Grade: Middle
Subject: Art

#2931. Stained Glass Heart Suncatcher

Art, level: Middle
Posted Fri Sep 12 12:53:46 PDT 2003 by Alison Morris (

Delphi Stained Glass, Lansing, U.S.
Materials Required: see lesson below
Activity Time: Three classroom sessions
Concepts Taught: Students will learn the importance of color and light

1) Students will learn the basics of stained glass including glass cutting, assembly, soldering and finishing. 2) Students will improve hand dexterity, attention to detail and craftsmanship. 3) Students will learn the importance of color and light, as sunlight will change the color of the glass and crate a rainbow refractory through the bevel.

Grade Levels:
Middle School, High School

Time Required:
Three sessions

Materials for 12 Projects:
Quantity Item Number Description
12 #5264 1ฝ Square Bevels
2 small #S152RR Spectrum Red Rough Rolled Glass
2 small #S134RR Spectrum Blue Rough Rolled Glass
2 small #S20091W Spectrum White Waterglass
2 #5571 7/32 Silver Back Foil
2 #3000 Mastercraft Solder (for Lead Free use #2999)
1 #5607 Bag of Hooks
1 #5521 Gel Flux

Teacher's note: Cut each small sheet of glass into six pieces, creating 4" square pieces of glass for each student. Experiment with different colors of glass. If creating hearts that are one color (example: all red for a Valentine's Day project) use 4 small sheets of glass, with each student receiving 1/3 of the sheet.
Additional Supplies:
See Basic Supplies List on Delphi's Beginning Stained Glass Instructions sheet.

Refer to Delphi's Beginning Stained Glass Instructions for detailed directions.
1.Cut the easiest piece first -- they're numbered from the easiest (#1 is a bevel - no cutting required) to the most difficult (pieces 4 and 5).
2.On pieces 4 and 5, cut the curved side first.
3.Grind or use a scythe stone to remove burrs.
5.Solder, including the hook onto the top of the heart.
6.Clean and polish.

A. Cathedral - clear or colored glass that you can see through
B. Wispy/Translucent - clear glass with opal streaks
C. Opal - glass that allows light through but cannot be seen through

A. SCORE: A light continuous scratch on the glass surface, extending from one edge of the glass to the other edge.
1. A good score should look like a hair on the glass; a string is too heavy. Also, a good score has no breaks or gaps in it.
2. Heavy pressure is not required and in fact can cause a poor break of the glass.
B. CUTTING: Hold the cutter as you would a pen or pencil. Don't tilt from side to side, but keep the wheel perpendicular to the piece of glass. Drag your hand as you score to control the motion. Steering is from the elbow/shoulder, your wrist should remain motionless. Stand rather than sit while cutting.
1. You can either push or pull the cutter. To cut straight lines pull; for shaped pieces push so that you can see where the pattern lines are located.
2. Always score the glass on the shiniest or smoothest side.
3. Make only one score at a time. Break the glass, then make the next score.
4. Avoid running your score lines less than ฝ" from the side of the glass.
5. NEVER back up or re-score the same line.
6. ALWAYS number your glass pieces
1. Inside Curves or Tapered Cuts
a) Score inside curves first
b) Score outside curve, pinch tip of glass while breaking with running pliers
2. Contour Cut: Use when breaking out a curved area too tight to break out with running pliers, or when other methods of breaking fail.
a) Score along pattern line
b) Make a series of scores parallel to original pattern line, 1/8" - 1/4" apart.
c) Using Breaker/Grozers, break out parallel scores one at a time
working toward the pattern line.
1. Two Fisted Grip - with hands in tight fists, place fingers together on bottom side of glass, with score line running between fingers. Place thumbs on top surface of glass, slightly apart, one on each side of the score. Press down with your thumbs, and up with your fingers to snap the glass along the score line.
2. Running Pliers - have a curved jaw that allows for more control when making long or more difficult breaks. Line up score with indicator line on the upper jaw, placing pliers ผ" to ฝ" over the glass edge. Gently clamp down on the glass. Turn the set screw until you feel it just touch the glass, then back off the set screw slightly and squeeze.
3. Breaker/Grozer Pliers - are used for removing pieces of glass too small for hands or running pliers. They have a curved lower jaw and a flat upper jaw, both with a serrated inner surface. Place the pliers approximately 1/16" in from the glass, parallel to the score line, with the flat jaw on top. Use your other hand while applying the two fisted grip (described earlier) and bend pliers down and away from the score.
4. Grozing - is the removal of flares, nibs and small pieces from the glass edge. Using one hand to hang onto the glass, roll the serrated surface of the Breaker/Grozer Pliers over the edge, removing unwanted glass. Grozing allows you to clean the glass edge for safer handling and easier foiling, as well as a better fit.
5. Grinders - many types of grinders are available for quick and accurate trimming of cut pieces.

