Stained Glass Frequently Asked Questions

Your Stained Glass Questions

Stained glass projects are inspiring and fun, but also sometimes very tricky. This page is for those moments.

You’re happily making your stained glass panels, when suddenly you hit a problem.

What you’re doing just isn’t looking as good as you’d hoped.

Or you need a special tool but you don’t even know what it’s called. We all know that sort of moment…
stained glass

Questions And Answers From Other Visitors

Click on the links below to see if the questions and answers from other visitors are helpful to you…

Measuring the panel for a window
How much smaller should the stained glass panel be in order to fit a window? 1/8 of an inch on each side?


Fan Light Foil Unstable
I have not long started and this is my third project. I have finished this piece ( not perfect i know) but the tab at the bottom is wobbly is there any …

Decorative Soldering Dots
How do you achieve the tiny soldered “dots” on some of the copper foiled glass jewelry i’ve seen? i use a weller 100 with a 1/8″ tip for my pieces. is …

Using A Vintage Plate In Stained Glass
How would I incorporate a vintage plate into stained glass piece?

I am attaching a sample of something that I would like to try. I have read from some …

mirror discoloration?
Is the flux leaching into the mirrors in my stained glass pieces? If so, is there a kind that won’t discolor the mirror? Or is it the rinsing that does …

Reinforcing Glass Panels
I have designed and created 3 stained glass panels separately and now want to put them together to make a single rectangular panel for a transom window …

Copperfoil Not Sticking

I am working with some high school students. Several are having trouble with the foil coming loose from the glass. I told them to burnish it more but it still is coming loose. I haven’t ever had this problem before. Could something be wrong with the foil?

Making a Stained Glass Fireplace Screen
Hi Milly,

I want to make a tri-panel, hinged fireplace screen out of stained glass. I know how to make the panels using the copper foil method and …

Copper Foil vs. Hobby Came
I am a copper foil guy and have not used hobby came but see it suggested for small projects (sun catchers, night lights, small panels). What are the advantages …

Jig for an Oval Project
I’m going to attempt my first Oval piece. Can you tell me how to go about setting up please? Do I need to make a jig for this? I’m also using my came …

Does Copper Foil Add Size To A Project
I am making a copper foil door insert and have a finished measurement of 31.5 ” x 13.25″. Will the copper foil add size to the project and if so how much …

Firing Pebeo Vitrea 160 Paint
I am using glass paints that say you can fire the paints at 150C for 40 mins in an oven. This obviously does not work, the paint either flakes or peels …

Glass Painting Queries
I know that I have fired painted glass ramping up from room temp to 1250F/676C degrees in 35 min. I would then turn off the kiln and let it cool down naturally …

Firing Paint Questions
I just bought a new glass kiln. All of the pre-programmed firing schedules are for fused or slumped glass and seem very slow. What is a good kiln firing …

What material cuts glass?
I want to know that which material is best to use to using cut glass – is it a diamond? I am interested to know also about the different types of cutting tools and what is a laser glass cutter

How to Incorporate Shells into Cabinet Doors
I am making cabinet door inserts for relatives in Florida. How would I go about incorporating real shells in the glass? Have seen it done with agate and …

Cutting Diamond Shapes in Lead Came
I am never satisfied with my leading on borders containing diamond shapes…I just can’t figure out a consistent way to do it…can you help me do this …

What Does Coefficient of Expansion Mean in Glass?
How do I know what glass to buy for my first painting (fired) project? What does Coe 96 or Coe 90 mean? How about thickness?

Milly’s reply:
In physics …

Is Cutter’s Mate Any Good?
I am looking into buying a Cutter’s Mate, glass saw or cutter of some sorts. I am wondering what kind of cutting system most have used on here and what …

Which Stained Glass Saw Do You Recommend?
Answer: The Taurus 3 Ring Saw is the one I use and recommend.

There’s 3 main types of stained glass saw – Ring Saws, Band Saws and Wire Saws and …

Miscellaneous Questions on Glass
I bought a old fish tank and the back texture glass was painted like this. Looks like it was painted and put in the freezer. Who can help me find out what …

Drilling Glass and Glass Engraving Tools
I have been making stained glass panels for a while and I would like to incorporate drilled and engraved glass in my projects. I have been taking a course …

Dangers of Soldering with Lead
I repaired an old cigerette lighter case that had split at the seams, by soldering it with 60/40. It’s a cooper/metal case. I have never soldered in my …

Egyptian Stain Glass Supplies
I like Stained Glass very much, please tell me how to learn this beautiful art? Have in consideration that I am from Egypt, and I haven’t much money to …

Questions on Soldering
How do you make the transition from stained glass lead came to copper foil when they join together, because the heights are different?

