Foiled Again! Choosing The Right Copper Foil For Your Stained Glass Project

There are so many types of copper foil out there to choose from! It can get a little overwhelming when you are first setting up a studio or starting out with your first stained glass project. So, how do you choose? Take a look at this video, which sheds some light on the mysteries of copper foil shopping for your stained glass art creation…

The main points to consider:

1. Copper Foil Tape Width (7/32″ is standard, 1/4″ is a good choice for thicker or heavily textured glass)

2. Copper Foil Tape Back Colour (Copper, Silver or Black – only important if you are using transluscent/cathedral glass. If you are using totally opaque glass, go for copper backed, which is cheaper and more flexible in application)

3. Decorative Edging (scalloped stuff is available, usually used for fancy edging/decorative soldering on the edges of glass jewelry, picture frames, etc. For regular glass panels, or interior glass lines, just get regular straight copper foil tape).

Happy Foiling!

Putting a price on your stained glass

If you have made a few pieces of stained glass and are thinking about selling them to make a little extra money, or if you are considering turning your stained glass hobby into a part-time business, you may be wondering what price to put on your glass. This video explains a few methods (thanks to Paula from A.J Stained Glass in Toronto for teaching me this method five years ago!)

The individual piece method of costing your stained glass art takes the following into consideration:

  • Size of each individual piece (bigger glass costs more)
  • Shape of each individual piece (curves take longer to create thus should cost more)
  • Source of each individual piece (did you find the glass locally or purchase overseas?)
  • Colour of each individual piece (orange/fuchsia are pricey colours due to mineral content)
  • Other factors of each piece (hand rolled glass or specialty glass costs more)

If each piece is on the cheaper end, you may want to price is around $2. If it is on the higher end, $5 may be a good range. However, keep in mind that this is a general gauge, and depends on where you are living, as well as inflation and the price of minerals and metals at any given time.

After you’ve assessed each piece, add them up! For example, If I’ve created a stained glass panel using 50 pieces of glass, and I’ve assessed that 10 pieces are worth $2 each, 10 pieces are worth $3, and 30 pieces are worth $5 each, then I will set my panel price at (10 x $2) + (10 X $3) + (30 x $5) = $200

Don’t forget to add on the following costs as you feel necessary:

  • Time cost for design
  • Time cost for pattern creation
  • Time cost for glass creation

You may also want to add on additional costs for the following:

  • Using lead-free solder (the silver content adds to the cost)
  • Framing your piece (not all small pieces are framed)
  • Shipping (if you sell online)
  • Taxes

Finally, consider the quality of the overall piece. You may be very pleased and proud of your new creation (and so you should!) but it takes time to gain expertise in any craft or art. As you progress, you’ll be able to raise your prices, but as a beginner, be reasonable with your selling price. Don’t undervalue your time or effort, and make sure you are compensated for your materials cost, but don’t set such a high price that people are turned off from purchasing! If you use the $2 – $5 method, you’ll have a leg to stand on when people ask you why your work costs what it does.

Many people see stained glass as being pricey, but if you are able to explain the reasons behind the cost, you’ll be on your way to making your first of many sales. Congratulations!



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!


Making Your Stained Glass an Act of Love

Take a look at this video to see how stained glass creation can improve your love life:

Four points to consider:

  • Love your subject (if you want to create a piece about robot elves because you love robot elves, go for it!)
  • Love your community (what charity would you enjoy gifting with a small piece of glass as a fundraiser?)
  • Love your relationships (who would you love to spend an afternoon crafting with?)
  • Love yourself (treasure your creative time alone)

If you’d love to take a stained glass class with someone, now is the perfect time! Book with a friend or love by February 14th and you’ll save $100 on a beginner’s workshop for 2 people! For more info, see this post.

Who would you love to take a stained glass class with? Post your comments below. I’d LOVE to hear them!



