About Stained Glass - Copper Foil

Designing the Panel

It all starts with a customer’s idea. This Three Tulip panel is designed to fit into an octagonal window. Once installed it will be lit from behind.


Customers often provide rough sketches of their ideas. I start with those and work with the customer to reach the final design.



Selecting the Color Palette

Once we’ve settled on the design the next step is to colorize it.

The tulips are yellow; the leaves green with a darker green for the shadows; the stems a darker green still. The basket has a weave effect so dark brown alternating with a lighter cream color. The sky is blue with some white streaks. That creates our color palette.



Building the Panel

Like anything else stained glass panels are built a piece at a time. This design calls for about 60 pieces. Each piece is carefully laid out on the glass sheet. I consider the color variation, grain and texture of the glass to decide how to cut it.

The piece is then cut and shaped to fit the design using a grinder or other diamond tools. The individual pieces are wrapped in copper foil and then soldered together. I tend to do this for small sections at a time to ensure a proper fit. Here, I started with the woven basket. Each piece is cut from the glass sheets and then fitted into the design.


Construction continues in the same manner as the panel takes shape piece by piece.



Completing the Panel

Once I’m satisfied with the fit of all the pieces, they are soldered together along the copper foil lines.

Solder is applied to both sides of the panel. Finally, a zinc frame is added to strengthen the panel. A patina can also be applied to give the panel an aged look.



The Final Product!


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