A. There are two methods of making piece patterns.
B. Layer the following 5 items: original pattern, carbon paper, cutting or layout pattern, carbon paper, piece pattern (tag board, vellum, mylar).
C. Trace over original pattern using a pen or pencil. Make sure to trace all lines.
D. Number all pieces, designate color and direction if desired.
E. Separate copies.
F. Cut out piece pattern using foil pattern shears. Outside edges can be cut with regular shears.
G. Place pattern piece on glass, trace around it using a permanent marker. If using other than smooth side of glass turn pattern piece over.
H. When scoring glass, cut on the inside of the drawn line, so that the line is on the waste portion of the glass.

A. Foil comes in assorted widths, thickness and backing colors such as silver, black, or copper backed. Selection depends on glass type and any effects you may be looking for.
B. Beginners should start with the easy to handle 7/32", 1.5 ml thick foil.
C. Peel back 2"-3" of backing from the foil, hold glass with the edge toward you, and apply foil to glass so that it extends evenly over both sides of the glass. Crimp (fold) over edges making sure to fold corners neat and flat.
D. Burnish foil using fid or similar tool. Press foil flat against glass on the outside edge first, then both sides of the glass. Don't scrub as you may rip the foil.
E. Lay foiled piece over corresponding piece on working pattern.

A. No drinking, eating, or smoking while handling lead or solder! Pregnant and lactating women should avoid all soldering.
B. SOLDER TYPES: Solder is a mix of tin and lead in different proportions. Only use solid core types.
1. 50/50 can be used for foil method and lamps.
2. 60/40 best for either foil or lead.
3. 63/37 can be used for decorative work
4. Use lead free solder when projects will be handled--kaleidoscopes, jewelry boxes, or objects for young children.

1. Re-align pieces on pattern. Use push pins or layout blocks to hold together.
2. Apply flux to copper foiled pieces.
3. Tack solder at seam intersections by holding iron above panel and allow solder to drop onto panel.
4. Completely solder seams by holding iron tip on the foil, perpendicular to the seam. Hold iron as you would a carving knife. Feed the solder into the tip as you move along the foil. Stop soldering ผ" from panel edge on all seams if you are putting a came edge on your panel.
5. Allow panel to cool, then flip, flux and solder all seams as on the front. It is not necessary to tack solder the back. When flipping panel over be careful; any straight edges/seams can act as a hinge, and pull foil away from the glass.
6. Apply edge came.
7. When the front and back are completely soldered, wash thoroughly using warm water and soap (such as CJ's Flux Remover #5514) and a soft brush. Clean both sides, then rinse well and dry.

1. If solder doesn't flow smoothly apply more flux.
2. If seams bulge over the glass there's too much solder. You may need to melt off the excess.
3. If solder spits or bubbles there's too much flux, wipe some off.
4. Flat seams need more solder.
5. Don't stay in the same spot too long or the solder will bleed through or the glass will crack.
6. Wipe your iron tip frequently on a wet sponge while you are soldering.
7. Re-tin your tips as needed using a sal-ammoniac block.

A. CAME: is used for edging your panel. Types include: zinc, brass, copper, and lead (lead needs to be stretched before using).
1. Fit the side cames to your panel first, having them extend beyond and overlap the top and bottom of the panel. Then fit the top and bottom cames within the side cames. This will leave the top of the side cames open for the rings. Solder the corners and all seams where they meet the came.
2. Place a ring over the opening at the top edge of the zinc. Flux, and solder the ring securely.
3. Clean your panel with flux remover, then dry.
4. Lead came can be used for oval or round frames but remember to stretch it first. A came bender can be used to bend zinc, copper, or brass.
B. WOOD: Frame your panel with zinc or lead first. A wood frame is optional. Silicone or glazier points can be used to secure the panel to the frame.

A. A chemical used to change the color of soldered seams to black or copper.
B. Make sure that your panel is completely cleaned before applying patina. With latex gloves, apply patina to soldered seams using a small brush, a cotton rag or paper towel; add patina as needed. Patina the front and back of the panel, then rinse clean.

A. Apply a wax coating to help keep your panel from oxidizing. Hang your panel with a chain that will support the weight of the panel.

