Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How Charming! Stain Glass Charms (Semi-tutorial)

Okay~I know I said I would get this posted earlier in the day, but I guess it's better late than never... So, I call this a "Semi-Tutorial" because I can only get so detailed when not demonstrating first hand. So, if it's confusing... I'm sorry... A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine asked me to make some stain glass charms for her jewelry. (If you want some custom jewelry you can check her out here.) Now I've done stain glass in the past, but it has been literally over a decade! It was fun giving myself a quick refresher. Now before I begin the step by step process let me add this little disclaimer... ***I am NOT a scrapbooker*** I seem to lack the visual eye and talent for matching different paper and color schemes together. So please don't judge my quirky designs ;).

So, I call this a "Semi-Tutorial" because I can only get so detailed when not demonstrating first hand. So, if it's confusing... I'm sorry...
Also, this is my first tutorial, so please bear with me. That being said, let's begin! :)

The first thing you need is the right tools.

*Safety glasses
*Small clamps or clothes pins (I recommend they be mounted to a large block. You'll see
why later...)
*Wood pencil
*Exact-o knife
*Basic paint brush
*Needle nose pliers
*Soldering iron (You will also want to have a heat proof stand for your iron.)
*Very wet sponge (not pictured)

You will definitely want to place a piece of ply-wood as your work area, so you don't scorch your table top like I did! :( Do as I say...not as I do!

Now, here is a basic list of supplies you need to make a pendant:

*Small pieces (in pairs) of cut glass or beveled glass. The above pieces were purchased from a local stained glass supplier here in AZ. (Sizes 1"x1", 1"x2", 1.5"x1.5", 1"x1.5"). You are free to
cut your own glass, if you so desire, but I find this much easier...(and I've cut A LOT of glass!)

*Copper foil. This is available at Hobby Lobby for less than what the supplier charges. Even better if you have a 40% off coupon!

*Safety flux for copper foil. Also available at Hobby Lobby.

*Lead Free solder. It is VERY important to use LEAD FREE solder if you are using the pedants as jewelry. We don't want to be causing people to get sick or anything like that. Lead Free solder is also available at Hobby Lobby, but I personally do not recommend the brand they sell. It is hard to melt and difficult to work with. I purchased the above solder from the supplier.

*Jump rings and lobster claw clasps.

*And lastly the design, image or photograph cut to the size of glass you are using for your charm. These are the designs I made. Make sure your insert is double-sided since it will be sandwiched between 2 pieces of glass. If you are using an image from the internet, make sure it is not copyrighted!
1st sandwich your image between 2 pieces of glass.

Keeping the glass and image aligned, carefully place on the center of the sticky side of the copper foil. Wrap around the entire edge of the glass. Fold down foil to frame the glass.

Take your pencil and firmly (but gently) rub down the copper foil on edges and face of glass (both sides). This will help adhere the foil to the glass and keep the flux (next step) from leaking into the pendant. (Did I overuse the parentheses? ;)

At this time, you can trim any imperfections with your Exact-o knife.

Once your copper foil is on and secure, brush flux onto the copper foil. Make sure you completely cover the foil, but do not slather! You do not want to flux to leak into your design!

You are ready to solder! You will have to experiment with the solder, because it differs from brand to brand. Play around until you figure out how to make it smooth. Make sure to reapply your flux as often as needed. Also, clean you iron between applications. This is when you will use your wet sponge. (I know this step can be confusing. If I get enough requests, I will post a video of how I solder.)

Solder the front and back first.

After it will look like this. At this time, it will be easier solder and smooth the edges.

***If your solder job isn't "perfect"...No worries!!! Part of the "charm" of these little beauties is how raw and imperfect they are!***

To attach your clasp, apply a small bit of flux to the closed opening of your jump ring. Then solder to your charm.

Clean your pendant with a wet towel. Your can use window cleaner, but do not spray directly on the pendant and do not emerge in water.

You're done!!! Enjoy your pretty charm!

There are so many possibilities with this project, so let your creativity run wild! You may spend a pretty penny to get started, but you will be able to make dozens upon dozens of charms with the basic supplies you purchase.


I hope it all made sense... If your have ANY questions, please ASK! Have some fun with it and let me know how it goes!

I'm linking up here.

Have a lovely day!


  1. LOVEEEEEEEEEEEE those!!!!!!!!!!!! Especially the K one since thats my last initial ;)
    Thanks so much for linking up to gettin' crafty on hump day!!!!!!!! :)

  2. This is so great!!! I just recently purchased everything to do this, but I am still pondering how to go about it. This should help. If you do a video that would be wonderful. Sometimes it is easier to learn by watching it be done. Really like your blog, glad I found it.

  3. These are precious! I don't have the patience to make them, but I bet I can get hubby to make one :)

    Lamb’s Most Recent Post: Come to the Albuquerque Zoo with Me!

  4. ACK! I want to try this so bad! I have none of the supplies. :D Must get them all. Your pendants turned out so darling and a friend was just asking if I knew how to do this and I could make Christmas gifts for everyone and I think I just talked myself into buying everything.

    Thanks so much for the tutorial and for linking up at Craftastical! (I'm blaming you when I come home with all the supplies!)

  5. what an inspiration, very much enjoyed the clear pics. Am putting this on my list of crafts to learn!

  6. That is so cool. I would love necklaces like these. Great job. Also you linked your linking partied instead of your post. So I will put the post link instead. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Great tutorial!! I've always wanted to make one of these! ;)

    ...visiting from Sassy Sites! I'm a new follower! Come by and say HI!

  8. Clarissa!! I am so glad you made a comment today so that I could easily click over. This is a great blog, you are so tech savvy :) Keep up the good work!

  9. very nice tutorial! and they look so pretty! Thanks for linking up to Topsy Turvy Tuesday's!

  10. Thanks so much for this tutorial - and I hope that you will post a video! These are just darling!

  11. Thanks for sharing this tutorial. Will definately go on my things to make list.

    New follower!



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