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Cincinnati OH, Vevay IN, Louisville KY United States

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HillLillyDesigns' Shop Announcement

***ALL ITEMS ARE READY TO SHIP*** Hill Lilly Designs is your Source for Unique Handcrafted Stained Glass. We are not accepting custom orders at this time.

What You Always Wanted To Know About Stained Glass…..Or Not…

What to look for in a piece of Stained Glass:

Aside from it striking your fancy there are few things you should look for when selecting a stained glass piece for your home. Most importantly the construction and attention to detail is essential. A well constructed heirloom quality piece will last many years while a cheap, imported, badly made item, typically found in big box stores, are short lived.


What makes stained glass so pricy? Well, several things actually do. Glass is not inexpensive mainly due to what makes glass “stained glass”. Precious metals and minerals are added to molten glass to give it its color. Gold for red, iron for green and browns, copper for light blue and some reds, tin for white, lead for yellow, uranium oxides for other yellows and the list goes on. When metal prices change, so do glass prices and they rarely come down. Then add in that stained glass art is held together with copper foil and solder, which is a mix of lead and tin, framed with either zinc or copper and the chemicals needed and you can see costs mounting-and then you have the cost of labor to factor into the equation. Industry standard is $100.00 per square foot on custom orders plus materials. Intricately of the design and fabrication adds to the final costs. So the next time you fall in love with a beautiful piece of stained glass and suffer a bit of sticker shock, take a closer look and really see the amount of work, time and effort that’s gone into creating it in addition to the materials used.

Solder Lines:

With works that use the copper foil method look closely at the straight lines and curves to see whether or not they are perfectly straight or smooth and show little or no variance in width and that the solder lines have a nice rounded bead. Solder lines should not be flat unless the artist has intended this to be part of the overall design. Poor soldering is often explained away as “rustic” or “artistic” when in fact it’s just bad. Once you see the good stuff the bad stuff is easy to spot! A properly beaded seam also requires that more solder be used which results in stronger construction.

Glass Selection:

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That being said there are a few things that need to be taken into consideration when selecting glass for a project. Some designs are driven by color, texture of the glass, opacity or the design itself. Rule of thumb is to keep your glass of the same opacity using texture, hue or density to make your design come to life. Selection of the wrong glass can ruin the very best design. Look closer…does the glass work well together to achieve a balanced eye pleasing design or is it just off?


Solid construction is critical and is achieved from a layering of steps. One step preformed badly will reduce the life expectancy of the artwork. If the glass hasn’t been cleaned properly prior to foil application, the soldered seams will be weak as flux will creep under the foil and cause it to lift. If larger stained glass pieces aren’t reinforced they will buckle under their own weight. The frame surrounding the edge of the stained glass design adds stability and should be miter cut as a miter cut is stronger than a straight edge cut which is easier to execute. Hangers should be attached to the frame at a seam thus allowing the stress to be distributed across both pieces of framing. Solder lines adjacent to the frame should also be attached to the frame for even more stability.


A freshly soldered piece of stained glass has solder with a silver color finish. To obtain a black, antique, verdigris or copper appearance chemicals need to be applied. An undesirable blotchy result will be obtained if the item is not properly first cleaned of flux residue. Once this is done and the chemicals applied and the excess removed at least one coat of wax needs to be applied and buffed. The wax adds a beautiful shine to the completed piece and at the same time provides a protective finish to both the glass and solder. The application, buffing and thorough detailing is key.

This shop accepts Etsy Gift Cards.