How to Make a Stained Glass Butterfly

Updated on February 1, 2018
Just Ask Susan profile image

Susan has been creating stained glass pieces for over twenty years now, and it is a hobby she truly enjoys.

Blue Stained Glass Butterfly
Blue Stained Glass Butterfly | Source

How to Make a Stained Glass Butterfly

If you're new to the world of stained glass or wonder how a stained glass suncatcher is made, read below to learn how to easily make one yourself!

What You'll Need

  • One or two pieces of glass, depending on the colors you want for the butterfly
  • Copper foil
  • Flux
  • Lead
  • Neutralizer orKwik-Clean Flux and Patina cleaner
  • Patina
  • Steel Wool
  • Wire
  • Fishing wire
  • Glass cutter
  • Breaker/Grozer Pliers
  • Running pliers
  • Glass grinder
  • Soldering iron
  • Colored Sharpie or marker
  • Popsicle stick or tongue depressor
  • Wire cutters
  • Small paintbrush

Feel free to use this pattern if you'd like.
Feel free to use this pattern if you'd like. | Source
Placing pattern pieces onto glass
Placing pattern pieces onto glass | Source

1. Start With the Pattern

You will want to have two copies of your pattern.

  • The first pattern is for cutting out each pattern piece. You will be laying these pieces on the glass to trace around.
  • The second pattern is for laying on your cut pieces of glass to make sure that they're the correct size. This will be helpful when you use the glass grinder.

Scoring the glass
Scoring the glass | Source

2. Score the Glass

The video below shows you the proper way to score glass. The instructor didn't trace the pattern onto the glass but instead taped the pattern pieces onto the glass.

You will want to score the glass on the outer edges of your traced marker lines. This will make it easier when you take your piece to grind it. You will be able to see exactly how much glass needs to be ground off.

3. Trace the Pattern

Place all four pattern pieces onto the glass in the direction you'd like the butterfly to appear. With a marker trace around each piece. You will want to leave enough room around each piece so that you can easily cut the glass.

  • Some people find it helpful to tape the pattern pieces to the glass, but this is not necessary so long as you can hold the piece of paper still while tracing.
  • When working on larger patterns with many different pieces, it is helpful to either number or name them.

Next, score and break apart each piece to make it easier to cut each individual shape. With your cutter, score up the center of the large piece of glass, then across the center again. Do this once more so that you end up with four pieces ready to cut out the shapes.

  • To break the pieces, you will need to use your running pliers.

4. Grind the Glass

If the cut glass is exactly the shape of the pattern piece and has smooth edges, there's no reason to grind it down.

  • When using a grinder, you should always wear safety glasses or have a grinder shield attached to the grinder. Glass dust flies around, and you always want to protect your eyes.

Hold the piece of glass with your thumbs and forefingers tightly enough so that the piece does not fly when touched to the grinder wheel. Follow along with the maker lines. You may have to check the piece several times to get it exactly the shape that you want.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Copper Foiling
Copper Foiling
Copper Foiling | Source
Source
Source

5. Add Copper Foil

Before you start to foil, it is important that you wash the glass pieces in hot soapy water to make sure that they are clean and free of dust. This will make the foil stick easier.

Copper foil has a shiny side and a sticky side. From the roll, peel back about 1/2" an inch of the paper. Apply evenly starting in the center of one side of the glass going around the entire edge of the piece until it meets up with the starting point.

Tear the copper foil. With a tongue depressor or Popsicle stick press the copper foil down onto the glass making it as smooth and as even as possible.

Soldering all four pieces of the glass together to make the butterfly.
Soldering all four pieces of the glass together to make the butterfly. | Source

6. Solder the Pieces

Because we are making a butterfly and want it to look as if it is flying and not a flat piece, we need to prop it up at a bit of an angle while soldering it. This can be done with scrap pieces of glass or piled up Popsicle sticks. Plug in your soldering iron making sure that it is on its stand.

  • To start, you will need to use a small paintbrush and apply flux to the copper foil. The flux is what adheres the lead to the copper foil.
  • Once your iron is hot, hold the iron against the lead and apply the lead to the copper foil, to all seams. The front and back of the butterfly will need to be soldered. This can be a bit tricky and seem difficult at first, but the more pieces you solder the more proficient you will become.
  • When all of your pieces are soldered together, apply flux to all the copper foil that is left on the edges of the butterfly. With a small touch of lead, (simply touch the iron to the lead) paint the lead with the iron onto the copper foil so that all the copper foil is covered in lead.

7. Wire the Antennas

Measure out a piece of wire double the length you want the antennas. Then, snip it and fold it in half. Rub the wire with steel wool, and then apply flux to it. On the back of the butterfly, lay the wire across the long seam and apply lead with the soldering iron.

