FAQ Index

Light Table

Construction / Molds

Choosing Glass

Pattern Preparation

Pattern Hints

Scoring / Breaking Glass



Fitting The Glass

Lamp Positioners

Solder / Soldering

Reinforcing Lamps

Special Considerations


Releasing a Shade

Ring and Rim



Special Applications

Tools, Aids etc.

Health & Safety Concerns


Selling Your Artwork

Workshop Renovations

Photographing Lamps


Paul Crist: It’s a good idea to color your paper pattern with colored pencils so, when cutting your glass, you can quickly identify what all the shapes represent. Before coloring, take some time to study the pattern and decide how all the shapes would appear in real life. Use this mental picture of what you are trying to represent and use the qualities of the glass to make that picture come alive in your lamp.

Lynn Perry: Sometimes the easiest way to remove numbers and pattern outlines made by a marking pen on the glass is with a pencil eraser. Be careful, though since some Bullseye glass can be permanently stained by the ink of a marking pen. Sometimes it can be removed by whiting compound.

Mike Barnes: To those of you who use the “windows” method to choose glass, you will be able to cut out the pattern pieces (that you’ve covered with clear contact paper) more smoothly and easily if you put a piece of regular window glass under the pattern and use an X-acto knife to make your cuts.
Bobby Pedersen: To reinforce “windows” so they will stand up better to all the use they get, place Contact paper on the backside of the photo copy of the pattern before cutting and spraying with black paint.
Joan Bengtson: Instead of spraying the back of the “window” with black spray paint, cover the backside of the copy with black Contac® paper before you cut the “window”.
Bill Callow: I use Carol’s “windows and easels” technique to build lamps, but have clear mylar transparencies made of all repeats of the pattern. Clear copies are glued to the backside of the easels so I don’t need to use reference copies.
Lynn Perry: When using clear Contact paper (or any plastic material that comes on a roll), apply the protectant to both sides of the pattern in the same direction. If the protectant is only applied to one side, the pattern will curl rather than lay flat.
Mike Barnes: Peter Grotepass uses a specially cut black background to view and assemble his cut glass pieces on his light table. This special background is quite expensive, so I used a modified approach. I took a sheet of black poster board - whose size completely covered my light table - and cut a hole in it that followed the perimeter of my pattern repeat. I assembled my cut out glass pieces on the clear piece of window glass (easel) and placed the easel on the light table. I then put the cut out poster board over the assembled glass pieces. This gave me a more concentrated view by obscuring the surrounding light source.”
Larry Cartales: I have done something similar...a take off from Carol’s “windows method”...use a full size pattern cut out painted black to cover the white paper!

Doug Hohenstein uses latex mastic instead of a glue stick to hold the mylar pattern pieces to the glass. After applying the patterns to the glass with mastic, let them set 19
up for a few hours. With this adhesive, there is no possibility that the mylar will slip away from the glass when you grind. After grinding the pieces, place them in a bowl of water and soon the patterns will easily slip away from the glass - ready to be used for the next repeat. This product can be purchased from a hardware store that sells multipurpose ceramic floor and wall tile latex mastic.

Eric Scott appeared on his sister’s show (Martha Stewart) and demonstrated preparation and assembly of the Fish pattern for our Quilt. He has developed a method designed to eliminate a great deal of prep work. His method: make a copy of the pattern, reduce it in size by 3 - 5%. Copy the reduced pattern onto Strip-Tac Plus® or Crack & Peel®. (These products are heavy-weight adhesive-back label paper, available in sizes up to 28” x 35”.) Now the pattern pieces can be cut apart without having to eliminate any part of the black line and you end up with pattern pieces that really stick to the glass while you cut and grind.

