Chinese Butterfly Kite

Follow the steps to see the stained glass butterfly come to life.  Every step is shown except the soldering, which I forgot to photograph. 

This piece uses copper foil technique.

step1.JPG Step 1:  Think!  I started playing with the elements I was sure I wanted - in this case, the dichroic piece for the head and the glass jewels for the body. I drew a pattern on heavy bristol with pencil.  I selected the glass I thought would be right for the piece.
step2.JPG Step 2:  Set your pattern.  I marked all the cutting lines and identified the pieces by color and number.
step4.JPG Step 3:  Prepare the pattern.  I cut out the pieces using special scissors specifically for copper foil patterns.  One side of the scissors is double-bladed, removing a channel of paper exactly the width needed between the pieces for the foil to fit without distorting the final outcome.
step6.JPG Step 4: Separate the pieces by color, so you'll have an idea what you should cut from each type of glass.

Step 5:  Mark the glass for cutting. Use a permanent marker on the glass to outline the piece you want to cut first. Prepare to cut on the smoothest side of the glass - if what you want is on the other side (art glass often looks different from different sides), turn your pattern piece over before marking. Number the piece according to pattern. The marker will wash off the glass later.

step8.JPG Step 6: Cut the glass. When you cut, cut just inside the line, not on the line, for the best fit.  When cutting pieces to pattern, I only mark and cut one piece at a time.  that way, if something breaks, I won't have to wash the glass and start marking from the beginning. 
Sorry, no photo! Step 7: Prepare the glass for soldering.  Grind the sides of the glass pieces to roughen the edges.  This will remove slivers, smooth bumps, and help the foil stick.  Apply the copper foil to the edges as if you were binding a book.  Burnish each piece so that the foil is so smoothly fixed to the glass that you can barely feel where it sits.

Step 8: Solder your work.  Lay out each piece in the right place - you might be missing something. If so, check first the floor around your work table, then the area where you ground your glass.  9 of ten times, you'll find it. If you don't, you'll have to try to cut a piece that fits into the gap.  Do that after soldering the rest. This photo does not show the actual soldering.  Read about it in your favorite glass instruction book or the web before turning on the soldering iron!    


Step 9: All the rest.  In this case, that meant

  • making antennea from thick wire and soldering the on.
  • making the hanger (see between antennea) and bead loops
  • applying black patina
  • washing, drying and oiling almost-finished piece
  • adding bead tails

All done!

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