Milly’s answer: …

Questions About Kilns
I would like to start painting on glass but don’t know what kiln to buy. I need to have a kiln that will run on a 13amp plug but is not so small that I …

Leading and Zinc Queries
Hi I’m just writing a long list of glass supplies which I need and have noticed that half rounded stained glass lead is approximately £1 per 2m more expensive …

Can Paragon Kiln Fire Stained Glass?
I recently bought a Paragon kiln – the Fusion 8 model for hot glass. I was under the impression that I could only use certain types of glass, such as: …

Framing Round Projects
I’m making some round stained glass and want to know what metal framing material is best. I’ve used zinc for my square projects and they are fairly easy …

Lead Free Stained Glass Solder Problem
I have a Weller 80 soldering iron. I have been working with it on several stained glass projects, with lead 60/40 solder and standard soldering flux and …

Where Can I Find Someone to Make Sandblasting Stencils?
I am looking for someone to make stencils for my Sandblasting Machine on Glass – any ideas?

Milly’s reply:
This is an interesting question, as sandblasting …

Working Out Firing Schedule Using Cones
I’m trying to fire paint, and need help with my firing schedule. My kiln is an old one and only has three settings; low, medium, high. I step up the temperature …

How to make glass etching cream?
I want to know how to make white glass etching cream for frosting the glass.
I have already bought the white powder (dudhi) and hydrofluoric acid and …

Questions About Resources
I’d like to start making stained glass work again. I have been interested in attending conferences. Are there any out there? Where do I go looking for …

Firing old glass with patina
I collect, among many, many other things, old glass. From nearly perfect whole bottles and jars to tiny broken bits, what draws me to them is usually a …

Lamp Patina
I’m making a four sided lamp. Can I patina the individual sides before assembling the four pieces? It would seem easier and then patina the joints after …

Cutting Stars In Glass
We want to cut out a star shape out in one piece. Is there a trick to that?

Milly’s reply:

Thanks for your question Peggy.

The short answer …

Stained Glass Front Door
I have an amazing piece of stained glass that I acquired from an estate sale. It’s a large piece and I would like to have it made into a front door. I …

Cleaning flux erosion from lead came
I have a lead came piece that I let sit with flux on the joints and glass. (School started back and I’m a teacher)

What is the best way to clean the …

Firing Regular Stained Glass?
I originally started doing stained glass before kiln work becme popular so of course I have lots of scrap glass. I purchased a kiln hoping to use this …

attaching hangers to finished projects
I am probably what one would call a beginner when it comes to stained glass although, I love doing it and have actually been commissioned to do several …

Stained Glass – Foil or Lead Came?
I have never done stained glass before, but have been very interested in it for years. Can you please tell me what the difference is between the type that …

restarting an old project
I have a lamp shade half done but haven’t worked on it for over five years. I would like to restart the project but was wondering what proceedures I should …

Stained Glass Solder Will Not Adhere
When I put my flux on it will not take the solder? In places it will but others it won’t. HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Milly’s reply:

This could be a …

UK Suppliers of Low Firing Glass Enamels
I would like to find suppliers of opaque enamels for painting – not for fusing or slumping
Many thanks

Milly’s reply:

Hi there, there’s a couple …

I just started my stained glass business and mostly sell from face book. I use my own patterns or from pattern books that say you can reproduce and sell. …

Finished Size of a Leaded Panel
A nooby here!! What is the best way to measure the distance between your cut size and your finish size? Im having difficulty with this. I know it may …

Kiln Slow To Cool Down
After a 5 day kiln glass course during a trip home to England last October, I decided I had to have my own kiln here in Bangkok where I live. It’s taken …

Kiln Vent on Paragon Kiln Fireluxe
I purchased a Paragon kiln – the fireluxe model – as I wanted to do ceramic work as well as glass casting. I’ve now got it wired up, but am too scared …

Zinc and Leading Queries
I have recently moved back from the States where all of my stained glass supplies were in abundance and easily available. However I am struggling to find …

How to Fuse Glass – Compatibility Tests
I have a bunch of raw stained glass. I could never get the hang of soldering so I moved on and learned how to fuse glass. I hope to put my colored glass …