J. Barton: For those of you wanting to make exact pattern copies and don’t have access to a blueprint shop, here’s my method. I scan the pattern into the computer (I use Presto PageManager) and print it out on transparency film. If you have an acetate copy, reverse it on the scanner so that the numbers are readable when you place
it on the scanner. This places the ink on the bottom of the scanned sheet. If you have a paper pattern, then you’ll have to flip the pattern, save it and then print from the saved copy. For a large pattern, you will have to scan in sections and then tape the sections together to form the whole. I apply the transparency to clear contact paper - this seals the ink lines and makes it waterproof. I also find that the contact paper glues to the glass better than the slick transparency stock. I do one clear copy to lay under the glass easel. For my windows, I put contact paper on both sides and then spray it black. I have all my patterns saved to a zip disk so whenever I have need of a pattern, it’s simple to print one out.
Deb Bowen: To have exact copies of a pattern made, I take the pattern that I want to be duplicated to a blueprint shop. After the copy has been made, I lay the original over the copy to check for accuracy. They have always matched up perfectly in size.
Emily Klaczak: Instead of covering paper patterns with contact paper, I recommend a laminating plastic (Cleer-Adheer) that resists water better than contact paper does. Another option is to try quilter’s template plastic. It is translucent and much thicker than mylar. You can purchase this plastic at quilt shops.

Ross Lynch: I cut a Worden paper pattern and trace it onto 2mm clear acrylic. On a small bandsaw, I cut out the acrylic pattern pieces to the correct size. (Any fuzziness that occurs at the edges can be trimmed with a knife.) This gives me a pattern that will transmit light when placed over glass. If you plan to make several shades of one pattern, this is not a bad idea.

Vic Seested: I do the easels a little differently. I have clear glass cut for the number of repeats, but I have clear copies made of the pattern (lines of course are in black!) and use a 3m clear spray adhesive on each clear pattern and place them under their glass easels. (If you are careful, you won’t need to use Tacky Wax to hold the cut pieces in place.) When all the repeats are done, I lay the easels out on the light box in a circle so that I can get a good idea about how the lamp will look when it’s completed. When I’m satisfied, I remove each piece from its easel and attach it to the mold with Tacky Wax - starting at the top of each repeat and working down to the bottom.
Bill Callow: To cut down on the time it takes to wax glass pieces to the glass easels, melt wax in a container and, by following the reference copy, use a glass eye-dropper to apply a drop of the melted wax to every area of the glass easel that will hold a cut glass piece. This method can also be used directly on the mold to hold the glass in place.
Genevieve Berthet: I wax the whole glass easel with a bar of Tacky Wax rather than using individual balls of wax to hold glass pieces in place.
Ray Goodenough: To keep the wax off my hands while cutting and grinding lamp pieces, I have a little electric potpouri pot plugged in containing Tacky Wax. I use a small brush to apply just a dab of melted wax to the back of each piece to hold it to the easel. (The pot cost $1.00 at a garage sale!)
Bill Callow: Clear transparencies, rather than paper reference copies, can be attached to the glass easels and left in place during trips to the light table to check the lamp’s progress. This eliminates the need of adjusting the easel to the reference copy every time it is moved.
Mitch Garner: My glass easel is really a sandwich with the transparency between two clear glass easels of the same size. This arrangement keeps the transparency in place.

Carol Conti: I usually do lay-outs at night since a dark studio allows only the light table to illuminate the glass. A bonus is that the glue dries overnight so that by the next day I can proceed with cutting and grinding.

Brian Hitchcock: I’m trying to work on lamps in a very small space that I share with many other hobbies and kids, so I needed a way to store my Pony Wisteria project as I worked on it. First of all, I copied the pattern onto acetate sheets. I then cut out around the overall pattern. Since there are three repeats of this pattern, I bought 3 pieces of clear and 3 pieces of black plexiglass - about an inch or so larger all around than the actual pattern. I traced around the pattern onto the paper of the black plexiglass, then used my Rotozip power tool to cut out inside the pattern outline. I then glued this to the clear piece. Now, as I cut and grind, I can place each piece in its “tray” and carry the tray to my light box. I keep the three trays in a drawer of my workbench - now, kids can’t hurt it, it stays clean, and it’s out of the way!