My Latest Stained Glass Creation!

To see my progress from start to finish, click these links first:

Part 1 – Cutting the Circles

Part 2 – Soldering the Circles [scroll down to middle of post]

I haven’t posted in a while, so just to warn you this post is long with many pictures!

For many months I’ve been toying with the idea of creating a stained glass project framed by wood.  As in, finding the perfect wood frame and then creating something to put in it.  I was partly inspired by stained glass projects my friend and glass mentor Abbie has done, especially her light box which is a 3 dimensional wooden box with a front made of multi colored beach glass, and filled with an LED light string that slowly changes colors.  It’s mesmerizing!  I also wanted to try something different than the stand-alone [20+!] glass stars I made last winter:

279o3        diy stained glass stars hanging in living room window with birds flying by

I love the stars but they’re very small and one dimensional.  So for the past few months I’ve been looking for the perfect wooden frame, something simple, with clean lines, and a nice texture.  I was hoping to find something made from reclaimed wood.  I even went so far as to *gulp* head up the road to the Todd Farm Flea Market which is held every Sunday from 5am-3pm.  OMG!  The people!  The crowds!  The CRAP!  No suitable wooden frames there.  Just a lot of junk for a lot of money.

It’s a well known fact that I hate crowds and I hate shopping, but sometimes I get “the voices”, which my mom’s friend says is your 6th sense telling you a certain store will have exactly what you need but you have to drop everything and GO NOW!  “The voices” have been helping me for over 2 decades *nods*.  I wait for the voices, I go to the store, I buy the item I’ve been looking for [which of course they miraculously have] and I’m back in the car in under 10 minutes.  I love “the voices”!  On June 30th the voices [which had been quiet for months] whispered “Michaels” so I went there directly after work and OMG!  They had exactly what I was looking for!  No reclaimed wood, but I found just the style I wanted.  And all their frames were buy-one-get-one-FREE!  I bought 4 of the “Studio Décor Home Collection Distressed Frame in Black” – 2 in size 8×10″ & 2 in size 11×14″:

279k

And I found something else wonderful, which I’ll mention further down in this post.  *HAPPY SQUEAK*!  It was a perfect trip.

So once I got home I started wondering what kind of glass project I could make for my frames.  I honed in on the stained glass circles I’d crafted back in March:

stained glass mobile pieces cut and foiled

I’d originally planned on making a mobile with them, but the more I thought about it, the harder it sounded, so they’ve just been sitting on my workbench in the girl cave [literally] collecting dust.  But last Friday I decided they’d be perfect for my frame project.  After work I removed the “guts” from one of the smaller [8×10″] frames:

279p

Then used a couple of the u-channel “zinc came” strips [that came with one of the glass kits hubby bought me for Christmas/birthday] to create a metal border to fit into the inner border of the wooden frame, to hold my glass pieces in place.  I laid each piece into the frame border and drew a line so I’d know where to cut:

279q        279r

The zinc came is very firm – it won’t bend but thankfully it’s not hard to cut with metal shears.  After cutting each piece I used regular pliers to kind of “un-squish” the edges where the shears compressed them:

279s        279t

I lay them carefully back into the frame and then used my soldering iron to place beads of solder on each corner to temporarily hold the frame together:

279u        279v

Then I carefully removed it from the wooden frame and soldered each corner securely, on both sides:

279w

The edges of each glass piece slide into the u-channels of the zinc came strips, and are then soldered into place:

279x

After making sure the metal frame fit perfectly into the wooden frame, I removed it again and began soldering my glass circles into it.  I started with the big circles in the corners and then built inwards until I’d used all the circles up:

279y        279z

Once it was done, I smoothed out my soldering lines and then placed it back into the wooden frame:

279za        279zb

I used 6 little tiny screws to secure the metal frame to the wooden frame:

279ze        279zf

I put it in the living room window and loved how it came out, although it was looking a little sparse in the upper right and lower left corners:

279zg

On Saturday I cut more circles for a 2nd framed piece, and also cut 2 clear “bubble glass” circles to add to the 1st framed piece.  One of my first glass cuts was a doozy, at least for me!  It’s hard to cut glass on a curve, and even harder to “break” it without cracking it, but I did it:

279zh

After I was done cutting the circles and grinding down the edges, I washed them in warm soapy water and laid them out to dry:

279zi

Then sat on the couch with hubby and copper-foiled the edges while we watched TV:

279zj

The whole process of cutting the circles, grinding the edges, & copper foiling the edges took about 4 hours start to finish.  I called it a day after that.