Problems Using a Paragon Kiln for Painting
I bought a paragon kiln – SC2 – to fire paint on glass, although this is a fusing kiln I figured this would be fine for firing glass as you only need a …

Etching Questions
We have been asked to restore eight Victorian stained glass panels from a house in Southport, Lancashire UK. The majority of the work is simple stained …

Etching Glass Questions
I want to know how to silk screen etching cream an even white. Generally I use abf powder with water and acetic acid mixture but mostly it remains some …

Kiln Schedule for Firing Glassware Paint
This may seem silly but I’d really like to paint glassware for my home. I do have a kiln that I haven’t used for quite a while. I’d like to know where …

Kiln Queries
I am so frustrated and I didn’t have this issue with the same firing schedule in the cooler weather – now that the weather is hotter outside, I’m getting …

Glass Slumping Process – Molds and Glass
I need your advice on the slumping process. I purchased a small rice bowl measuring 3 3/4 inches at its top, 2 3/4 inches at its side, and 2 1/2 inches …

Questions About Leading
Do you still stretch hobby came like you do lead came?

Milly’s reply:
This is a tricky question for me to answer, as you don’t say what the came is …

Questions About Glass Enamels
We’re making a stained glass window of the world and need to paint the land onto the water with enamel. I have some powdered enamel, but I don’t know …

Tools and Stained Glass Supply Queries
What materials do I need to start making stained glass?

Milly’s reply: Luckily I’ve written pages to answer your question about materials for a starter …

Stained Glass Courses in the UK?
I need to do a course over a few days. I want to learn how to make stained and fused glass. Where is the best place to do it? I am from Ireland, but I …

Copperfoiling Queries
When I wash my finished piece of stained glass, dry it, and apply the black patina and wash again, a month later, there appears a whitish stain, like the …

Questions on Painting and Staining
If I do glass painting on frosted or sandblasted glass, will there still be a tin residue that I need to avoid?

Milly’s reply: Thanks for your …

Staining and Painting Glass Questions
I want to paint part of a glass panel on my front door – it measures 37 x 7cm. I have bought paint which is in a bottle and the liquid is very thin (so …

Painting Problems
I fired a painting project in my kiln made of float glass and a lot of air was trapped between the two layers. The bottom layer was painted. I am not …

Painting Questions
I plan to do a landscape of painted stained glass and want to paint trees and limbs on it. What kind of paint should I use and does it have to be fired …

Soldering Questions
What materials do I need to do lace soldering and how is it done?

Milly’s reply: Wow, this is an unusual question. I’m taking it that by ‘lace soldering’ …

Fuse and Slump Questions
I have been producing small pieces of slumped float glass in under 2 hours. They have survived successfully but I can see light brown colors around some …

Various Painting Questions
I need help with a firing schedule, to include annealing. I am staining some replacement diamond shapes in the old type German cathedral glass (minster …

Wine Glass and Mirror Questions
I want to teach patients how to paint on wine glasses, so they can decorate glasses that will be suitable for sale to support our Not For Profit Agency. …

Dangers of Glass Etching Acid
Where can I purchase hydrofluoric acid for etching glass? Thanks – and I love your site!

Milly’s answer:
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to underline …

Fusing Questions
I did some fused glass with some orange Spectrum glass in my kiln a little while ago, at the same time some blue Artista glass.
The kiln shelves were …

Firing Schedule Produces Spikes
Hi! I am a beginning glass fuser. I recently purchased a kiln. I’m full-fusing pendants. Each firing schedule I’ve used has caused spikes. My kiln is a …

Help with painting techniques
I have worked with stained glass as a hobby for about 6 years. I have an opportunity to build two windows for our church, which means duplicating the …

Cutting and Measuring Queries
I don’t understand something about measuring stained glass panels. If you have a lead window and the lead is say 1/8in. thick and your glass goes into …

Lead and Zinc Questions
I am struggling with my stained glass project. How do you clean the simple leaded angel after soldering so that corrosion doesn’t form on the hobby came? …

Slumping Questions
I am trying to slump glass, and wanted to ask about the glass size on a mold. Should it be smaller than the mold when you cut it?

