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:
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″:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
Then I carefully removed it from the wooden frame and soldered each corner securely, on both sides:
The edges of each glass piece slide into the u-channels of the zinc came strips, and are then soldered into place:
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:
Once it was done, I smoothed out my soldering lines and then placed it back into the wooden frame:
I used 6 little tiny screws to secure the metal frame to the wooden frame:
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:
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:
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:
Then sat on the couch with hubby and copper-foiled the edges while we watched TV:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
She was like “hmmm… is the left approach better, or the right?… Oh hai!”
We also saw a Kingfisher on the river over the weekend, who has been added to my RIVER page:
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:
There’s new growth along the bottom and the top:
Hooray! Hopefully NEXT spring it will have many blossoms.
Stay tuned for a new post about grilled vegetables. YUM!