This page will contain my recommendations for stained glass and mosaic supplies; I'm trying to keep it to the basics to what is needed to set up your studio at minimal investment to start working. These are all tools I use constantly while I'm working. When something is more of a "nice-to-have", I'll try to make sure to point that out too.
This page contains affiliate links (I will receive a small commission if you buy a product after clicking on these links). I have personally used and recommend all of the products listed below, though I did not buy most of them online and cannot personally recommend the specific sellers I've linked to on Amazon. Please do your own research, and I definitely suggest supporting your local stained glass shop if you're lucky enough to have one in your area!
If you have a recommendation for a product, let me know on my Contact Me page!
Glass Cutting Tools
The minimum set of tools needed to cut glass, in my opinion, are:
- Pistol grip Glass Cutter (Alternatively, you could also try a tool like this, it is what I used at first and worked fine for me. I just like the grip and control of the pistol-grip cutter better.)
- Running Pliers
- Breaker/Grozer pliers
- Waffle Grid
I also have a blog post detailing my use of these tools.
Two tools needed for this step, plus the foil:
- Copper Foil - I prefer the black-backed tape myself. I've used the following two types of foil:
- Sharp knife
In order to solder the foil-wrapped pieces together, you need flux, a flux brush, solder, and a soldering iron - that's it! Here's your shopping list:
- Flux - I know lots of people prefer the paste, but I've found that the liquid works fine for me and is quick to apply and quick to clean up.
- Flux brush - I just use a cheap-o paintbrush, and I have a little plastic cup like the ones that are used for take-away salad dressing to pour a little flux into as I'm working.
- 100 Watt Soldering Iron: The link is to the one I have, but the specific one isn't too important, as long as it's 100 watts. I like mine, it isn't too heavy and works well, but I've not used any others.
- Solder - I use 60/40 solder (60% tin, 40% lead), which is the kind most commonly used for copper foil and lead assembly.
- I also keep a bottle of water handy to keep the sponge wet to wipe off the iron tip.
I have found that the chemicals listed below last a very long time, so once you buy them, you will be good for a while. I'll list in the order I use them:
- Flux Remover - I use a little brush to apply it and get it in all the corners before rinsing it off.
- Steel Wool - to clean up the project and solder lines before patina.
- Patina - I apply with a little piece of a sponge, which I throw away when I'm done. I prefer black patina personally, but there is also copper.
- Framing Material - zinc or lead U-channel came, or maybe you prefer to frame in wood... or if you are making suncatchers, you can just tin around the edges.
- Saw to cut the zinc framing material; I used a hand saw at first, then Kevin bought me a little electric one from Harbor Freight which is much faster.
- Polish - To really shine up those solder lines and protect your project.
Lastly, I wanted to share a couple of recommendations for design tools:
- Compass: I use a fancy one that Kevin bought from Lee Valley years ago (it has been relocated to my bench!), but I'm sure any decent-quality one will do.
- French Curves, Shape Stencils, and my Geometrigraph/Polygraph tool from Lee Valley for geometric and symmetric patterns (it was essential for the "Ring of Flower" panel).