Stained Glass Tools and Equipment

Essential Stain Glass Tools For Copper Foil Method

There are stained glass tools for everything you could possibly want to create, but what do you really need?

Here’s a short explanatory video for those who want to know the answer:

Essential stained glass tools for the copper foil technique

To help you get your stained glass equipment up together, the list below contains all the specialised tools you’ll need for making stained glass. My favourite tools – and why I use them – are here: Recommended Tools .

General Stained Glass Tools

Rapid Resizer Pattern Software

Stained glass software can help your speed and accuracy with designs and patterns. My preferred choice is Rapid Resizer online and I have a review of it here.

 


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Stained Glass Kits

You might choose to buy a ready-made kit instead of selecting the tools individually. Make it easy for yourself and compare deals on a range of kits here. Make sure you get the best bundle of equipment and don’t pay for things you don’t actually need. There are separate kits for the Copper Foil and Lead Came Construction techniques.


orange and yellow stained glass panel
 Stained Glass Sheets C & L

There’s a stunning range of coloured and textured sheet glass to make your artwork completely unique. Find out all about the different types of stained glass sheets, what they’re best used for and who supplies them. Includes fusible, opal and cathedral sheets. With two videos – one on the different types of glass and one on how best to cut art glass to maximise the grain direction.

Specialised Stained Glass Tools

glastar glass grinder
Stained Glass Grinder

Cut down on waste and achieve precision fits with a grinder that matches your particular needs. Read reviews of different grinders and find out which one comes out top for value and quality. Grinders are verging on the essential for the copper foil technique.

glass pattern shears
Pattern Shears

These special shears have a triple blade that miraculously removes a tiny slither of paper when cutting pattern template pieces. This allows space for the heart of the copper foil and solder and makes sure that you don’t cut your stained glass too big. Some shears are made for both lead and foil, some just for lead and some just for copper foil. Make sure you get the right ones for your project.


pencil grip glass cutter
Glass Cutter

Enjoy cutting stained glass and reduce breakage by choosing the stained glass cutter that suits you best. Includes a very helpful video showing all the different types of cutters available.

 

stained glass tools grozing pliers

Stained Glass Pliers

Learn all about the different types of stained glass pliers essential for stained glass making, and how to use them for breaking and grozing glass.


weller 100 soldering iron
 Stained Glass Soldering Irons

Select the right soldering iron and solder neatly and comfortably. Find out about which wattage you need and the best type of tips to use. Includes amazing stained glass soldering video.
Also here are lots of ideas for tools that help you to hold stained glass for those times when you need 3 hands.

stain glass flux
Flux

Make solder flow easily and neatly by using flux. There are many different types but all do an adequate job. Flux removers aren’t essential.

panel using copper foil and solder
Stained Glass Solder

Solder is used to join all your bits of glass together – either on each of the lead joins or along the copper foil seams. There’s lead-free solder and solder with a different ratio of tin/lead solder for leaded (50/50) and copper foiling (60/40) projects.

black patina for copper foil
Patina

This is painted on the solder to change the colour from silver to either copper, brass or black, depending on which colour patina you buy. Make sure you clean your copper foil panel before applying.

copper foil tape for stain glass
Copper Foil Tape

This is a roll of thin sheet copper that comes in a roll with a sticky back. It is stuck around the edges of your glass pieces so that the solder has something to stick to. It’s available in 1/8” (3mm) to ½” (13mm) widths.

Stained Glass Soldering Boards

Suggestions for the best boards for soldering stained glass that are heat resistant. Homasote board accepts push pins easily. A very useful addition to your kit!

Additional Optional Equipment


taurus ring saw close up
Ring Saws

Do you actually need a ring saw? Decide after you’ve read about the 5 things ring saws do well. You might find it’s the perfect tool for you or you might discover that it doesn’t help you make stained glass.


glass drill head
Drills

Add unique detail to your art work by engraving and drilling glass. You don’t need lots of expensive kit to drill holes. Find out which drill is best for you and how to use your grinder for drilling holes.


glass bottle cutting tool
Glass Bottle Cutter

Transform your used bottles into goblets, bowls or candle holders with this popular and well-reviewed bottle cutter. Detailed instructions on how to cut bottles successfully.

Non-Specialist Tools Needed

I’ve compiled 5 Cost Savings Tips here for you – so you can spend more money on beautiful glass 🙂

Designing Equipment

Pencils, pastels, paints – anything you can make marks with to start you off! – ruler, drawing paper, pattern card, drawing square for the right angles and masking tape.

Cutting Tools
  1. Safety glasses. Always make sure your eyes are protected with a pair of decent safety goggles – even if you wear spectacles.
  2. Permanent Pen for marking – black is fine but there’s a special white one for marking dark glass
  3. Scrap Lino for cutting on and a sharpening stone for making the edges safe if you can’t stretch to a grinder yet.
Assembling and Soldering Tools
  1. Wood strips and Nails for holding glass while soldering
  2. Work Board – a Homasote board is perfect
  3. Small, cheap brush for painting on the flux.

