I love making stained glass jewelry. There is something about the process with its many many steps done in a certain order that I find comforting. I usually make a “batch” a setting. A “batch” usually consist of 20-30 pieces. I try to finish the batch in one day…but sometimes I break it into two days. I am going to do a multi-part series on “Making Stained Glass Jewelry” in which I will cover tools and material, steps/instructions, tips, and maybe variations to produce different effects or looks.
I will start with “Tools and Materials” since without them you can not proceed on to the next series.
- Glass– you can get glass in sheets. It is found at some art supply and hobby shops but the Internet has really given stained glass enthusiast reach to a larger amount and higher quality of glass. Glass is like what beads you like to bead with, it is basically a personal preference.
- Glass Cutter, the one I use has a carbide wheel. This is what you “Score” the glass with that makes it “break” where you want
- Glass Running Pliers, they come in all different types, the one I have is plastic. It puts even amounts of pressure on each side of the glass so you get a clean break.
- Grozier, which are flat nosed, soft metal pliers are optional. You can get by without them, but I often find them useful. I use to break of little corners before I grind to a certain shape to reduce amount I have to grind.
- Grinder with a diamond bit on a grinder that grinds at a high speed. Grinding does two things, it take the sharp edge off and it is used to obtain the desired shape. Grinder is going to be one of the largest investments in the process but they make a WORLD of difference. I can not get to symmetrical earrings without a grinder. Also your edges of the glass stay so sharp without one and that presents problems down the line.
- Copper Foil. This is what you wrap the edges with to make the solder have something to grab onto.
- Flux. Flux is like the glue that makes the solder stick to the copper foil. It is imperative to have flux!
- Lead-free Solder. I only use lead-free solder in my stained glass jewelry. Lead is not good for your body and I do not want my customers wearing it against their skin, so while it is more expensive, it is a must for jewelry making.
- Glass Cleaner (Windex) and Paper Towels. As I will discuss in next part of series, cleaning stained glass is one of biggest tips to making nice jewelry, and not just at the end, between every step.
- Jump Rings for bails
- Metal Polish
- Lubricant for your grinder.
- Different Solutions are available to make the copper patina or black patina- which when rubbed on solder makes it turn either copper or black in color.
- Patience .. have it or this may not be the craft for you!
Post by Meredith “craftyGAgal” Crosby
The pieces pictured in this post and more stained glass jewelry can be found at craftyGAgal Creations
You might be interested in:
- Part 2: Making Stained Glass Jewelry – The Process
- Jewelry Showcase: Fused Glass Jewelry – Green pendant set by Diane
- Jewelry Showcase: Confetti fused glass yellow pendant and earrings
- Need a headpin? Make a headpin!
- Adventures in Medi-Alert style bracelet making