Listed with Delphi item numbers for easy reference

A. #5066 Breaker/Grozer Pliers
B. #5068 Running Pliers
C. #5104 Glass Cutter
D. #5163 Safety Glasses
E. #5013M Iron Stand
F. #5500 Flux
G. #5141 Flux Brush
H. #5561 Copper Foil

I. #5002 Soldering Iron
J. #3000 60/40 Solder
K. #5169 Scythe Stone
L. #5514 Flux Remover
M. #5511 Black Patina
N. #5165 Corkbacked Ruler
O. #5086 Foil Shears

For more stained glass instruction see these Delphi best sellers!

Quick Success Stained Glass #6186
Over 100 color photos of glass, tools, projects, and techniques to get the beginner started quickly. Great 18 full-size patterns for the first timer!
Stained Glass Basics #6405
A great step-by-step instruction book for all skill levels. Features copper foil, overlays, lead came, 3-D, panel lamps and repairs. Includes inspirational color photos and technical tips.

Delphi Made Easy Videos
Stained Glass Made Easy #6149V
This excellent video guides the beginner step-by-step through a simple but elegant window project. All the copper foil basics are covered, including: cutting, foiling, soldering, patinas and framing. This updated tape provides all the how-to information and confidence you need to create your first stained glass window. Includes pattern.

Soldering Made Easy #6151V
This video is loaded with useful tips, tricks and advice for beginners and intermediate crafters. Learn techniques to smooth rough solder lines and really beautify your work!

Glossary Of Terms

Cutter: A tool consisting of a handle and a beveled cutting wheel. The wheel may be constructed of either steel or lungsten carbide, and rotates freely on its axis.

Cutting Oil: Is a high-viscosity fluid used in conjunction with glass cutters. Oil keeps the wheel clean of dust and glass chips, which increases the life of the cutter.

Score Line: When the cutter is pressed against the glass and then drawn or pushed across the surface, it makes a score-line, which resembles a light scratch on the surface of the glass.

Run: Glass does not break in half like a loaf of French bread. Rather, it begins to break at the edge of the glass and then runs to the other edge, completing the break. The special pliers used to control the process are called running pliers.

Break: Essentially the same thing as a "run," only it occurs so fast that the glass appears to break apart all at once. Breaking pliers are designed to enable you to hold small pieces of glass during the breaking process.

Groze: The process of filing or chipping away small of glass. Pliers with small serrated teeth are used for this process, and they are called grozing pliers.

Grind: A electric tool used for the precision shaping of glass is the grinder. Glass pieces are laid flat on the work surface and pressed against a rotating diamond coated bit to remove glass in very controlled amounts. This is called grinding.

Copper Foil: This is essentially copper tape, and it comes in different widths and thicknesses. It is wrapped around the outside of a piece of glass and then pressed into place along the sides. Solder will stick to the copper foil but not to the glass during the assembly process.

Flux: Flux is either a paste or a liquid used in the soldering process to clean the metal surfaces. It is applied to either copper foil or lead came just prior to soldering.

Solder: Solder for stained glass comes in a few types: 60/40 and 50/50 being the most common. These numbers express the tin to lead ratio. 60/40 melts at 370ฐF: 50/50 at 414ฐF. There is little real difference in the strength and flexibility of these solders, and which one you use is a matter of personal preference. Rosin core solders are not acceptable for stained glass work. Lead-free solder is another option.

Tinning: Usually performed on copper foil to prevent oxidation when you apply a thin layer of solder to a metal surface.

Burnishing: The process of pressing foil against the sides of the glass.

Lead Came: A thin strip of metal with a channel grooved into it to receive pieces of glass. Came is cut to the size of the glass pieces, and each piece is soldered into place at the point where it intersects another piece of came.

Zinc: A pre-formed metal strip much the same as lead came, but far stronger. It is generally used for the initial framing of panels.

Patinas: Chemical solutions which are applied to solder seams to alter their coloration.

How to Teach Glass Cutting Skills

Use this exercise to practice and learn proper glass cutting techniques.
#M3901 Double Strength Clear Glass - medium pieces
(cut into ฝ sheet per student)
#5102 Fletcher Terry Cutter or
#5104 Dry Wheel Super Cutter
#5066 Breaker/Grozer Pliers
#5068 Running Pliers
#5163 Safety Glasses
Hand Tools - Emphasize how and when to use each hand tool.
• Show the different kinds of cutters available and encourage students to try each kind before purchasing one. Discuss some of the differences in the cutters. Any of the pencil grips require finger strength. The pistol grip uses more hand strength.
• Point out that cutter heads are made to move. The movement allows the student to feel the curve that may be on the glass.
• To keep your cutter in the best condition, occasionally lubricate the wheel with cutting fluid. This will keep the wheel rolling smoothly, which will make your glass scores consistently better.
• If using a cutter with an oil reservoir, use only a small amount of oil. Too much oil will make it leak onto the glass. If you lubricate the wheel, it is not necessary to fill the reservoir.

