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!

 
 
my cutting tools

my cutting tools

Glass Cutting Tools

The minimum set of tools needed to cut glass, in my opinion, are:

I also have a blog post detailing my use of these tools.

 
my grinder, safety glasses always stored at the ready!

my grinder, safety glasses always stored at the ready!

Grinder

I bought my grinder for my very first project.  It is small, which is perfect for me since I have a small workspace, but it has done everything I need it to do!

 
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Foiling

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:
    • StudioPro is easy to work with but also tears a little more easily.  Comes in a handy dispenser packaging.
    • VentureTape is thicker, maybe a teensy bit harder to attach, but feels stickier and higher-quality.
  • Fid
  • Sharp knife
 
tower of solder!

tower of solder!

Soldering:

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.
 
say cheeeee....micals

say cheeeee....micals

Finishing Steps:

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.
 
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Design Tools:

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).