About the Process

Creating A Stained Glass Window - In a Nutshell
(Tiffany Style Copper Foil Method)

Designing a stained glass pattern

To begin:
- A pattern is selected or designed
- Glass is selected
- Glass is selected
- A pattern is selected or designed

A precisely drawn pattern is then made (the master). Each component of the design is numbered.

A duplicate pattern is made from the master — this being the pattern from which the glass is cut.

Getting the glass ready to cut

Each component of the pattern is separated using special pattern shears, which removes a narrow channel between each pattern piece.

Each pattern piece is glued to the glass carefully considering the “grain”, texture, or unique features in the glass.

Cutting the glass Grinding the glass

Each piece of glass is then cut. A glass grinder will precisely remove any irregularities.

Checking the fit to the master pattern

After the pattern pieces are removed the glass is cleaned, dried, and a final fit to the master pattern is checked.

Applying copper foil to glass components Applying copper foil, closeup

Copper foil (sticky back) is applied to each glass component.

Positioning foiled components on the master pattern

Each foiled component is positioned on the master pattern.

Applying flux and soldering

Flux (an acid which allows the copper foil to accept the solder) is applied to all foiled edges. All joining edges are then soldered.

Preparing zinc frame for a stained glass panel Alternate view of the zinc frame

For this panel, a zinc frame is shaped and cut to size. Each corner and joint is soldered in place.

Cleaning flux and adding patina

The panel is throughly cleaned of excess flux. Patina (a specialized acid which chemically reacts with the solder and zinc to add a copper, black, or pewter black finish) is applied.

Cleaning off excess patina and adding a glass finishing compound

The panel is throughly cleaned of excess patina. A specialized glass finishing compound is applied to provide a protective and lustrous finish.

Buffing and detailing the glass panel

The panel is then buffed and detailed to remove any patina residue from the glass and solder lines.

Finished stained glass window

The stained glass window is complete.