Step by Step Copper Foil Stained Glass Instructions

Copper foiled stained glass is a very versatile form of construction for making stained glass. Panels can be made with very intricate designs and detail. The possibilities are almost endless. In addition to stained glass panels, other options include boxes, picture frames, fireplace screens, mirrors, doors, sidelights, transoms, cabinet inserts and sun catchers just to name a few.

Before you begin your first stained glass project, here are some essential tools and supplies you will need.

  • glass cutter
  • breaking pliers
  • running pliers
  • glass grinder
  • soldering iron
  • temperature controller
  • various stained glass for design
  • copper foil
  • solder
  • flux
  • finishing compound

Steps for Making Stained Glass

    1. Pick a project – This is only limited by your imagination
    2. Choose or make a pattern – Ready made patterns can be found in books, magazines and on the internet
    3. Select glass – The choices are almost endless. Check out your local stained glass retail store to view their selection
    4. Make paper templates and trace pattern pieces onto the glass
    5. Use a glass cutter to score the glass to fit the pattern pieces – Hold the cutter as you would a pen or pencil. Do not press too hard, this will cause a bad break. You should hear a soft scratching sound as you score the glass.
    6. Use running pliers and breaking pliers to break apart the score lines – If cutting a straight line, you can snap the glass with your hands.
    7. With the glass grinder, smooth and shape the glass for a final fit to the pattern
    8. Wrap each glass piece with copper foil – This allows the solder to adhere to the glass
    9. Assemble the pieces according to the pattern
    10. Apply flux to foiled pieces and solder seams – This step will take time and practice. Don’t give up. With time and practice you will achieve the solder seams you want.
    11. Attach zinc frame – This provides stability to your stained glass piece. Measure the width and height, then cut the zinc to fit your piece. Solder the corners, then solder adjacent solder seams to the zinc frame
    12. Remove flux residue – use commercial flux remover or a combination of dish soap and baking soda
    13. Apply patina – Patina is used to draw focus to the glass and design rather than the solder seams.
    14. Clean and polish – This last step will give your project the shine and brilliance you are looking for

    Now all you have to do is enjoy your work!