Polishing with Finishing Compound

The final stage in  copper foil stained glass creation is to polish your work of stained glass art using finishing compound. Take a look at this video to see how to do this:

Polishing your solder seams is a great way to make it gleam, and to keep it protected for years. It’s definitely worth the effort…just make sure the piece is properly cleaned before you attempt this final step. You’ll be pleased with the results!

Lead vs Zinc Border Came

Video 25 Title Cover

Should you choose lead or zinc came to frame your copper foil stained glass project? Watch this video to learn about a few varieties of lead and zinc came, and which situations are best for each type of border.

Most lead and zinc came is sold in 6-foot lengths, and is available from your local stained glass supply store.

If you choose to use lead came you will need to stretch it in order to stiffen it for use, because it is so soft. You can do this by getting two pairs of pliers and getting a friend to stretch it with you, or you can purchase a lead came vise (pictured below) which clamps onto your workbench. Put one end of the lead came in the vise and pull on the other end using a pair of pliers. Be careful doing this, as lead is so soft it can break off in the pliers and send you flying across the room!

Zinc came does not need to be stretched.

Lead Came Vise

Lead Came Vise

Setting Up Your Stained Glass Workstation

What kind of a workstation do you need when setting up to begin crafting in stained glass? Actually, you don’t need much at all. There are only two main considerations – take a look at this video to see what they are:

Do you have any thoughts about your experience setting up a stained glass workstation, or do you have any tips to share? Post comments below!


Stained Glass Soldering Iron Care and Maintenance

One of the challenges of stained glass crafting for beginners is achieving smooth solder lines. Unless you have a clean soldering iron tip, your solder simply will not co-operate to flow smoothly. One of the BIG mistakes I first made was to try and sand down my soldering iron tip with steel wool in order to clean it. Never do this! Instead, take a look at this video for tips on how to correctly care for your soldering iron:

  • Lead or lead-free? Keep them separate!
  • Use a cellulose (not plastic) damp sponge when soldering.
  • Only have the iron on when you are actually using it!
  • Tin the tip frequently, and especially before turning off the iron.
  • Remove the tip occasionally (the size is on the end of the tip if you need to replace it).
  • You can also purchase a “tinning block” (sal-ammoniac) to clean your tip. This is available at most stained glass suppliers.
  • Make sure that you have a sturdy stand to hold your soldering iron in place.
  • For more extensive info, see the Inland Soldering Iron Tip Care and Maintenance webpage.


6 Cost-Cutting Tips for Stained Glass Creation

Setting up in stained glass takes a bit of a financial commitment at first when purchasing your tools and materials, but there are a few things you can do to save money while making beautiful glass. Take a look at this video for 6 tips on how to be a smart with your cash while crafting:

  • Tip #1. Use scrap glass.
  • Tip #2. Use liquid dish detergent.
  • Tip #3. Make your own hooks.
  • Tip #4. Stock up on sale metals.
  • Tip #5. Take care of your equipment.
  • Tip #6. Plan your supply shopping allowance.

Do you have any other tips on how to save money while making stained glass? I’d love to hear them! Comment below, or share them on the GeekyGlass Facebook page today.




How to Use Ringstar Running Pliers

One of my favorite stained glass tools that I purchased as my first “extra” tool is Ringstar running pliers. Take a look at this video, which explains the difference between regular running pliers and the Ringstar pliers.

Here are a few things to remember when using running pliers:

  1. Always wear saftey glasses when breaking glass.
  2. Always use them gently and sensitively:  if you squeeze too hard with either type of pliers, you will shatter the glass!
  3. Make sure the jaws aren’t shoved in too far. With regular running pliers, put the jaws in about 1/2 an inch, lined up with the score line. With the Ringstar pliers, you are limited to using them on the inside of smaller curves only. You’ll only be able to use them on the edges of large curves.
  4. Double check that you are using them the right way up. Running pliers won’t work upside down. The line on the regular running pliers should be up, and the hole of the Ringstar running pliers should be up. In both cases, the pressure point is underneath the glass, on the non-scored side side of the glass.
  5. You can’t use regular running pliers to break curves. They will only work on straight lines. Ringstar pliers will work on both curved and straight lines.
  6. If the running pliers aren’t working to break your score, don’t over-squeeze the glass. You can try moving the pliers to the other end of the score line, or you can try “tapping out” the glass and then using the running pliers again. If it still doesn’t work, score a new line, using more pressure this time.

Ringstar pliers are available to purchase at most stained glass supply stores. The price can vary, but you can expect to spend $35-$40 for a pair.  In my opinion, they are definitely worth the investment as they will make breaking those concave curves a breeze!

Using Cathedral and Opalescent Neutral Glass

If you are new to stained glass creation, you may be wondering what the difference is between “cathedral” and “opalescent” glass. In this video I explain the two terms, and also show how you can use this difference to your advantage when working with neutral colours of black, white and grey in stained glass.

To take a closer look at examples of variations in glass in different lighting states, check out the different photographs of my Postcard from Saturn piece. It was made from Spectrum Black/White/Clear Baroque, and surrounded by black solid opalescent glass.


Spectrum Black/White/Clear Baroque #BR6000

Although the term “opal” often refers to white glass, as you can see the black glass in the link above is also called “opalescent”, which in this case means it is opaque or non-translucent (you can’t see through it). The terms are used interchangeably. It can be a little confusing at first, but generally speaking “opal” or “opalescent” means it has some colour in it, which you can’t see thorough 100%. “cathedral” may have colour, but it is easy to see through, like tinted glasses. Also, don’t get the word “opal” confused with the glittery opal stone. That kind of rainbow shine produced by an opal gem is actually called “iridescent” in the stained glass world.

A final reminder:  be sure to check your glass in a variety of hot and cool lighting states (sunshine, overcast windows and/or cool and warm lamps) to ensure that your piece will not only look good, but transform magically!