From the archive: “Stained Glass Project”
Sunset's March 1963 stained glass projects
The text reads: “The recent development of a clear plastic that sticks glass to glass permanently made possible a revolution in stained glass technique. A good many Western craftsmen have been busy exploiting this new technique: affixing stained glass to a clear background of glass or plastic. They have brought an exciting and useful material out of the esoteric atmosphere of the medieval artisan’s atelier and into the home workshop.
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES
The materials are simple. Color comes from stained glass, which you can buy in sheets or as scraps from glass shops. For crushed glass techniques, you can use colored glass from tumblers, bottles, marbles, and other sources.
In most of the forms shown here, the stained glass is cut to shape and fixed to a base of either clear glass or clear acrylic. Some plastics shops sell clear acrylic panels at about $1.50 per square foot for the 1/4-inch thickness.
To stick stained glass to clear glass, you need a clear epoxy resin, sold at hobby shops and some art supply stores. Clear epoxy costs about $1 an ounce. Two ounces will cover about 1 square foot when poured to a 1/8-inch depth. Mix the two parts of the resin according to instructions, pour it in place, and allow it to cure for several hours.
You can get the same embedded effect somewhat less expensively by pouring a clear casting polyester resin around the glass fixed to sheet glass with epoxy. Pour the polyester while the epoxy is still wet.
Polyester, sold in hobby shops, also has two ingredients to mix, and takes anywhere from half an hour to several hours to cure. Clear casting polyester costs about $12 to $15 per gallon. A gallon will cover about 13 square feet of 1/8-inch thickness. Laminated resin, sometimes called boat resin, is sold in boat shops. Somewhat cheaper at $7 per gallon, it can be used where translucence is desired ― but it has a purplish cast when cured.
You can also embed glass entirely in clear polyester, by pouring the resin into a mold lined with wax or mold release.
Stained glass can be glued with white glue or styrene cement to acrylic. An embedding pour of polyester, which will bond to the acrylic, will give it strength and a smooth surface, although greatest strength comes from the use of epoxy for the bond.
Cutting class is a matter of practice with the glass-cutting tool, which costs about $1. To crush glass, place broken pieces in three thicknesses of paper sacks and hit the outside with a hammer until the glass is reduced to small pieces. You may have to replace the sacks to get a quantity of finely crushed glass.