Learn How Copper Foil Stained Glass Is Made
When it comes to stained glass, there are two main methods that can be used to make the pieces of art. These are the leaded glass method and copper foil stained glass. Leaded stained glass basically uses pre-made strips of lead that hold the pieces of glass in place. On the other hand, copper foil stained glass is completely different.
Artists who use copper foil for their stained glass artwork have a few extra steps that need to be done in the production process. Each piece of glass is cut to shape then ground down (if needed) with a stained glass grinder to smooth out the edges and ensure a perfect match to the desired shape. Instead of relying on lead channels to hold the pieces of glass together, the artist will then wrap the perimeter of each piece of stained glass with copper foil. This process can be tedious but a good job goes a long way to ensuring high quality of the stained glass window or suncatcher.
The glass pieces are then laid out in the final pattern and the proper alignment of each individual piece is double checked. At this point nothing is yet held together. To keep everything in place, most stained glass artists will then add a few drops of solder between each joint. The solder attaches to the copper foil rather than the actual glass. This is the whole purpose of the foil. Each piece of copper foil is actually rather flimsy on its own but the solder vastly improves the strength of the whole stained glass window!
The solder seams are then carefully soldered one at a time and care is taken to ensure a smooth appearance to each line is achieved. After a final overview of the work (to ensure high quality) the stained glass artwork is then cleaned, and if desired a patina is applied to alter the color of the solder to black, copper, gold, etc).
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