Stained Glass Tools Suppliers

All of the above tools and materials are available from Amazon. Their prices are good, they’re reliable and they don’t make a fuss about returns.
Have a browse and see what’s available but if you stick to the above list of essentials, you can be sure you won’t be buying items you don’t really need.

Everything Stained Glass receives a small % from Amazon (not you!) for any tools and supplies bought if you click through from this site. We never recommend any products we don’t rate highly. I hope you find our review and information service helpful.

Helpful Resources

There’s a little bit more information explaining how to use each tool needed for stained glass kits here that you might find useful. Once you know about each of the tools, what they’re for and how to use them, you’re ready to start making.
You can learn how to make stained glass from my free tutorials. They take each process at a time and are packed with annotated photos and videos. I hope you find them helpful.

Fun Stained Glass Gifts

The apron is supplied, printed and shipped by Californian-based company Zazzle.com. It is easy to order the apron online through Zazzle’s website and – according to review sites – they fulfil the order promptly and efficiently.

Zazzle has outlets internationally. I dealt with Zazzle UK and was happy with the service and the product. My good experience is backed up by other people’s reviews on the Internet.

  • Original design by Milly Frances
  • Mugs are dishwasher & microwave safe
  • Aprons come in alternative sizes
  • Available internationally, see below

Stained Glass Gifts

Stained Glass Mugs

Once the addiction to stained glass takes hold it colours everything we do, literally! I designed this celebratory mug so that we stained glass addicts can explain our happy predicament to the world.
Click here if you’re in the US and want a stained glass mug
Click here if you’re in the UK and want a stained glass mug

Stained Glass Aprons

Lots of glass artists have told me this image sums up their life! Does it have the same effect on you?
It makes a great gift or treat for stained glass addicts who like to keep cheerful in their workshop.
Click here if you’re in the US and want a stained glass apron
Click here if you’re in the UK and want a stained glass apron

16 thoughts on “Stained Glass Tools and Equipment”

  1. I am trying to find replacements for my breaker pliers. Any suggestions where to find? I get my supplies from Warner Art Glass, in PA and have for many years. They have been out of stock for quite sometime. Hope that you can help.
    Thank you,
    Sally

    Reply
  2. Milly, do you have any recommendations for a light board/pad? I’m looking to upgrade mine and am confused by the HUGE variation in prices ($10-$100+). It seems they all simply light up.

    Reply
    • Do you know what, I don’t Mandy, sorry. I have 2 light boxes that I’ve had for years so haven’t needed to invest in these. I should though! Anyone else have any recommendations?

      Reply
  3. I have a question. My stained glass windows in my kitchen cabinets are beginning to come apart from the wooden frame. Is there a putty or something I can use to adhere the glass to the wood? The glass is still intact, just coming away from the wood. It looks like the putty has lost its function. Thank you for your help!

    Reply
  4. What’s the standard size of each piece of work or is that up me.
    Loving the info and I’m so looking forward to starting and hoping that maybe I could make this a small business for me once I have developed the skills.

    Jason

    Reply
    • That sounds a great idea Jason. People love stained glass, it’s finding the market that’s a bit tricky. You’ve got to go for these things though! With regards to size, it’s totally up to you, yes. If you start making larger pieces you’ll have to factor in reinforcement but that isn’t an issue with smaller pieces.

      Reply
      • What can I use while soldering to position pieces so both hands are free. Also recommendation for somewhat flexible gloves for holding hot glass pieces.

        Reply
        • You can pin the pieces to the board if you’re using something ‘pinnable’ like homasote board. Alternatively for smaller irregularly shaped pieces you can tape them together in a few choice places before tack soldering. Then remove the tape for your soldering beads.
          For larger pieces you have a jig that holds them in place.
          Gardening gloves are usually sufficient for holding glass – they’re not heat proof but they do give you enough protection while soldering.
          I hope that helps.

          Reply
    • Good point! There’s an argument that gloves can make you more clumsy when cutting glass which increases risk… which was why I deliberated over them as ‘essential’. It’s a personal choice, that one.

      Reply
  5. Ms Milly..I am wanting to teach a basic stained glass class..I was asked to do so… I dont recall using came when I did it years ago. Do you have to use it?

    Reply
    • That’s nice to be asked Rebekah! No, you don’t have to use lead came. You can just use copper foil, and frame in wood if it’s big enough to need a frame. Or leave unframed for smaller pieces (although it’s hard to get them to look nice without a frame of some sort). My free copper foil tutorials are on this page if you’d like to use them as a resource for your student. Good luck!

      Reply
  6. Chuffed to see a bit of my work featured in your section on Stained Glass Sheets. I still have it hanging in my shed, and now Ive got quite a few more pieces stored there since it was made.

    Reply
    • In your shed?! You need to get that out and about for people to admire. It’s gorgeous. Sorry I can’t put a credit on the thumbnail – it’s too tiny. But, everyone; Pete Hammond made that lovely piece, Number 1 above 🙂

      Reply

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