8. Apply Patina and Do a Final Clean

If you want the solder to be black, you now need to apply patina to the solder. To do this, wear gloves because the patina will stain your skin. Apply a small amount of patina to a sponge and rub it over the solder. If wanting to leave the lead a silver color, all you will need to do is spray the butterfly and antennas with Kwick-Clean and rub it with a clean sponge. Rinse it with lukewarm water and dry. If you've applied patina, you will still need to do the Kwick-Clean step.

Once your piece is complete, tie fishing wire around the antennas. This will allow you to hang the butterfly. You're done!

Questions & Answers

    © 2012 Susan Zutautas

    If you have any questions please ask below.

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      • Just Ask Susan profile image
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        Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Thanks so much erorantes!

      • erorantes profile image

        Ana Maria Orantes 4 years ago from Miami Florida

        Miss Susan, thank you for sharing your art work. It is beautiful. I admire your work and creativity. You are wonderful. I like your hub.

      • Just Ask Susan profile image
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        Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Thanks so much pstraubie!

      • pstraubie48 profile image

        Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

        These are stunning...I am not so good with this kind of project but my daughter is so I will pass it on to her.

        Hopefully she will make me a couple to hang with my plants on my porch. Great directions

        Angels are on the way to you ps

      • Just Ask Susan profile image
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        Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Thank you Shar-On

      • Shar-0n17 profile image

        Sharon 4 years ago from Perth

        Great details and pictures that should help people to make these butterflies. My dad does this and he used to love it, although they go traveling more now .

      • Just Ask Susan profile image
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        Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Millionaire Tips, Thank you so much! I only wish I had more time to spend on the hobbies I enjoy.

      • Millionaire Tips profile image

        Shasta Matova 4 years ago from USA

        That is a really pretty stained glass butterfly. The step by step instructions look great!

      • Just Ask Susan profile image
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        Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Thanks so much Crafty!

      • CraftytotheCore profile image

        CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

        Wow, this is truly ambitious and beautiful! The instructions are so detailed and it's an incredible piece of art.

      • Just Ask Susan profile image
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        Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Thanks Mary!

      • Just Ask Susan profile image
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        Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Billie, Thanks so much!

      • Just Ask Susan profile image
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        Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Thanks so much Bobbi!

      • mary615 profile image

        Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

        I have done a lot of crafts, but never real stain glass. I did some "faux stain glass", but it just isn't the same.

        This Hub should get a HOTD, I think!!! It is excellent. Your photos of all the steps are just wonderful.

        Voted UP and shared.

      • Billie Kelpin profile image

        Billie Kelpin 4 years ago from Newport Beach

        love it! pinned and "facebooked" it ! I took a class once and have a klunky Christmas wreath made with that old dull lead stuff, but I cherish it.

      • PurvisBobbi44 profile image

        PurvisBobbi44 4 years ago from Florida

        Hi,

        Your instructions are great and I might try it when my life slows down a little. You are multi-talented and you write some of the most interesting hubs that I share--- as I will share this one. Great Hub.

        Bobbi Purvis

      • Just Ask Susan profile image
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        Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        PS, Thanks so much!

      • pstraubie48 profile image

        Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

        Gorgeous. It seems to be quite a process and it appears you have it down to a science. You have given so much detail that it seems you have not left out anything. That to me is so important when embarking on a new experience such as this.

        Thanks for sharing. Voted up, shared, and pinned. Angels are on the way to you ps

      • Just Ask Susan profile image
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        Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Thanks so much Vinaya.

      • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

        Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

        I was always amazed when I saw painted glass, and wondered how it was done. You have published an amazing tutorial. Though this is not my cup of tea, I believe lots of people will find this very useful.

      • Just Ask Susan profile image
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        Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        TT, You try it ... it's fun but is time consuming. I only wish I had about 48 hours in a day to do all the things I'd like to do :)

      • TToombs08 profile image

        Terrye Toombs 5 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

        I have always loved the look of stained glass and have wanted to take a class. You make it look SO easy. Loved this!

      • Just Ask Susan profile image
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        Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Thanks Nell.

      • Nell Rose profile image

        Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

        This was so clever, and beautiful too! I have to make one now, fantastic!

      • Just Ask Susan profile image
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        Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Janis, At first I thought I'd never get the hang of it but as time went on I improved :)

      • Janis Goad profile image

        Janis Goad 5 years ago

        You make it look so easy, Susan!

      • Just Ask Susan profile image
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        Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Natashalh, I'm sure you'd love making stained glass pieces. Thanks so much for the pin.

      • Just Ask Susan profile image
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        Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        CF, Thanks for stopping by and for your comments.

      • Just Ask Susan profile image
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        Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        GoodLady, I bet that patchwork panel is going to be beautiful. Glad you liked the hub and thanks.

