Friday, April 20, 2012

Making 3D Projects From Stained Glass Scraps

Making 3D projects from scraps of stained glass is a great way to use up your scraps and experiment with creating truly original, one of a kind suncatchers.

Almost any object can be created in tree dimensions however, different types of wildflowers are the most common 3D stained glass projects used to teach newcomers the basics.

3D stained glass wildflowers can be created in almost any color combination and from any type of glass.

You can use any size scrap to make any size flower petal and you can experiment using small pieces of foiled glass, glass nuggets or even small beveled glass for the centers.

Use your imagination and investigate different materials and techniques.

There are no set rules to follow, nor is there any right or wrong way for making 3D projects from stained glass scraps.

If you would like to experiment creating a large 3D sunflower suncatcher, you can use the following idea to get you started:

Begin by forming the center of the sunflower from a large foiled glass nugget or several nuggets. (Preferably black or brown)

As an alternate to glass nuggets, you can cut and grind stained glass into a round circle.

Rough up the circumference of each nugget on your grinder so the foil adheres more easily and foil each nugget with 1/4" copper foil.  

Make the center as large or as small as you like.  You are the creator!

Next,  you need to make the petals from scraps of yellow glass.

You can draw a freehand pattern using the following as an example and size it to match the size of the center you created.

Don't worry if all the pieces aren't the same, just try to make them somewhat uniform.

When you have enough petals to rim the center of the flower (probably about 25 to 30) you can begin foiling the petals.

When foiling you can foil the entire outside of each petal or for a more realistic looking flower, you can just foil the wide base of each petal.

When you foil just the base, you will need to foil both sides as well as the edges of each petal.  This allows for a more sturdy solder joint when you attach each of the sunflower petals to the nugget center.

You can make the petals more realistic looking by placing them in a kiln and slumping some of them slightly before foiling.  This also rounds the edges of each individual petal.

Some artisans use a torch in lieu of a kiln, but glass breakage often occurs when the petals cool unevenly.

Next, you are ready to assemble your 3D sunflower.

The petals will be attached in two layers to give the sunflower the 3D effect.

Attach the back layer of petals first and then attach the front layer, staggering the petals so that the second layer of petals lays in between each petal in the the bottom layer.

Once all the foil edges are tinned, place the nugget or nuggets center face up on your work surface.

Lay out the first layer of petals around the nugget center and adjust them to make sure they all fit.

One petal at a time, solder the petals onto the center.  Lift some of the petal ends so that all the petals aren't flat.

Now you can attach the second layer of petals between each base of the first layer the same way.

When finished, flip the piece over and solder the back.

When done correctly, the back petals will be attached to the back edge of the nugget center and the front petals will be attached at the front edge.

You can add a stem to each flower at the back of the center using either a brass rod or thin brass tubing.

You can create leaves for your sunflower using the same technique as for the petals.

Make them more realistic by dividing them in half, foiling them and then soldering them together in a V shape.  Use a couple of dowels or pencils to form a jig.

Attach the leaves to a brass rod like you used for the sunflower.

Make the flower and leaf stems more realistic by wrapping them with green floral tape or painting them green.

If you chose to completely foil the petals of your 3D sunflower, you could make them look more realistic by painting the edges to match the glass scraps you used for the petals.

Making 3D projects from stained glass scraps is by no means limited to just flowers, anything three dimensional can be created with stained glass.  

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