Running Pliers
• Spend time looking at the tools before using them. First the running pliers, ask the students to look at the running pliers and tell you what they notice. They have coated tips that are used on glass. These tips are important to successful breaking of the glass. There is a small screw on the topside. This has to be adjusted to the thickness of the glass. Each type of glass varies in thickness.
• To determine the setting for the glass, put the piece of glass in the pliers. Carefully, turn the screw until the end of the screw touches the inside of the other handle and then back off 1/4 turn. Check the setting each time you change the type of glass being cut. Looking straight at the end of the pliers, you can see that they curve down.
• When using the running pliers, the screw must be facing up. The pliers have a center mark that must be lined up with the score. It should look like the score continues up on the pliers. Apply light pressure to the glass. The score will start to run and then break apart.
• Emphasize that glass does not like to be "strong-armed." The student will be more successful if he or she is gentle.

Breaker/Grozer Pliers
• Notice the jaws of the pliers are different. One jaw is flat and the other is curved. This difference allows for the pliers to be used in two ways.
• Curved jaw on top: the grozing jaw and is used to nibble away at the edge of the glass. This is useful when a little burr or shard protrudes on the edge of your glass.
• Flat jaw on top: the breaking jaw is used to "break" or "snap" the glass at the score line. By positioning the flat jaw near the score line and holding the other side with your hand, break the glass using a downward motion.
Scoring and Cutting Glass

• Don't focus on making straight cuts. Allow the students to become familiar with the tools and how they work.
• When choosing which side of the glass to make the score, look for the shiny side. If there is no shiny side, choose the smooth side.
• When making a score, the wheel should be perpendicular to the glass.
• Three to five (3 -- 5) pounds of pressure are needed to score the glass. When the tip is pushed, that is all the pressure that is needed.
• A score should look like a strand of hair -- not grains of sand.
• You are only required to break the surface tension. When the surface tension is broken, then the glass will run.
• Provide the student with a very simple pattern. A practice sheet is attached.
Using the Practice Sheet

• Start the score at the edge of the piece of glass and stop at another edge of the glass.
• Do not stop in the middle of a piece of glass or make a score that turns a corner. Allow students to attempt to make the first score (#1 on the practice sheet). This score divides the glass into 1/3 on one side and 2/3 on the other side. Set the large piece to the side. They have now used the cutter and the running pliers. Running pliers can be used when พ of the tip will fit on the glass.
• Allow student to attempt to make the second score (#2 on the practice sheet). Show them that the running pliers do not fit on the glass. Then demonstrate the use of the breaker/grozers. Tell them to place the breaker/grozers next to the score, but not on it. Then gently apply slight downward pressure as they move the breaker/grozers from one end of the score to the other. Show them how they should be dropping their elbow slightly as they use the breaker/grozers. Tell them that as the run continues, it will break off. They may have to apply the breaker/grozers several times before the glass breaks.
• Explain to them that glass likes to break straight. You can coax it to make gentle curves. Notice that there is about พ" from the top and bottom edge. That adds support to the score.
• Allow students to attempt to make the third score. Tell them to apply light pressure to one end. When they hear a crack, turn and go to the other end of the score and do the same thing. As the two runs meet, the glass will break. Explain to them that the longer the score, the more important it is to apply gentle pressure to one end and then to the other. It may be necessary to go back and forth a few times.
• Allow student to do another score the same way by scoring #4 on the practice sheet.
• Allow students to score #5. Explain to them that this is the hardest break to achieve. What is important to remember is that inside curves are done first and they should put as much glass as possible around it for support and strength. Using the practice sheet, show them that there is about พ" to 1" on each side of the curve at the bottom of the glass. There is about 5" above the score. That is the secret. . .strength on three sides.
• Tell them that they will have to stand to make the score. When they stand, they have the ability to shift their body weight to make the score in one continuous motion. Have them do an imaginary score in front of them to see if they have the room to complete the score. Then make the actual score.
• Using the running pliers, apply gentle pressure to the score. When they hear a crack, go to the other end and do the same thing. Be gentle. Go back and forth and it will come out.
• To show your students another method of making inside curves, direct them to score #6. It is preferable that they have a rectangular shape. Show them how to make small arches and use the breakers to pull it out. Apply the breakers next to the score (not on it) and pull. Pull straight out from in front of you to the side of you. You have to try this. I am successful if I pull an arch that is less than ผ" at the top.
**Some of the pictures, (like the one of the heart pattern) didn't paste into this lesson plan, go to to find it, or e-mail us at**