      • Just Ask Susan profile image
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        Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Judi, Thanks.

      • Natashalh profile image

        Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

        This is so beautiful! I remember a middle school art project with glass cutting and I loved it. I really want to get the supplies I need to do this project! Pinning =)

      • CyclingFitness profile image

        Liam Hallam 5 years ago from Nottingham UK

        These look a great treat for a rainy winters afternoon with the neices and nephews. It will definitely come in handy at some point this winter. CF

      • GoodLady profile image

        Penelope Hart 5 years ago from Rome, Italy

        Would love to make a butterfly for my new granddaughter instead of a patchwork panel (which i've been roped into doing). I'll mention it to the family. Your butterfly is just lovely and thanks so much for the really easy to follow instructions. It makes such a meaningful gift. Pinning and voting here.

      • Judi Bee profile image

        Judith Hancock 5 years ago from UK

        I read one of your stained glass hubs yesterday too - they're really useful and give great tips.

      • Just Ask Susan profile image
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        Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        bridalletter, Flux is a chemical compound that is used to bond metals by removing the oxide residue simultaneously with the soldering process.

      • Just Ask Susan profile image
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        Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Rusticliving, It's a great hobby and if you do end up trying it I'm sure you'll love it.

      • bridalletter profile image

        Brenda Kyle 5 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

        Really cool craft. Exact design I would do, a butterfly. What is flux?

      • Rusticliving profile image

        Elizabeth Rayen 5 years ago from California

        I love stained glass and have always wanted to learn. I'm so happy that you laid it out in step by step instructions. I am going to give it a try! Thumbs up and shared! Nicely done Susan!

      • Just Ask Susan profile image
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        Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Ruchira, I was nervous the first piece of glass I cut. From there on it was easy.

        Thank you so much and glad you liked the hub.

      • Ruchira profile image

        Ruchira 6 years ago from United States

        wow..susan. I am seeing this crafty side of yours for the first time...lol

        i loved the stain glass butterfly but am scared to cut glass although your hub is well explained. Many votes to you on this beautiful craft and sharing it across

      • Just Ask Susan profile image
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        Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Sue, Thank you. There are bevel kits that you can make where the pieces are already cut out for you. I have a snowman in another hub that I made that you may like to try.

      • profile image

        Sueswan 6 years ago

        Hi Susan

        Your stained glass Butterflies are beautiful. I admire your talent.

        Unfortunately, I am one of those people who can't draw a straight line with a ruler never mind using a tool such as a glass grinder.

        Voted up and awesome.

        Enjoy your weekend. :)

      • Just Ask Susan profile image
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        Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        PenHitsTheFan, Thank you.

      • PenHitsTheFan profile image

        Amy L. Tarr 6 years ago from Home

        I love stained glass. That is beautiful.

      • Just Ask Susan profile image
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        Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Hyphenbird, Thank you, glad you liked the hub.

      • Just Ask Susan profile image
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        Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Lesley, I am sure you will enjoy this hobby, and glad that I've inspired you to do this. Thanks so much.

      • Hyphenbird profile image

        Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

        These are lovely and your instructions so perfect. I will show this to a friend of mine who likes to make things. Thanks!

      • Movie Master profile image

        Movie Master 6 years ago from United Kingdom

        Hi Susan, your instructions are excellent, I love stained glass and you have inspired me to have a go!

        Thank you and voting up.

      • Just Ask Susan profile image
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        Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Sue, I use a 60/40 lead solder. What kind do you use?

      • Just Ask Susan profile image
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        Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        leann

        Ruby

        Frank

        Thanks everyone.

      • profile image

        Sue 6 years ago

        How come you use lead instead of solder? I never heard of soldering with lead and I've been doing stained glass for 35 years.

      • Just Ask Susan profile image
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        Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Thank you Pamela. I've thought of selling some of my lamps and window transoms but I cannot seem to part with them.

      • Just Ask Susan profile image
        Author

        Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Thanks Jimmy!

        RH, It can be an expensive hobby. If you can buy all the tools from someone that is maybe giving up stained glass it can be a bit cheaper. Ebay seems to have some pretty good deals. If you purchase Be sure it is not a household soldering iron but one that is for stained glass. You'll want an iron that will reach 700 degrees, and 80 to 100 watts.

      • Just Ask Susan profile image
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        Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        molometer, Thank you. The grinder comes in really handy especially when I don't cut the glass to exact size.

      • Frank Atanacio profile image

        Frank Atanacio 6 years ago from Shelton

        Susan you are all that! thanks so much for sharing..

      • Just Ask Susan profile image
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        Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        drbj, Thank you, and if you ever have any questions while making a stained glass piece please let know.

