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Stained glass sheets are pieces of stained glass that are typically used to create smaller, shaped pieces of glass, which are then assembled into a final work. These sheets are essentially the raw materials used to create stained glass, though other stained glass supplies are used to properly shape and connect the various pieces. There are a number of different methods that can be used to create these sheets of glass, as well as different techniques for staining the glass. Stained glass sheets are often sold to both professional glassworkers and stained glass artists.
Works of art or windows that are made from stained glass typically require stained glass sheets that are used as raw materials in their creation. A stained glass creation often begins with a pattern, created commercially or individually by an artist, and this pattern indicates the different sizes and pieces of stained glass necessary for the final work. The pattern is used to draw out the various shapes onto stained glass sheets, which allows the artist to decide on what colors to use before any cutting is done. These sheets are then cut, through a number of different methods and techniques, to the proper sized pieces and assembled through soldering before framing.
Different techniques can be used to create stained glass sheets; these different types of stained glass are often referred to as cylinder glass, crown glass, and rolled glass. Both cylinder glass and crown glass begin with a “gather,” a lump or glob of molten glass, that is then used to create a sheet of glass. Cylinder glass is produced by blowing the gather into a long cylinder, the end of which is then cut off and it is allowed to cool. One side is then cut open, it is reheated, and the cylinder is then opened up and flattened out into a sheet before re-cooling.
Crown glass is produced using a gather, into which a bubble is blown. This bubble of molten glass is then placed onto a device that spins it very quickly, which causes the bubble to open and the glass to flatten and stretch out to create a sheet of glass. Rolled glass is produced by pouring molten glass onto a table and then rolling it out flat with a metal cylinder or by passing molten glass between two rollers.
There are a number of different methods that can be used for staining the glass to create stained glass sheets. The traditional method involves the addition of metallic elements to the molten glass to stain it, using cobalt to make blue glass, copper oxide for green, and copper for red as well. Some stained glass sheets are made using a method called “flashing” in which the glass gather is quickly dipped into molten stained glass to create a thin layer of coloration, which can be used to produce thick glass that is still quite transparent.
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