I have just only really …

Etching terminology for U.S users?!
I am from the U.S. and a bit confused by some of the terminology on the techniques page. For the masking agents, you mention “bitumen” and “Fablon”. Is …

38 thoughts on “Stained Glass Frequently Asked Questions”

  1. Getting ready to get back into stained glass. As I recall, the ink from a “regular” Sharpie would “flake off” during the grinding process. Is there a pin with ink that will adhere better than a “regular” black Sharpie? If not, do you have suggestions to keep ink on the glass during grinding? Thanks!

    • You can smear over it with petroleum jelly or chapstick. Some people swear by Milwaukee Inkzall but I haven’t tried one yet. Alternatively, the metallic Sharpies stay put for longer. Nothing appears to be the answer… apart from cutting more accurately and doing less grinding 😉

  2. We have a large stained glass eagle window which is beautiful. Had it since around 1986 and had incorporated it in our last home we had built and it looked good. My question is: since moving to this home we had a window put in over the garage for the purpose of holding the eagle (which we removed and brought with us). We have not gotten it illuminated yet but there is one section about 8×12 that looks like it is illuminated and stands out. Do you have any suggestions as to why this has happened and what we can do to fix it?

    • I can only think that it’s the colour of the glass that’s making it seem illuminated. Is it different colours in that section than other sections? Or perhaps there’s painted detail on all but that particular section, which makes the glass stand out and shows the colour more?
      Sorry I can’t help more without seeing it.

  3. I have never worked with stained glass. A friend of mine makes stained glass tops on stumps in her yard. They are beautiful. We are going to do that in my yard but could use a recommendation for an outdoor varnish that doesn’t yellow.

  4. Dear Expert Glasses,

    We just finished up 2 stained glass pieces, and are ready to wax them. But we’re not crazy about the finish it leaves on each side. Sometimes it shines nicely, and sometimes not. Sometimes the glass sparkles and sometimes not. We are wondering if using something like spray on Pledge, and then polish it with a soft rag. Would that work very well to clean, polish and finish the piece? If not, what would you recommend?
    Thanks for your feedback.

  5. I’m doing a window out of all textured clear glass for my front door. Which side of glass is usually on outside?

    • Great question Mary. I’d go for texture on the inside as it’s less likely to get dirt in it. The light refracts nicely through from the smooth side for those on the outside, and you’ll have the texture catching the light on the inside.

  6. New to working with stained glass and can not find any answers to solve my problem. After cutting and grinding glass pieces there is a milky white residue left on edges. If anyone can advise me on how to remove this I would be so happy!

    • That’s the grinding process Joshlyn. It isn’t a problem with stained glass but as the foil tape or lead came hides it. It can be a problem if you’re fusing though as it can leave a ghost of a line. Best to cut and not grind if fusing.
      I hope I’ve got the right end of the stick with your question.

  7. Hi!
    I’m looking for some kind of bender or machine that can make u cames from brass or copper strips. My vision is that you can cut out flat strips and then turn them into u cames. Do you know if that exists?

    Best regards,

    • Not to my knowledge Johanna. I know people who melt lead and make their own cames but not brass or copper. You need a fumigating set up and a dedicated press. You can buy it, a lot easier LOL.
      Maybe someone else can help?

  8. Hello my name is Carmela Brignolo and I’m looking for someone that I would pay to stain glass some of my glass items I’m tired of having to look through them I want to put color in my apartment.

    Carmela Brignolo

    • Hello Carmela, you don’t say what country you’re in? If you Google ‘stained glass studios’ you should find some in your area that will be able to help you. Sorry I can’t be of more help.

  9. I am working on a stained glass piece that has some detail that will have to be painted on. Would it be best to paint directly on the glass (I don’t have access to a kiln) or use copper foil cut to the shape of the detail and paint that? If using copper foil, would I want to tin it first, or paint directly on the foil? Also, what would be the best paint to use for this? Thank you for this site! You are amazing and so helpful!!

    • You can use a ‘cold’ glass paint instead of the paints that need firing in a kiln. You can get them from Pebeo. If you want something a little more robust Pebeo sell glass paints that you put in your oven to bake on. They’re not permanent but better than the cold ones that don’t require heat at all.
      You wouldn’t paint the foil, no. You can do an overlay with foil – which means cutting the foil to the detail shape and then soldering on. This detail is best if soldered to an edge or glued on, otherwise it’s liable to come off.
      Good luck and thanks for your nice comments and questions Maria.

        • Also, I have foil that is a couple of years old. One roll has been in a zip lock baggie and another has not been opened from it’s original bag. Will it still stick, or should I buy new? I would really hate to waste it…

          • It should be fine if it’s been kept air tight. I always advise testing things before you do your ‘real’ piece if you’re in doubt. You could foil a couple of scraps and leave it for a week to see.
            I hope they’re okay, it’s a shame to waste them as you say.

