How to Solder Stained Glass Beaded Edges

Learning how to make stained glass means getting to grips with learning how to solder stained glass beaded edges. You don’t want to let untidy finishing spoil your beautiful glasswork. This stained glass tutorial shows you how to make a lovely rounded edge for your sun catcher.

Soldering stained glass beaded edges is a little bit more difficult than the interior seams as there are three surfaces to deal with instead of just the one, and one of them is vertical!

What You Need

 

 

 

Solder Stained Glass Beaded Edges

1. Tinning the front and back edges

“Tinning” means merely covering the copper foil with a coating of solder. Can you see from the diagram above that a tinned edge is flatter, less pleasing and weaker than a beaded edge?

soldering copper foil top edge
Apply flux and tin the top face with a thin layer of solder
  • Paint the liquid flux over the edge with the Q-tip. Be fairly generous with it; too little flux will stop the solder sticking
  • Tin the top face of your edge
  • To do this simply add a few blobs of solder to the foil and melt it along the top edge with the soldering iron
  • Turn your piece over and do the same to the back face

Don’t worry about the solder spilling over the sides, you’ll use that in a minute.

beading stained glass edge
Tin second side and start soldering the edge

2. Beading the edge

Beading means creating a lovely smooth, rounded edge with the solder. A solder stained glass beaded edge is much stronger than a tinned edge as the solder ‘clings’ to the sides of the glass.

The secret with edges is to keep moving your stained glass so that the area you’re working on stays as flat as possible. This stops the solder running off or flattening out.

  • Put your heat resistant glove on, or prop your stained glass up between two bricks
  • Join the blobs that are already on the edge by heating them with the iron
  • Move slowly along, holding and lifting, making sure that the solder is rounded as you go
stained glass soldered edge
A soldered beaded edge
  • Adjust the sun catcher as you go so that the piece you’re working on stays horizontal
  • If you need to add more solder, put it on the tip of the iron and add it to the edge
  • You can get rid of excess solder by ‘flicking’ it off sharply. Be careful though, it will burn where it lands!

You can always practice on small scrap pieces of foiled stained glass before you start ‘for real’. By the end you will have a neat rounded edge and sides.

glass with neat soldered edge
Glass with rounded soldered edge

Wipe the flux off with a damp towel, but don’t worry too much about making it perfectly clean if you’re going to add jump rings. If you’re leaving your solder for more than a few days you’ll have to clean it thoroughly and put it in an airtight bag to help prevent oxidation.

Helpful Resources

This guy Karal is a genius. The whole how to do stained glass video is 13 minutes and I’d highly recommend watching it all. If you haven’t got time, go straight to 7mins 25 secs and the soldering edges sequence lasts one minute.

Great idea to bend the solder up like that and take a little bit from the top. Inspirational all round!


How to solder stained glass beaded edges, very skilfully!

Now you know how to solder stained glass beaded edges you’re ready for the next step, Attaching A Jump Ring.

 

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