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It Started As Stained Glass

Back when I thought the kiln would never arrive, I decided to do a small stained glass window. I think trees make a great subject for glass (actually, for just about anything), so I found this design on the internet somewhere and modified it so it’d work as stained glass. I printed it on a printer to scale, then used a light panel to trace it so I could have a second. You’ll see why below.

Line Art for Tree


The line art above is now on the left, with the pieces of glass numbered so I could keep all the little bits straight if I accidentally bumped the board. On the right is a second drawing I created on the light panel, but it’s been colored with crayons. I wanted to see what the finished window would look like using the palette of the glasses that I’d bought.

Begin Layout

Lots of Cutting

I’m cutting one color of glass at a time. For example, all of the brown glass is cut at this stage, along with some of the greens and blues. I copper foiled the edges of a few pieces just to make it clear to some visitors how the stained glass would be put together (melting solder onto the copper surfaces to bind adjoining pieces of glass together). I also ground virtually every piece of glass as well to make sure it fit the pattern and didn’t overlap the black marker (since that’s where the solder has to flow).

A Little Bit of Foil

Fusing Test

But then the kiln arrived, and my husband suggested I fuse the piece instead of foiling and soldering it. So I decided to do a couple small tests first. Because I’d purposely left gaps between the pieces of glass for solder, I had to fill those. I decided to use fine black frit. In the test above, the stained glass pieces with frit in between are capped with clear Tekta glass. Below the Tekta is on the bottom.

Test with Clear on Top
Test with Clear on Bottom

Lots of Black Frit

I purposely left the gap big on these tests to see how the black frit would handle the bigger spaces.

Frit for Solder

Ready to Test

Just a quick full fuse to see what will happen.

Test Ready to Fuse

Test Complete

I had hoped that having clear glass on top would work out, because I thought it might give the piece a little depth. But you can see the big bubbles that were created when the air trapped in the frit had nowhere to go (the one on the left). So I decided to fuse the window with the clear glass on the bottom (to achieve the required 6mm thickness). 

Test Results

Ready to Finish

Since this will be a window, there’ll be no slump. I’ve cut some black glass to create a thin border all around. I moved each piece of glass over to the kiln shelf, then filled the gaps with black frit. I’ve brushed the loose frit from the surface, far away from the edges of the piece.

Ready to Fuse

Final Result

So fun. The entire window is only 11×17 inches. Some of the glass pieces got pretty small, but the effect is mosaic-like. The black frit stands in nicely for solder with a patina, and the whole thing still has the feel of traditional stained glass. I’m always surprised by how many people like this piece, since I tend to like designs that are also functional. But it was definitely fun to create, and always trees for the win.

Final Result


SEGMENT RATE (deg F / hour) TEMPERATURE (F) HOLD (hours:minutes)
1 400 1225 :30
2 600 1490 :10
3 AFAP 900 1:00
4 100 700 OFF