Leaded glass windows represent the most traditional method of stained glass art, and whether a leaded glass window is lit by ambient or direct light, the beautiful hues shining through the glass can fill a room with warmth, colour and texture. Creating a leaded glass window may seem overwhelming but it just takes the right tools, some know-how and a lot of patience.
Place glass under the straight edge on your cutting grid and score cuts on each with a glass cutter. Pull the glass away and break off the scored strip with your running pliers and groze away sharp points. Grind the glass edges until they’re smooth. Peel off the paper pattern and wash in warm, soapy water. Dry and mark the piece number on the glass.
Place an uncut copy of your pattern on your lead board. The angled corner of the board should be on your lower left-hand side. Place each piece of glass on the pattern, leaving a 1/16 inch gap between each cut for the lead came. Grind if necessary to make adjustments. Remove the glass from the pattern and place the lower left corner piece. Position a small piece of H-shaped came along the right side, and then put a longer piece of H came across the top of the glass. Scratch a line where the inside edge of the short came meets the long came to form a right angle.
Cut the came on the scratch mark with lead nippers. Make sure the channel is facing up before you make the cut. Repeat until you have came pieces cut to fit in between all the pieces along the left and right sides of the window.
Cut a piece of U-came to fit the length of the left and bottom edges of your pattern. Make sure you extend your cut beyond the cut lines on the upper left and lower right corners. Align the glass pieces to form the left side of your project, positioning each piece inside the U-came on the edge. Insert the piece of H-came you’ve cut to go between each piece and tap in gently with the rubber end of your mallet.
Insert a block on the edge of the glass that isn’t in the came channel and gently tap a horseshoe nail in the centre of the block using the yellow plastic end of your mallet. Remove the blocks and horseshoe nails as you tap the neighbouring pattern pieces into place. Repeat the process, making sure each edge of each piece of glass fits snugly into an H-came channel. Work from the lower left corner up, and then the lower right corner up.
Place U-came along the top and right sides, securing with horseshoe nails and cutting the came so the bottom edge butts up against the top edge. Apply flux with your flux brush to all spots where two or more pieces of came meet. Apply solder to each joint by using a quick touch of the tip to allow the solder to flow evenly into the joint. Remove the blocks and horseshoe nails once you’ve soldered all joints.