My late husband used to make stained glass projects for around the house. Some of the items he made included Christmas ornaments, wall hangings, a jewelry box with inlaid glass, and a stepping stone. A couple of years ago, the glass was broken on the stepping stone due to service people using it to actually step on. The one Ken made was more for looks than usage. I thought I’d see if I could repair it and in doing so, wanted to share the fundamentals of making a stained-glass stepping stone in case you wanted to give that artform a try.
Below on the left are 2 photos of Ken’s stepping stone. Thanks to Chris Robart for resurrecting the stone from two old, low resolution photos. To their right, is that of Val’s stepping stone.
Materials and Tools:
Local stained-glass suppliers for stained glass and the supplies include Michaels in Richmond Hill, Glasstronomy Studios in Markham, and Aurora Stained Glass Works in Aurora.
- pencil or black permanent marker
- copier machine
- glass: red, orange
- dichroic glass pieces
- glass grinder
- glass-breaking pliers
- glass cutter
- sticky shelf paper
- cooking spray
- round stepping-stone plastic mold pan
- quick-setting cement
- bucket for mixing, mixing spoon, water
- utility knife
- glue stick
- glass cleaner
- dichroic glass powder
- Pick a pattern for your stone. Ken made his of a green frog sitting on a yellow lily pad in a blue pond beneath a lighter blue sky. But yours could be as simplistic as you wish. Maybe just squares and rectangles of colour or as many teachers of first-time students suggest, the head of a flower such as a sunflower or daisy. However, cutting so many curves may be difficult if you don’t yet have glass cutting experience.
- Measure your plastic mold to ensure the pattern fits within the mold leaving at least an inch around the outside edge. That edge will act as the “frame” around your picture.
- Make two copies of you pattern, and number each piece within the pattern on both copies.
- Using one copy, cut along the lines of the pattern and lay those pieces of paper on the original, ensuring that you have all the pieces.
- With a glue stick, glue each paper piece onto the selected glass for that piece. Ensure the numbers are facing down on the glass.
- Now you have to cut your glass pieces. Wearing safety glasses, score the lines around each pattern piece with a glass cutter. Break away the excess glass with glass-breaking pliers.
- Smooth the edges of each glass piece with a glass grinder.
- Place these glass pieces on the second copy of the pattern, paper side down, to make sure they fit.
- Cut out a piece of sticky shelf paper to fit the inside of the mold. Remove the backing of the sticky paper and place the adhesive side on the uncut pattern on which you placed your cut pieces. Rub out all the bubbles under the paper.
- Spray cooking spray into the bottom and sides of the mold.
- Turn the entire glass piece over so that the shelf paper will be on the bottom, and the numbered pattern pieces that are glued to the glass pieces will be on top of that. Place that into the mold. Sprinkle dichroic glass powder between your glass pieces that are close to each other. Just to be sure of the order of the items in the bottom of the mold going up: sticky shelf paper, our coloured cut glass pieces with the glass powder between the pieces (not on the outside frame area).
- Mix the quick-setting concrete according to the manufacturer's directions, about six parts cement to three parts water. The consistency should be that of peanut butter. Work quickly because the concrete sets up fast.
- Pour the concrete over your glass pattern that is in the mold to about a ½-inch from the top of the mold. Tap the edges to force out any air bubbles. Let the concrete set up for 45 minutes to an hour.
- Turn the mold over to release the stepping stone. Peel away the shelf paper which should now be on the very top. Clean away any concrete that may have stuck to the glass before it sets permanently.
- Shine the stained glass on the stepping stone with a rag and glass cleaner.
If you’ve worked with stained glass, these directions should be enough information for you. But if you are newer to stained glass, then I’d at least recommend the very good YouTube series on doing this. It’s made up of 6 videos each about 2-3 minutes long as it provides good step by step instructions. The series is called. “How to create stained glass stepping stones” by ExpertVillage Leaf Group. If you’ve never cut glass before, you should ask your local suppliers if they offer a course on this.
Good luck! But keep some bandages close by; you are working with glass! Our friend Valery also made a stepping stone and here is a picture of hers. I’ve also included another item Ken had made during this time of stain glass work.
One last note. As I mentioned, Ken’s was more decorative and the glass was eventually all broken by sales people walking across on lawn and onto it to get across my flower garden to the front door. If you don’t want yours to break, perhaps consider making your “picture” out of small mosaic tile, flat stones, or decorative buttons.
Reference: “How to create stained glass stepping stones” by ExpertVillage Leaf Group in six parts:
- Starting to make a Stained Glass stepping stone. LINK
- How to Mark the Pattern for Stained Glass. LINK
- How to Score (Cut) Stained Glass. LINK
- How to Pour Grout for Stained Glass Stepping Stones. LINK
- How to Remove Stained Glass Stepping Stones from the Mold. LINK
- How to add water sealant to your stained glass stepping stone. LINK