With my nascent glass-cutting skills, I obviously jumped straight into the iron man lampshade project with gusto only to discover (i) all the pieces weren’t accurate enough, leaving unsightly gaps; (ii) the copper foil started to pull away in places where the edges were rough; (iii) leaving large gaps between attempts at working on meant that the copper and solder began to oxidise and crumble; and (iv) as the whole thing was tack-soldered (I was going to smooth the whole thing in one go later) it was lumpy and uneven and far too solid to fix without using a solder gun to painstakingly melt and remove every single join.
In short, a disaster.
Originally, I had planned to do something far less ambitious as a means of practising my soldering and general tiffany foiling technique.
Since I love origami, and particularly the ubiquitous crane, I thought it would be cool to try and make one from glass, thus creating a fun visual pun on the permanence/impermanence and fragility/solidity of the concept and the material.
It would also be a cool, non-denominational Christmas tree decoration. This example below is made by Karen Gualtieri, a.k.a. decorativefolds, and may be purchased with similar items on on Etsy by clicking the image.
And, as ever, when I have these amazing “original” ideas, I promptly Google it to discover that someone else has got there well before me. Well done, Suncatchercreations in Tennessee, for cutting out quite a lot of my work. Unfortunately the pictures of the originals were subject to copyright objections so you will have to follow the link to see them.
Step 1: the pattern
It was relatively straightforward to work out how this was put together, so I created my own template using that super sophisticated and hi-tech combination of 3lite hacker programmes: Microsoft Word and (yes, I know) Paint.
This comprised: (i) wing (yellow); (ii) body long side (orange); (iii) body short side (green); (iv) body top (purple); (v) head (pink); and (v) tail and neck (blue).
Step 2: Cutting out and foiling
I opted for a lovely purple and green mottled sheet, as well as a more obvious smokey white:
Owing to the scale of the project (making two, one smaller but both able to fit in the palm of one hand) the soldering process for each crane only, the whole thing only took approx one evening per crane. Thus also not giving the solder any opportunity to warp or oxidise or become lumpy or whatever else it might want to do!
Step 2: Tack soldering into place
The purchase of a helping hand, while also a fairly big faff, made the assembly much less… impossible than iron man, where at one point I am pretty sure I was trying to hold the solder in my mouth and the iron between my toes while holding the pieces together.
Step 3: Patina and ribbon
To prevent the solder oxidising, I used some black patina to stain it all. It was a shame losing the silver of the solder, but this way it looks like a mini lead window which is effective in its own way.
Then, to turn it into an Christmas decoration, a sparkly gold ribbon!
Next stop? Porcelain! The images below are not my own work; please click the images for source websites.