Art Elements Theme Challenge – November – Stars

When I saw the topic for November’s Art Elements theme challenge I knew exactly what I wanted to do. However things kind of went downhill all the way, I thought maybe I shouldn’t tell you about it but as I enter these challenges to basically challenge myself and either expand my range of work, make something for me, or learn a new technique I am posting my journey, to evaluate how I could do better next time.

It’s nearly Christmas so I thought a hanging star decoration would be lovely.

18 years ago my friend helped me make a couple of stained glass windows and lurking in the loft there was a box that I discovered the other day containing glass and copper foil and a soldering iron. The windows were made with lead came, I’ve never tried copper foil technique before so I thought I’d give it a go.

The copper foil looked a bit dirty and tarnished but it was a full roll so I would see how it worked (mistake 1)

Stained glass starI had some gorgeous cobalt blue glass, I love this colour glass.

Stained glass star

It cut really nicely so I decided even though I have a glass grinder not to grind the edges. I really really hate using the grinder. ( Mistake 2)

Stained glass starWhen I tried it all together I realised my triangles were a bit too wide but I thought the way they overlapped would make the star shape stronger and it would look ok, (wrong)

I cleaned the glass and stuck on the foil

Stained glass starThen I rubbed it down onto the glass with a lolly stick as I didn’t have a proper tool              ( maybe another mistake)

I didn’t have any flux or solder so while I waited for it to arrive I painted a little snow scene on the glass, I had several white glass enamels to choose from.
Stained glass starAfter painting the glass I fired it to 580C.

Stained glass starAt this point I was really pleased with how it was looking.
Stained glass starThe solder arrived and after watching loads of Youtube videos I couldn’t wait to get started. This was when things started going horribly wrong.

Firstly the soldering iron didn’t want to melt the solder, then when it did it went very very lumpy, but I can go over and smooth it off, right.

Oh I forgot to mention the solder stuck to the star and in trying to melt it off I think I must have pulled some of the foil away from the glass, or maybe being old it wasn’t sticky enough.

I gave up, cleaned the soldering iron with emery paper and left it for another day.

The soldering worked much better, maybe too well as it was flowing all over the place, and where there were tiny gaps where it flowed through to the other side. Next time I will grind the glass and make sure the foil goes on well enough to give a perfect fit.

I did some smoothing off with the iron once everything was soldered, there were lots of solder drips and I could see where the foil was coming away so I decided enough was enough and so I soldered a wire on the back to hang it up, that worked very well so I felt a little pleased with myself.

UntitledSo now I know how not to do it I would like to have another go but I don’t have much time this month so it will have to wait but I will come back to this technique and have another go . I do love the colour, and my little painting is just how I wanted so it’s going to be my studio decoration this year.

Here’s a list of all the Art Elements blog hop participants, enjoy!

36 thoughts on “Art Elements Theme Challenge – November – Stars

  1. Cat

    It’s so beautiful and I love the idea of the painting in the center of the star, even more because that little scene is so lovely!
    Thank you for sharing the process, I think you did great, flaws or not.

  2. Laney

    Oh wow that blue glass is gorgeous! I love the snowy scene and hope you do more 😀 thank you for taking part in the challenge 😀

  3. Rozantia Petkova

    First of all, it’s a very funny post, especially as I had the same issues with my first soldering experiment 🙂 The blue color is fantastic and the snow-white scene is the best! I’m sure the beauty of this decoration will compensate for the (invisible) flaws you claim it has!

  4. Tammy Adams

    Thank you for confirming that soldering is not as easy as everyone keeps telling me. 🙂 I love the results you got, especially the way you painted the winter scene in the center. The ornament is lovely and perfectly imperfect.

  5. Chatelainecreations

    Oh Jill it’s beautiful I love your painted snow scene…. As for copper foiling yes I always found it tricky to make the solder not disappear to the other side, the glass needs to butt together so well for that not to happen and with practice I’m sure you will master it…. As for the foil the sticky on the back will deteriorate in time so rubbing it down with a burring tool is key…. I always enjoyed leading best….
    I think you did a great job for your first go xx

  6. jewelsofsayuri

    I love the image you painted in the middle. I did not know that its possible to paint on glass with enamel paints and fire it. Thanks for sharing your ideas with us. Its okay if the solder didnt not work out the way you wanted it to be. I have soldered only a few times and had only a 40% positive result so for. Why don’t you try a similar idea with a smaller star? or use epoxy resin instead of soldering?

  7. karing

    You may think it is not perfect, but I think it is gorgeous, your painted scene is beautiful and I wish any of my first or second attempts at any technique could look like your beautiful star!
    Thank you for sharing your story!

  8. cathysmendola

    You may think it is slightly flawed but I think it’s gorgeous! I just love the painting on the glass-it’s so beautiful & perfect. I have had issues with copper foil pulling away while soldering. Such a pain. I think getting it pressed firmly onto the glass is the key. Using a bone folder works best, but even then it can pull away if the glass isn’t clean enough. And I had my soldering iron! I can never get the temp right. Either too hot or not hot enough. I gave up using that and now only use a torch when I have to solder. Which means I don’t solder on copper foil anymore!

  9. Jennifer Cameron

    Soldering is so fiddly sometimes! And the fact you didn’t crack the glass while trying to get the solder to cooperate is impressive! I used to do a lot of copper foil SG, but haven’t done it in more than 12 years and probably couldn’t solder my way out of a wet paper bag at this point. You did fabulous and that painted scene is gorgeous! I think it’s a wonderful ornament.

    1. eganj1 Post author

      Thank you Jennifer. I have come to realise I need a thermostatically controlled soldering iron, mine is just on or off

  10. kathy Lindemer

    I love the painted scene and the blue glass is beautiful. I think your ornament was worth all of the work and struggle. It is just lovely! Well done!

  11. niky sayers

    Jill, I am so glad that you did decide to share this with us all as I LOVE it! The colour is beautiful but what I love more is your painting! I have always wanted to try stained glass making and your is really stunning!

  12. eganj1 Post author

    Thank you Nicky, I did enjoy the glass painting part, it’s the same as china painting really but different firing temperatures. It would be fun to do more

  13. Susan Kennedy

    I really enjoyed seeing the process and your painted winter scene is amazing! It’s always good to practice and learn what not to do! I still think it’s wonderful!

  14. Hope Smitherman

    You were so ambitious, and it all came together in the end. I think it was a great idea, but hate that you had so much trouble getting there.

  15. alysen55

    First, I LOVE your snowy scene on the blue glass, just pops and is beautiful. Thx for sharing your woes with the soldering iron, tho your project came out nicely, for a first go. I got one (100 watt) for glass pendants and tried once, it just seemed too hot, solder probs, etc. Like you, I figured I’d get back to it someday (when I have no other projects outstanding?!)

  16. jdaviesreazor

    I often feel the same – that I use these challenges as a justification to “play” or depart from the norm. When you were identifying your mistakes I feared for the most. Your star is a success and looks lovely! I have never worked in glass. It looks daunting!

  17. Anita

    I’m a bit scared of soldering 🙂 but I think your ornament is just gorgeous for a first attempt! I especially love the central scenery (beautiful!) and the color of the glass. I’m sure your learnings from these mistakes will make your next attempt even more lovely.

  18. marshanealstudio

    This project is SO awesome! I love that you stuck through this and learned so much. I am a bit of a baby when it comes to cutting glass, so I really appreciate your showing us this whole process 🙂

  19. Sarajo Wentling

    Such a cool project! I love the painted scene you did in the middle and am amazed at how that turned out. I hope you’ll give it another go!


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