Stained glass soldering techniques

Stained glass soldering techniquesThere are two basic stained glass techniques: lead-solder stained glass windows and Tiffany technique. This stained glass soldering technique gives more options in decoration – but you may also use Etching, Fusing or Seamless Technology.

  1. Basic techniques
  2. Seamless Technology
  • Etching.
  • Fusing
  • Decorating by sandblasting.

Basic techniques

There are only two basic stained glass techniques and they are distinguished by the type of connection pieces of glass.

The first type is lead-solder stained glass windows, where pieces of glass joined with lead H-shaped (I-beam) profile. Then, all edges of the glass inserted into the slots and every joints shold be soldered. The earliest example of this technique refers to the 9th century AD.

Stained glass techniquesThe second type, the so-called "Tiffany technique" invented by Louis Comfort Tiffany (and named after him) in the early 20th century. The essence of this stained glass soldering technique is that each piece of glass is pasted over the thin end of copper tape with an adhesive layer, then add up all the pieces on a flat surface and the joints are filled with solder tin. This method doesn’t mean that you will put a lot of efforts into (with lead profile is quite difficult to work), and gives you more options in decoration - the joints can be almost any width, pieces can be very small (in lead technology it is a notable difficulty), etc.

Also stained glass can be made using the concrete joints (like some large stained-glass windows in the Soviet period, especially in the Baltic States) or by soldered glass wires (with this technique one famous artist - John La Farge had a lot of experiments in the early 20th century, but it was incredibly time-consuming and expensive).

Seamless Technology

The works of stained glass can be created without any using of metal broach and without any spikes - the so-called seamless stained-glass windows. Fragments of this product is connected with glue, baked in an oven at high temperature ... Using the fusing technique, you may crack a glass from draft and differential pressure, in case you do not comply with the technology of their production.


Master make a relief on the glasses with the help of sandblasting equipment, then he paints with silicate paints and fired in a furnace at a temperature of over 800 ° C. Then the future stained glass etched with hydrofluoric acid. Etching technique allows to achieve relief and gentle color transitions, but in modern practice, in cause of adverse health effects, artists don’t use it.

Decorating by sandblasting

Stained glass techniquesThe artist with the help of "sandblasting" applied some stylized pattern to the glass 5 mm thick, sometimes in multiple layers. It looks like a matte relief into the glass and resembles frost pictures on the windows. This stained glass window is ideal for interiors with classic or minimalist style, where it is important not to overload the space with the vivid colors. This technique appeared in the beginning of XX century and now almost completely replaced its prototype - etching.


This technology also uses metal partitions. On the drawing, that was painted on transparent glass, place several layers of colored glass pieces, granules and stock materials. Then, the multilayer "pancakes" baked in an oven to a temperature of the glow 850 ° C. That is why it calls fusing (it looks like a "sintering").