Stained Glass Rose, by Artist Michelle Copeland at

Stained Glass

My Introduction to the World of Glass

In 1991, I had a dream in which Stained Glass was to be my life path.
Soon thereafter, a contractor accidentally broke the glass insert of my new front door, so I signed up for a Stained Glass class and made my own door glass. During one single class, I felt such peace that I knew I was in the right place.
I continued on my own, studying countless books and teaching myself as much as I could. There were so many glass disciplines to absorb that I couldn’t read fast enough! Now the internet makes research much easier.
Thank You to all the educators in print for making my glass journey possible.

– Michelle Copeland

The Stained Glass Process

Create a pattern or ‘cartoon’, then choose the glass colors and textures.

Trace the pattern onto the glass.

Cutting the glass is done using a hand-held glass cutter. For more intricate cuts, I use my glass saw.

Grind the edges to achieve the perfect fit.

Cleaning the glass is an integral part of the stained glass process.

Foil – This is why it’s so important to thoroughly clean the glass, the copper foil needs to stick well to the edges. The glass is held on edge and the foil is wrapped around it, carefully folding over the edges of each piece.

Solder – I solder the foiled pieces together, then flip the window over and solder the back.

Clean – This cleaning removes flux residue left from the soldering process and any remaining pattern marks. This time it’s a bubble bath, rinse and dry, then 0000 steel wool scrub, then glass cleaner. The steel wool prepares the solder lines for the patina staining process.

Patina – Wearing gloves, I apply the stain to the solder lines.

Clean – Patina is messy.

Polish – I apply glass polish to all of my stained glass pieces. Not only does it polish, it seals the solder to better protect against the elements and helps prevent the look of aging.

Be sure to visit the Stained Glass category to see the latest.

I began making glass long before I owned a digital camera. Unfortunately, I don’t have images of all of my work. It’s a bit sad because I made countless pieces, and have done several installations I would love to share.
More Stained Glass photos are on my Portfolio page.
Here is the door window that began my glass journey.