a simple project I have done.

You start with a simple sketch. Do some alternative designs and colour them. When you are content with the result, decide the form of each puzzle. Remember that the solder lines should contribute to the whole design, but not be to difficult to cut in glass. Mark each puzzle with a number. Make 2 copies of the terminal design on a little thicker paper. Take one copy and cut out the outer lines with an ordinary scissor. Then cut out every puzzle piece with a special scissor called foil shears. This scissor cuts away a 2mm thin line of paper.

Now it´s time to choose glass. The most important moment. Try to use the shadings in the glass in your design. Trace the puzzle pieces on selected glass and cut them out. Try to do that as exactly as possible. Finally trim the edges with a glass grinder if necessary. When all pieces are cut out, place them on the second copy of the design and check if they fit together. If it looks fine it´s time for foiling the pieces. The most common dimension of copper foil is 7/32 inch (5,56mm) width. Wrap the copper foil around the glass edge. Make sure it adheres properly. When all pieces are foiled, place them on the second copy of design and secure their position with pins all around the outer edge.

Brush liquid flux on the copper foil and solder all joints. When one side is finished, turn it over and do the other side. Finally solder all seams on both sides. Try to achieve an even, slightly raised, soldered seam.



Clean all solder seams and glass properly with detergent and plenty of water. Rinse carefully and let dry. If you don´t want the silverly look of tin, you can use some patina to colour the tin. In this example I use black patina. Just brush the liquid patina on the tin and leave to dry. Then clean again. Finally apply liquid vax. When dry, polish the whole piece carefully. Use an old toothbrush and soft cloth. Piraya
All necessary material can be found at for example Delphi glass  

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