On Sunday I applied “flux” [a sticky liquid which helps the tin/lead solder bond with the copper foil] and soldered the edges, making them nice and silver and shiny and pretty:

279zk        279zl

279zm        279zn

Here’s my soldering iron – I’m not sure if it’s made specifically for stained glass [probably not] but I bought it at the glass store.  I have it set to 460°.  It goes from cold to 460° in about 30 seconds and hurts like a you-know-what if you accidentally touch it:

279zc        279zd

Then I built a metal inner frame for the 2nd 8×10″ wooden frame, and repeated the process from Friday by sliding the circles into the metal channels, soldering them in place, and using the rest of the circles to fill in the middle.  I also took apart the 1st framed piece and added the 2 clear circles.  I think both pieces came out awesome:

279zo        my second stained glass frame project completed

279zq

As I was picking them up from being side by side, I laid them on top of each other and thought OMG!  I think I’m onto something here!  They look fantastic together, especially with the morning light coming through:

279zr        279zs2

Now all I need is some brackets to officially connect the 2 frames together.  And maybe get some fairy lights to put inside like what Abbie did.  Now I can’t wait to make more of these!  I jumped on Michaels website Sunday night and ordered 6 more of the 8×10″ frames, so I can make 3 more of these.  Thankfully the frame sale is still going on, so I got them for $10 each.  Not bad!  I’m having so much fun being creative lately!  First I created 3 new paintings, and now I’ve made this cool layered glass piece.  I credit Bob Ross with some of my recent spike in creativity, I’ve been watching a lot of his show via the Roku lately – I find him very relaxing:

279zt2

OK, here’s the other great find from my June 30th trip to Michaels that I mentioned above, which I’m SUPER BEYOND AWESOMELY excited about:

279l2

They are thin wooden panels with laser cut designs, roughly 12″x15″.  I am going to copy VintageMeetsGlam.com’s DIY project where she used the VERY SAME PANELS to build a cabinet for her bedroom in-wall ac unit:

279n3        279m2

How cute is that?  We have 3 in-wall ac units and I hate looking at them.  I made them look better on the outside of the house, now I can make them look better on the inside, too!  The VintageMeetsGlam girl bought her laser-cut panels at Michaels last October, so I was worried they wouldn’t have them anymore.  Also, she got hers from the clearance rack… yikes.  But I found them!  This will be one of my future fall/winter projects.

In other news, the frisky squirrel has been visiting us this week, climbing up the sides of our living room vinyl replacement windows [which makes the weirdest sound] to get to our bird feeder.  I watched her sneak across the yard wall, ducking behind planters for cover, making her way to the living room windows:

279g        279h

She was like “hmmm… is the left approach better, or the right?…  Oh hai!”

279e        279f

279i        279j

We also saw a Kingfisher on the river over the weekend, who has been added to my RIVER page:

279a

I also wanted to update you on the lilac tree, which I completely chopped at the end of May.  It’s now covered in new growth!  Very exciting!  Here’s a before on the left and an after from this past weekend:

the lilac tree after i chopped it down to almost nothing        279b

There’s new growth along the bottom and the top:

279c        279d

Hooray!  Hopefully NEXT spring it will have many blossoms.

Stay tuned for a new post about grilled vegetables.  YUM!

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8 Comments

  1. Deine Schwester

    The colors pink and green like me.
    Creativity is intelligence has fun.
    Albert Einstein

    Liebe Grüsse

  2. I just read your blog and it wore me out, now I need a nap, luv, Dad

  3. Your glass art is absolutely beautiful, Alison! I love the circles.
    I gave our rhododendrons a radical haircut in May, too, and they’re also sprouting nicely.
    Love that squirrel peeking in your window!

    • Nine Dark Moons

      Thanks, D’Arcy!!! I love circles in general, and glass circles are so much fun. And pretty! I’m glad your rhododendron is making a nice comeback too – I love rhododendron – I wish we had some here but our yard is just way too small and too hot/sunny. I think they prefer things a bit cooler/shadier.

  4. wow – you’re definitely experiencing a creative spurt – and what a good one it is.
    You’re so creative and artistic and you’ve certainly been having fun in the past week or two. Your glasswork is beautiful – can’t wait to see it in person!

    • Nine Dark Moons

      It’s a nice feeling to create art. Maybe someday you can try painting again – you are so talented!

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