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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pattern shears vs Sharpie marker for patterns

Why do people use Sharpie markers to draw out the pattern they want to cut, on their stained glass pieces?  This method is inaccurate and basically a waste of time!  We can see how a person can lay a pattern on a light box, lay a transparent piece of glass on top of the pattern and trace the piece onto the glass using a Sharpie marker.  But what happens when the piece of glass is opaque and impossible to see even when using the light box?  When grinding a piece of glass that has a sharpie marker outline, what happens when the marker accidentally washes off?  Do you have to guess at the actual shape of the piece?  Do you have to go back and forth fitting the piece and then grinding, until the piece fits?

The professional method for transferring stained glass patterns, to glass,  is much different than the Sharpie marker method.  And it is faster, easier, and more accurate!  So below we have written a step by step tutorial for transferring your pattern to your glass.  This tutorial is for making a Tiffany window, yet a lot of this information also pertains to making a leaded glass window.

Transferring your stained glass pattern to your glass pieces tutorial

Step one, make a pattern to the exact size desired and number all pieces.  For reference we like to mark what color of glass each piece is, even the type of glass being used on each pattern piece as well (we also advise you to somehow mark the direction that you want the grain to go, on certain pieces of glass that you will be using- we do this by drawing an arrow) .  Once you are done marking everything, make another copy of the pattern, also using plain white paper.  Computer paper works well for smaller pieces.


We like to use regular white paper that comes in a roll that you can buy at Hobby Lobby, Walmart and a bunch of other stores.  If eventually you want to make more windows with this pattern, you should make more than just two copies!  Don't bother making mylar patterns, they are unnecessary.  We like to take our patterns to Kinko's to make our copies.

Step two, cut out all pieces on one pattern copy.  Save the uncut pattern to use later.  To cut out the pieces you MUST use either a pair of foil shears or lead shears, depending on what you are making, NEVER use regular scissors.  You can purchase pattern shears at most retail stained glass stores.  Never mix up your shears and use the wrong shears when constructing your window, because the pieces won't fit properly!

Step three, use rubber cement to glue your paper pattern pieces to your glass.  Make sure to pay close attention to the direction you want to follow on the glass.

Step four, cut and grind pattern pieces.  To confirm that the pieces fit properly, lay your ground pieces on top of the original uncut pattern to ensure correct fit.  Do not remove the glued on paper pattern until all pieces are ground and laid on top of original paper pattern.

Step five, remove and foil each piece, one by one, only after removing glued on paper pattern, and cleaning with a dry rag first.

Step six, with all foiled pattern pieces laying on original uncut pattern, tack solder pieces together.  Once done, solder all pieces.  Flip the window over and solder opposite side, then flip once again to make sure front side of window is still soldered nicely.  If not, touch up!  You're now done, add a frame, patina and clean and its completed.

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