      • Just Ask Susan profile image
        Author

        Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Hi Kelley, After soldering you need to clean the flux off of the lead. Same goes with the Patina, which is a chemical you rub onto the soldered areas to get either a black or copper color. All of the products mentioned can be bought at amazon, ebay or at your local stained glass store.

      • Just Ask Susan profile image
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        Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Thanks Brian :)

      • always exploring profile image

        Ruby Jean Richert 6 years ago from Southern Illinois

        I absolutely love stained glass. I have several pieces. I never thought of making anything myself. I think I would love to try this..Thank you for the share. Cheers..

      • profile image

        leann2800 6 years ago

        These are beautiful, they would look wonderful on my patio!

      • Pamela99 profile image

        Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

        Your instructions for your glass project were very good. I have made and sold stained glass for many years. I have always loved its beautiful and all the beautiful color and textures to choose from. Very useful hub.

      • RealHousewife profile image

        Kelly Umphenour 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

        Beautiful! I'd really love to try this. Is it really expensive to buy everything you need to start? Like a soldering gun? I've always wanted to try this...it's so pretty! I'd love to make a whole window:)

      • jimmythejock profile image

        James Paterson 6 years ago from Scotland

        Beautiful and well made Susan you are a lady of many talents, thanks for sharing.....jimmy

      • Just Ask Susan profile image
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        Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Sogno, That's great, I'm glad to hear it and thank you.

      • Just Ask Susan profile image
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        Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Tammy, Thank you. I'm sure you'd enjoy doing stained glass from all the craft hubs of yours I've read.

      • Just Ask Susan profile image
        Author

        Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Arren, Thank you.

        Chrissie, I started out taking classes at a local stained glass store and would recommend anyone to do the same.

        Vincent, You're making me blush :) Thanks so much!

      • Just Ask Susan profile image
        Author

        Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        missolive, Thank you.

      • molometer profile image

        molometer 6 years ago from United Kingdom

        Very nice craftwork. Glass is quite tricky to work with. I liked the grinder wheel. That would be really useful.

        Nice hub Susan.

      • Just Ask Susan profile image
        Author

        Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Thanks Flashmakeit.

      • drbj profile image

        drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

        Your instructions, Susan, are very clear-cut and easy to understand, so one day I may take the plunge and try to fabricate a stained glass butterfly myself.

      • profile image

        kelleyward 6 years ago

        Great hub Just Ask Susan! What is Patina cleaner? I've never heard of it and just wondering where I could buy this. Voted up, useful, interesting and shared! Take care, Kelley

      • BRIAN SLATER profile image

        Brian Slater 6 years ago from England

        hi Susan this is an excellent resource for those who want to learn how to make these. Easy practical steps for anyone to follow and great pictures. voted up :)

      • Just Ask Susan profile image
        Author

        Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Rebecca

        Kevin

        Vicki

        Angelea

        Thanks everyone.

      • SognoPiccolo profile image

        SognoPiccolo 6 years ago from Wilmington, Ohio

        informative and beautiful! I have always wanted to do this but have never given it a shot. Will definitely give it a shot now. =D

      • tammyswallow profile image

        Tammy 6 years ago from North Carolina

        Gorgeous! This is one craft I haven't tried. Very intricate and beautiful. These would be great gifts.

      • profile image

        Vincent Moore 6 years ago

        Wow Susan you are so talented, any man would want your heart. A great cook, craft maker, wife, mother and all round beautiful lady. You hubby is a lucky man indeed. Hugs

      • chrissieklinger profile image

        chrissieklinger 6 years ago from Pennsylvania

        I don't know if I would ever have the patience to make this but it really is beautiful and looks like a good place to start if you are interested in trying out stained glass.

      • Arren123 profile image

        Arren123 6 years ago from UK

        Wow, very interesting, thank you for sharing, voted up :)

      • missolive profile image

        Marisa Hammond Olivares 6 years ago from Texas

        These are beautiful! You make it look so easy! You always give such great instructions and take such clear pictures. This is a wonderful hub for anyone wanting to give the art of stained glass a try. Sharing!

      • flashmakeit profile image

        flashmakeit 6 years ago from usa

        Very useful hub!! I am going to add this to my pearltree

        on pearltrees.com

      • Angela Brummer profile image

        Angela Brummer 6 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

        Oh I love this and will share it!

      • Victoria Lynn profile image

        Victoria Lynn 6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

        Wow, Susan. Great hub. Detailed step by step instructions with great photos. Well done! Many votes. What a beautiful hobby!

      • KevinMillican profile image

        KevinMillican 6 years ago from Stilwell, OK

        Very nice hub!

      • rebeccamealey profile image

        Rebecca Mealey 6 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

        Those are gorgeous, Susan! I have always loved anything with stained glass. How crafty of you, using those glass cutting techniques!

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