Pictures compliments of walkons.com
Making Stained Glass Stepping or Mosaic Stones is actually very easy and can be done in less time that it takes to make a standard stained glass panel. No soldering required. I have outlined the basic steps you will need to take to create these beautiful works of art below. You will be amazed how easy it really is. If you wish to bypass some of the glass cutting or are intimidated by it simply purchase or cut your own mosaic glass squares and then skip straight to step three. In other words, instead of following a pattern and cutting glass you will layout the squares on the contact paper and use that as your design.
Making a Stained Glass Stepping Stone
1. Protective goggles
2. A good quality stained glass cutter & breaking pliers
4. A pattern from a stained glass book or your original design.
5. Carbon paper
6. A chisel tip magic marker, app. 3/16 of an inch thick
7. A work board
8. Clear contact paper
9. A stepping stone mold (obtained at your local stained glass shop)
10. Petroleum jelly or Pam or WD-40 11. Cement (see the back of this guide for our cement formula)
Step 1 - The first step will be choosing a pattern. It should be one that will fit into the confines of a stepping stone. After you've picked your pattern, enlarge or reduce the pattern to the size that you want your stepping stone to be and make a copy using either a copier or carbon paper. Trace over each of the lines with a felt marker. The width of the line will become your grout line. Cut your pattern pieces out and number them. At this point you will want to choose the color glass you want for your design.
Step 2 - Cutting your glass pieces. Lay your glass on your work surface front side up. The front is usually the smoothest or shiniest side. Place your pattern piece on the glass. If you are using patterned or textured glass make sure you mark which direction the pattern should go. Holding the pattern in place, trace around it with a felt-tip pen. Lift the pattern off the piece of glass and mark the corresponding piece number in the center of your glass piece so you will have an easy reference for later. Note: Always cut glass on the smooth side.
Scoring your glass: Stand in a comfortable position and hold the cutter like you would a pen remembering to keep it perpendicular to the glass. Starting at the edge of the glass closest to you, place your cutter head on the glass approximately 1/8" away from the edge. Apply light, even pressure to the cutter. Guide the head across the surface of the glass on the inside edge of your traced line and off to the other side of the glass. One even score is all you need. There is no need to rescore over your line or move your cutter back and forth while scoring. This can result in a bad breaking score and can also chip the wheel of your glass cutter.
When cutting out glass pieces it is best to start with your most difficult cut first and finish with the easiest cuts. Inside curves are the hardest to score and break, outside curves would rank second with straight lines being the easiest. The nature of glass is that a score will travel in a straight line to the nearest edge so it is best to score and break tricky curves a little at a time instead of all at once. Once you have practiced and understand the limitations of the glass, you will be able to score and break more extreme curves.
Look at your score line. If there are small flakes of glass popping up from the score line then you are applying too much pressure on the cutter. Try applying a little less pressure to your next score line. If you are not able to see where your score line should be then you are not applying enough pressure. A white score line is called a dry score in which case you would add oil to your cutter.
After scoring your glass, you will need to break it. First, make sure you are wearing safety goggles before attempting to break glass. There are two basic ways to break glass. You may use your running pliers, or breaker/grozer pliers. Always remember to break each score line right away before making the next score. Scoring over other score lines will quickly wear our your cutting wheel.
Extreme inside curves are impossible to break out with just one score. Score along the pattern line, but don't break this score yet. To relieve the inner tension of the glass make a shallow score near the edge of the glass and parallel to the pattern line. Break it out using breaker/grozer pliers. Continue this process until you have worked your way to your first score. If you have a bad break, retrace the pattern on a new piece of glass and try again.
To break glass with running pliers hold the glass with score side up. Place the pliers at the beginning of the score and match up the line on the top of the pliers with the score. Tighten the screw until it touches the lower jaws of the pliers, then loosen the screw a 1/4 turn. Gently squeeze the running pliers to run the score. If the score only runs part of the way, you can turn the glass around and repeat the process from the other end of the score line.
Breaking glass with breaker/grozers: Hold your glass in the hand that won't be holding the pliers. (If you are right handed, hold the glass in your left hand or vice versa.) Form a fist with your thumb on the top of the glass and your fist under it. Your knuckles should be adjacent to the score line. Place the breaker/grozers (with the flat jaw on top) directly across from your knuckles and parallel to the score line. Hold the glass firmly and apply even pressure while snapping up and away. Again, always remember to wear safety goggles when breaking glass.
If your glass breaks unevenly, clean up the edges with breaker/grozer pliers. With the flat jaw of the pliers facing up, grasp small pieces and snip them off. If the pieces are too small, hold the pliers at a 90 degree angle to the edge of the glass and drag the serrated jaw of the pliers across the edge. After you have cleaned up your pieces as best you can using the breaker/grozer pliers you will use your grinder to smooth the edges out to your satisfaction. Since you are using the pieces for a stepping stone and not for a standard stained glass piece you don’t have to be quite as exact.
(NOTE- For a simpler but still beautiful stone try cutting or buying some glass mosaic squares and creating a design with them. This will let you create nice stones while allowing you time to perfect your glass cutting skills.)
Step 3 - After all of the pieces are cut, take the second copy of your pattern and trace the pattern on the reverse side so that you have a mirror image of the pattern to work with. Then place the reverse side up on your work board. (If you don’t do this your pattern will come out backwards which may or may not make a difference.) Cut out a piece of contact paper to match your stepping stone mold. Now cover the pattern with the clear contact paper, sticky side up. Take your glass pieces and place them in the appropriate places.
Step 4 - Take the pan and pre-grease the edges with a little petroleum jelly, PAM or WD-40.
Next, lift the whole pattern into the pan (the contact paper will keep the design intact). After this is done, it's time to mix your cement. You can use quickcrete from Lowes or Home Depot or you can make your own cement from scratch. If you want colored cement just use white portland cement, sand and a cement colorant. Add some acrylic cement fortifier for extra strength. Everything is available from Lowes or Home Depot.
Right before you pour you cement I would recommend you press each piece of glass firmly onto the contact paper at the bottom of the mold. Once you have done this slowly pour your cement mix on top of your design and spread it into all of the corners. Make sure the cement sinks in by tapping form several times. Be careful not to shake or move the form excessively. If you do, you run the risk of moving the glass or causing cement to go under the glass and bury it.
Step 5 - After your cement is set and hard, remove the stone from the pan by simply turning the mold upside down and pulling back on the sides until the stone falls out. Make sure to let it land on a soft folded towel. Once it is out your can pull off all of the contact paper to reveal your design. Give it a day to set unless you used an accelerator. Use a scrub sponge to clean it off, and you have a beautiful stained glass stepping stone! Allow your stepping stone to cure by keeping it in a cool location like your basement for about three days. You can then take it outside (but out of the rain) to cure for another week or so. After that, apply any cement sealant on top to keep the water out. Now you will have a stepping stone that will last a lifetime.
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