Stained Glass A-Z


Antique Glass Mouth blown sheet glass. It’s handmade rather than machine made. Not ‘old’ or ‘aged’ as the term suggests!

Acid-etching Removing a layer of colour on the glass using hydrofluoric acid to reveal a different colour or clear glass beneath

Art, or Stained Glass Sheets of glass used for cutting shapes from when making stained glass. Can be transparent (Cathedral) or opaque (Opalescent) with many, many variations of colour, texture and opacity in between. The most exciting material of all!


Beading The process of melting enough solder to form a ‘bead’ or gently rounded seam of solder over the copper foil

Bevels Shapes of glass with angles ground into the edges which have then been polished. Used in stained glass panels and windows

Bottle Cutter A tool that cuts bottles using a carbide wheel and heat. Instructions and review of Ephrem’s bottle cutter

Breaking Pliers Pliers used to help ‘break’ or separate the glass apart once the score has been made. Grozer/Breaker pliers or Cut Running pliers do this job


Carborundum Stone A tool used for smoothing the edges of the glass to make them safe. Otherwise known as a Scythe or Sharpening Stone

Cathedral Glass Machine made transparent sheet glass

Cementing Pushing lead light cement – or blackened putty – in between the lead came and glass to weatherproof and strengthen the panel

Copper Foil A sticky backed copper tape that is wrapped around each glass shape before soldering when using the Tiffany copperfoiling technique. Good for 3-D projects such as lampshades or boxes

Church Windows Religious stained glass

Circle Cutter An ingenious tool that ensures the score is a perfect circle

Cuttable Shapes Not all shapes can be cut from glass. A slideshow showing which ones you can and can’t cut

Cut Line The traced lines from your cartoon showing exactly the shapes you need to cut. Like a pattern but usually for a larger project that is going to be fitted into a window aperture

Cutting Glass The process of making a scratch or score with a glass cutter and then ‘breaking’ or ‘running the score


Drapery Glass A sheet glass that has been manipulated when hot to create gentle folds that look like – well – drapery!

Drilling glass Using drills with water to make holes in glass for hanging


Edge Beading Soldering a rounded rather than flat edge to a stained glass panel or suncatcher. Gives more strength and is seen as a mark of craftmanship

Enamels Special coloured stained glass paint that is mixed with flux and is used for painting on glass before being fired permanently on the surface in a kiln


Fid A useful looking tool used for opening and closing lead cames and for pressing down copper foil onto the glass shapes (burnishing)

Firing glass Heating the glass in a kiln to either fire a pigment permanently on to the surface or to fuse or slump glass

Flashed Glass A hand blown glass with a thin layer of one colour on top of either a clear or different coloured base glass. Used for etching as the bottom layer is revealed to varying degrees

Flux A chemical that cleans the copper foil and helps the solder to flow before soldering

Fluxing Applying liquid, paste or gel flux to the copper foil seams before soldering

Foiling Sticking copper foil around the edges of each cut glass shape

Fusing Melting two or more pieces of compatible glass in a kiln until they are hot enough to melt together permanently


Glass Cutter A hand tool with a small wheel that scores the glass before breaking

Glass Etching Cream An etching cream that eats into the surface of the glass to produce a frosted area

Glass Nuggets Irregular rounded blobs of thick coloured glass made in various colours and sizes. For use in stained glass panels and lamps

Glass Painting The art of painting on glass before firing permanently on with heat from a kiln

Glue Chip Glass Glass with a frosted pattern like frost on a window. Made by hot animal glue being applied on cold glass and being allowed to dry under special temperature condidtions.

Grinder Electric table top grinding machine that has a rotating grinder bit that smooths off glass pieces into shape


Horseshoe Nails Flat sided nails – used for nailing horseshoes on! – used in stained glass for holding the lead came in place while leading takes place


Iridescent Sheet glass with a metallic surface treatment that causes the glass to shimmer and change colour in certain light


Kiln Firing Schedule The time and temperatures needed to fire glass to produce specific results. Every process has a different kiln firing schedule

Kits Starter stained glass kits selected by suppliers and sold as one item


Lead Came Lengths or spools of lead with channels to accommodate pieces of glass. Available in many different widths and profiles

Lead Stretcher A special vice with serrated jaws to hold lead came securely before it is stretched by hand from the other end. This makes it stronger and easier to use

Leading The process of assembling a stained glass window using lead came to keep the glass together


Matting The art of blending stained glass paint with a badger brush before it is fired in a kiln

Mouth-Blown Glass Made by blowing glass into a cylinder which is then cooled and cut before being re-heated and flottened into a sheet

Moulds Heat resistant moulds used for shaping glass in the slumping or casting process


Opalescent Glass Opaque or semi-transparent glass. Usually machine made

Oxidation Tarnishing of copper foil or lead came if left in contact with the atmoshpere too long before soldering. Can be removed with fine steel wool


Paint A black, brown or grey vitreous enamel used to paint detail on glass before being fired to permanence in a kiln

Painterly Stained Glass Characterised by qualities of colour, stroke, and texture rather than of the lines of lead or solder

Pressure, cutting The optimum amount of force needed to create a satisfactory score. Watch the video and take the test!

Pricing Stained Glass A discussion on the various ways of approaching the pricing question


Quantities, of glass to buy A general formula for working out how much glass you need for a particular project


Ring Saw A dedicated saw for cutting difficult-to-cut shapes and sheets. Read about the 5 things they do well

Rolled Glass Machine-made glass sheets that are rolled through rollers when the glass is in a molten state

Running Pliers Specialised pliers that have cushioned, rounded jaws that apply pressure to either side of the score when the handles are gently squeezed together. Sometimes known as Cut Running Pliers


Scissors, cutting glass with A video showing – no PROVING! – that it’s possible to cut glass with regular scissors

Score A scratch made on the surface of the glass with the glass cutter wheel. It goes from one edge of the glass to another. This surface fracture is then ‘run’ or ‘broken’ to separate the score

Silver Nitrate or Silver Stain A powder containing silver nitrate that is applied to the surface of the glass before the glass is fired. During firing the stain becomes part of the molecular structure of the glass. It comes in shades from pale yellow to rich orange through deep amber. Beautiful!

Slumping The process of melting glass over molds in a kiln

Solder A combination of tin and lead used to stick copper foil and lead cames together. Sold in sticks or spools

Soldering Iron An electric hand tool used for melting solder along the seams

Stained Glass Kits A selection of starter tools sold together by stained glass suppliers


Tapping The technique of tapping the underside of the score with the ball end of the cutter to help the glass break apart

Template A thin cardboard or thick paper shape used to mark out a pattern before scoring the glass. Sometimes stuck on dark glass

Tinning Applying a thin flat coating of solder over copper foil to cover it

Tracing Painting the outlines of a pattern on to the glass before adding the matted areas

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