You've got your pattern and you're wondering how to approach cutting the shapes. Is it best to use a template? And if so, do you stick the template on or do you trace around it? What about the English method that you've heard of but don't quite understand?
There's always more than one way to do the same thing in stained glass, and this is no exception. The good news is that you can start with the one that suits you best and as you build up your skills and confidence you can add the others.
Before you know it you'll be ready to cut any shape in any glass.
Carefully drawing around each template shapes on to the glass before cutting just inside the traced line.
Video still: Tracing around template shapes for cutting
Keep your shapes the right size by cutting on the the inside of the black line
I'm assuming that you can already cut glass. If you can't here's my glass cutting tutorial for you.
Video still: Your shape should end up the exact same size as the template
Lots of people find this method the easiest and most versatile but it can add time because you have to cut all the template shapes out first.
It can also lead to some accuracy problems as the templates can move when being traced or the pen is too thick.
Sticking the templates on with glue before using their edge as a guide for cutting the shapes.
Video still: Sticking template on to glass with glue
Keep the cutter wheel as close to the template as you can when cutting
Video still: Glass cut accurately to template with only cutter and grozing pliers!
This method is reliable and consistently produces very accurate results. It can also be used on all types of glass which is a big plus.
The downside is that it is very time-consuming. But then having ill-fitting shapes wastes time and glass!
Placing the glass directly on top of the pattern and looking down through the glass to cut the shapes freehand.
Video still: Cutting freehand on a light box
Make sure you are directly over the glass and can see where you're cutting
Finished shape on pattern. Note that the black line is still visible, showing the shape is a perfect fit
It's a great way of cutting transparent glass quickly as there's no extra steps - no cutting templates, no tracing around them and no sticking them on.
But there are some drawbacks.
It takes a lot of practice to become accurate at this method so results can be a little disappointing when you first give it a go.
It is only good for transparent glass which rules out all the opaques - a lot of glass!
If you do persevere and learn all 3 techniques you will have the best thing for a stained glass artist - options.
Your question won't be 'can I cut that shape' anymore, it will be 'which is the best method to use to cut that shape?'.
And you'll have the confidence to cut them all.
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