Stained Glass Must-Have Tools and Materials

Are you wondering what types of tools and materials you need to get started in stained glass? Take a look at this video, which outlines all the basic tools and materials required (other than glass!) to start up in this craft. It may be less than you think!

The 3 Types of Tools & Materials You Need to Get Started in Stained Glass:

Section 1:  Around-the-house items

  • Two copies of your pattern
  • Wooden framing board
  • Masking tape
  • Glass ashtrays
  • Glass jars
  • Vaseline
  • Permanent markers (black and silver)
  • Chemical brush
  • Old toothbrush
  • Rags
  • Scissors
  • X-Acto Knife
  • Cellulose Sponge
  • Q-Tips
  • Nitrile or thin latex gloves
  • Handheld dustpan/broom

Section 2:  Chemicals & metals that need replenishing

  • Glass Cutter Oil
  • Grinder Coolant
  • Flux
  • Patina for lead or zinc (black or copper)
  • Neutralizing solution or a mild detergent
  • Finishing compound/wax
  • Copper Foil
  • Solder (60/40, 50/50 or lead-free with silver)
  • Copper Wire
  • Steel Wool
  • Lead or Zinc Came (if framing)

Section 3:  Investment Tools

  • Glass cutter
  • Grozing pliers/Grozers
  • Running pliers
  • Grinder & bits
  • Soldering iron, iron stand & sponge
  • L-Square
  • Needlenose pliers
  • Metal cutters/nippers

Make Your Stained Glass Pattern a Work of Art

Designing your own stained glass pattern is extremely satisfying, as the end result is 100% your own creation.  It is well worth the time and effort to do so, but there are a few creative and practical things to consider when designing with stained glass.

Click the video link below to hear how to design a stained glass pattern that is a work of art!

Here are 4 tips (and 7 design principles) you can use when designing your stained glass piece:

Tip #1.   Choose a unique subject matter that you love! You want your interest in the piece to sustain you through the whole process. It’s your fuel. This might seem obvious, but it’s easy to get caught up in creating things that you think other people will like, or that seem popular. Ask yourself what you really want to create.

Tip #2.   Utilize art and design principles. Consider these 7 basic principles:

  • Line – do you like organic swirls or crisp geometry?  Consider the shape and thickness of each line. Most stained glass has a uniformity of lead line thickness, but if you are more advanced, why not play with this?
  • Negative and positive space – think about not just the line itself, but the shapes created on each side of that line.
  • Rhythm – is there an interrupted repetition of colour or shapes? Think of music.
  • Colour – consider making your piece monochromatic, or maybe using contrasting colours (like hot red-orange and icy green blue)
  • Scale – are you balancing pieces of a similar size, or using variation? Harmony or disharmony can be achieved by considering these ideas.
  • Direction – does the glass point in a certain direction? Does it feel heavy or light? Horizontal lines are the most stable, diagonal the most dramatic.
  • Contrast – apply this principle when thinking about colour, texture, shapes, and all the other principles.

Tip #3.   Consider the limitations of the glass (don’t design L-shapes as the glass will want to break along that curve. Deep curves may be difficult for a beginner to cut without breaking. Larger designs need solder lines leading to the edge of the frame for support.

Tip #4.   Assess your time and tools. Don’t design a piece that you’ll give up on because it is too difficult or time consuming – create something that you’ll actually do!

Apply these ideas and you’ll be well on your way to creating a work of art.  Happy crafting!


How Long Does It Take To Create Stained Glass?

Have you ever wondered how long it takes to make stained glass? Take a look at the video below for an explanation on a method for estimating how long a stained glass project might take.

The “process” that I talk about in the video includes the time from scoring/cutting the glass to polishing the final piece. It doesn’t include initial designing or the final framing of the piece.

Are you surprised by these calculations? Have you had similar or different results? I’ll love to hear about them – please post your thoughts below!

If you are looking for the FREE PDF book Rainy Day Stained Glass Patterns, it can be found here.