        • If you’re painting and firing the paint on – either in a kiln or in the oven, do it before soldering. If you’re using ‘cold’ paint (that doesn’t need to cure with heat) do it after the soldering. The cold and ‘warm’ (oven paints) are more vulnerable than the solder Maria.
          I hope that helps.

          • Thank you so much for your help!! I have found so much helpful advice and fun new things to try on your site! I will be getting to the how to videos soon! I very much appreciate all the time and effort you put into this site!! Can’t wait to explore more 🙂

  10. I need to solder tinned copper wire on to lead came (meant to look like cactus spikes). I have tried various temps with my Haiko soldering tool but it will not work. The solder just rolls off the lead came (u) and will not adhere to the came. Anybody got any suggestions? Heeelpppp!,,,,

    • The lead came must be shiny and fluxed before it takes solder. Try brushing it with a wire brush first then fluxing and soldering straight away. That should work. Good luck!

  11. I have applied black pantina to my piece it has a orange hue on all places where the pantina was applied do you what cause this problem how to fix so the piece is black can send a photo to better explain problem

    Thanks Bill

    • It could be a variety of things, from chemicals in the water or oxidation. Black patina is a bit trickier than the other colours. Here’s a suggestion: wash the flux off with dawn soap and let the piece dry. Buff the solder with fine steel wool (wear gloves and a mask). Spray patina on a small area at a time and work in with a soft bristle brush. Allow it to settle for about 10 minutes. Then try shocking the piece with cold water before washing with dawn soap for the second time. When it’s dry, apply polish and once the haze forms, sprinkle whiting on the piece and work in with soft bristle brush. Vacuum off and then buff the piece with a soft clean cloth.
      My copper patina tutorial is here if you need it at a different time.
      I hope that helps your stained glass.

  12. I left my soldering iron on overnight and now it has a black coating on it. It still heats up but isn’t working as well. Is there anything I can do to fix it?

    • Ooophs – we’ve all done it Lynn!

      If you’ve tried all the tinning that you normally do and the coating is still damaged you’ll have to get a new tip I’m afraid. Not the end of the world – hopefully your iron will be okay.

  13. I would like to have a stain glass panel to go over a window that has bars between the thermopane. Window is 50″x24″ with one horizontal bar & 10 vertical bars deviding window into 10 individual sections. My question is should glass panel be made with similar bars incorporated in design or can one large design be made to cover the 50″x24″ space? With the latter I am worried that bars would show through design & distract from an overall design. Could you suggest a design that would look right for this type of window?

    • The reinforcing for a window this size needs to be robust. It’s too big to make a window this size without bars so you’re stuck with them I’m afraid!
      The good news is that when you think of a large Tiffany or a Frank Lloyd Wright stained glass window you don’t think of ‘bars’, you think ‘wow, beautiful!’. The colour and the design ‘override’ the bars in our minds’ eye.
      With regard to design, I chose Tiffany and FLW deliberately as they are very different styles but both are possible with bars. What I would suggest is that you work out the bars along with the design right at the beginning. Don’t try to add them in at the end – that will end in a mess.
      I would go with the existing bars.
      This is a very good question Marlene, thanks for that. I hope this helps.

  14. I need to find out if anyone has info about the possible contaminates that can be released when washing projects,like in your work sink, or outside with a garden hose? How does this not affect ground water?

    • It should be okay if you use a lot of water to dilute the small amount of chemicals. It’s not neutral as there are chemicals but they’re probably no worse than toilet cleaner 🙂

      This isn’t backed up by any research or science, so if anyone else has any comments that would be great.

  15. Hello,

    I’ve seen beautiful “stained glass” windows made by adhering old crystal dishes, that haven’t been broken, to vintage windows. I am wondering what adhesive is the best to use? It would need to be strong and unaffected by weather and light. Thank you for your help.

    • Hi Kim, I like to fix the dishes in by using copper foil so the vintage plate becomes part of the stained glass window. You can learn more about this technique here.
      I’ve never tried gluing directly on to glass so I’m not claiming to be an expert here. There are many transparent silicones that will stick glass to glass and not yellow over time but I’m wondering about the heat build up if this is going to be in the sun.
      Can anyone else share ideas about the glue idea?


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