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Sandblasting Stained Glass Stained glass is actually an incorrect name for a type of art encompassing many different ways of decorating glass for windows, mirrors, lamps or other projects. Stained glass may be made from many pieces of colored glass cut into a design and soldered together with lead or copper cames (metal strips), it may be painted, etched, actually stained with various metal oxides or even sandblasted. Sandblasting is a fascinating way to add texture and interest to your stained glass art project. Rather than adding colored, sandblasting gives a unique frosted or abraded look. This can be used as a decorative "frame" for your stained glass project before painting and setting it in the kiln, or you can create the entire design through sandblasting alone. Sandblasting equipment can be quite expensive, so you will most likely want to borrow or rent the equipment. You may also consider paying a professional to sandblast your prepared design. Be prepared to make several phone calls and be clear about what you would like to have done. You will likely be charged a set fee per square foot of the stained glass project. There are four basic elements to the sandblasting unit. The sandblasting unit works with an air compressor that acts as the motor of the unit and provides compressed air to the sand mixing unit. This highly pressurized sand is then forced through a soft tube into a sealed compartment where it is forced through a nozzle. You will do the sandblasting through a set of long rubber gloves that extend inside the unit where you can move your stained glass project around and control the nozzle during sandblasting. You will want to create your pattern on a special type of removable backed adhesive paper called "transparent resist". You may also try regular contact paper, but it is not as sturdy or easy to work with for your stained glass project as the resist. Draw your design on the transparent resist paper with a pencil. Remember that the cut out portions will be the frosted design on your stained glass project. Be create, experiment with different lines and shapes. When you are satisfied with your design you should tape it to your cutting mat and cut it out carefully using a craft or razor knife. Next, gently remove the paper backing and roll the resist or contact paper unto your piece of glass smoothing it out as you go along. Be careful not to leave any air pockets or lifted edges where sand might get into and foil your design. Follow the manufacturer's directions for sandblasting (if you are renting the equipment, otherwise drop it off to the studio and wait for the dramatic results). Carefully peal off the transparent resist and viola, a beautiful piece of stained glass art! You are now ready to use stained glass paint and fire the piece in a kiln if that is what your design calls for; otherwise your stained glass project is ready for framing or hanging. Stained glass artwork is a satisfying hobby that not only provides hours of enjoyment, but also creates attractive accents for your home, or gifts for family or friends that will bring pleasure for many years to come.
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