Specializing in 3-D effects.

Grand Rapids, Michigan · 681 Sales


Specializing in 3-D effects.

Grand Rapids, Michigan 681 Sales On Etsy since 2012

5 out of 5 stars

Announcement   Hello I'm glad you're here! Please browse through my shop, I'm sure something will catch your eye!
Thank you for stopping by!


Last updated on Apr 23, 2018

Hello I'm glad you're here! Please browse through my shop, I'm sure something will catch your eye!
Thank you for stopping by!

Dee Swenson

Contact shop owner

Dee Swenson

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5 out of 5 stars
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Broken Windows

Well not really broken, but peeling! I started making stained glass after a failed attempt at painting stained glass windows. I attended a small close knit church as a newly wed, and into my motherhood years. Our church was pretty bare so a group of us ladies got together to make some painted glass windows... you know the type.. its a stain made special for glass. After MANY hours of work we proudly put up our "windows". A few months later to our horror, all the color was peeling off and falling like snow! One member of our church had already been accomplished in stained glass and put out the invitation for "someone" to learn how to make "real" stained glass.... so my step mother and I took the bait. I had NO idea how hard it was going to be. I almost quit before I started. I didn't realize there were SO many steps involved. As I finished my first piece I excitedly placed it in the window. I couldn't believe how the sun made the colors and textures come alive! I was hopelessly hooked! To this day I feel the same excitement as I finish a piece and place it in the sunlight. I then stand back in amazement at the piece I have created and wonder who will share in my excitement!

We are only allowed 120 characters to describe a photo. So I am going to explain here.
This photo shoot is of the Traditional Nativity I have listed during Christmas.
I had to cut 81 pieces of glass, and shape 39 feet of came around those pieces. The project logged in at 37 hours. It takes much longer to make something in the more common "Tiffany" method than to use the came as in this project.
The first step is to choose the best glass for your project. Solid, or clear, smooth, or textured. I have over 500 square feet of glass in my shop. The first photo shows two of the four racks which hold my glass.
Photo number two: Tracing the pattern closely is a must. For a solid glass you must trace the pattern. For clear colored glass you can place your pattern and glass on a "light box". A raised box with a hard plastic cutting surface. The light beneath allows ease of seeing what you are cutting.
Cutting the glass. You actually are not cutting but "scratching" the glass. There are many factors involved in a good cut. First you must know the maker of the glass you are cutting. Different manufactures glass cuts easily or not so easily! The age and color of the glass also determines the ease or difficulty of cutting. It takes a lot of years and lots of practice in making good cuts. Inside curves are very difficult as are circles. You cannot just cut like you trace. You make straight cuts first, clip off that piece, then cut your curves. Its a long process. I have found it helpful to heat the glass before cutting. I use a heating pad.
Photo three: Shows cutting your pieces to a manageable size first. Then cutting as close on your traced lines as you can. There is always lots of waste in cutting glass.
Picture four: After you cut as close as you can, you need to use special curved pliers to nip or chew the remaining glass up to your lines. The final step is grinding. Grinding is done on a water based grinder. It is a loud, messy, nasty, dangerous job! I wear an apron that is always covered in glass grit/sludge. Of course eye protection is a must in any step of working with glass, but especially in grinding. I always end up with glass in my hair, and have even had the unpleasant experience of having glass grit in my teeth!
The last photo shows wrapping each piece in came and using a small mallet to shape the came and hold it close to the piece.
In the more traditional method of stained glass which is called the Tiffany method, a copper foil tape is applied to the edge of the glass. The glass must first be immaculate, washing in hot water with Dawn dish det. and ammonia. The rinsing process must be done well and dried thoroughly. Again the glass is heated, the foil applied with a special tool then rubbed down with a plastic lathe. The foil must stick well or the entire piece could be compromised. After the foil is applied an exacto knife is used to trim all the foil to the perfect shape. Some artists don't take this extra step as it is time consuming.
Which ever method you use, came or foil, before you apply solder you must brush on acid. This step is necessary or the solder won't stick. Your work area must have adequate ventilation for health reasons as the acid combined with the solder releases fumes of lead.
After reading all the above, you may see why I was tempted to quit before I started. But then again, just look at the results!

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  • Dee Swenson

    Owner, Glass Artisian

    As children we didn't have much in the way of material things. But we had a loving mother and a hard working father. We were taught right from wrong and to respect others. I still live by "do unto others as you would have them do unto you".

Shop policies

Last updated on May 10, 2018
Hello and welcome to my shop. The word "serendipity" means unexpected, happy, surprise! In browsing my shop I am sure that you will be happily surprised. In buying for yourself or as a gift, I can assure you that all of my pieces are made as if I were going to display them myself.

If you browse through my sold items and something catches your eye, don't hesitate to contact me for a duplicate! I have quite a collection of vintage dishes. I have many more dishes than I have time!
Chances are pretty good that I have a piece tucked away just waiting to be made into something special.
If I don't have it, I will start searching!
Thank you for looking!

Accepted payment methods

  • Accepts Etsy Gift Cards and Etsy Credits
  • Money Order
  • Check
Returns and exchanges
I gladly accept returns and exchanges
Contact me within: 3 days of delivery
Ship items back within: 7 days of delivery
I don't accept cancellations
But please contact me if you have any problems with your order.
*Certain orders may require a signature upon delivery. Please read through the listing for that information. If this would be an inconvenience for you let me know and I can change that, BUT, I will NOT be responsible for loss. If you prefer me to send any order signature required I can do so, but I will need to add the cost to the order. Let me know before purchase

IF your order shows that it has been delivered, but you did not receive it, please contact your post office. If they cannot help you locate it you must file a claim with the police. We would need that report to file an insurance claim with the shipping company.

If you find your piece has been broken during shipping, you must notify me within 3 business days. For items purchased and gift wrapped by me as a gift, I would take that into consideration as to the time frame to report any damage. I know that time frame seems short, but I do so hoping I can let you know not to dispose of any of the packing materials.

I would need to see a picture of the damage so I can determine if its repairable. I may also need this photo for insurance purposes. You as a buyer may need to help me process an insurance claim. You may need to fill out an online form. I would help you with that process any way that I can. Its fairly simple and straight forward.

* Please realize that if we file an insurance claim as a total loss and they pay the entire cost, you may be required to surrender the broken piece to them, as they paid the claim in full. You would not be allowed the full refund and to keep the piece.

Once I get a confirmation on a refund, I would refund the purchase price. If I can repair it the insurance would cover the shipping back and forth and for the repair.

I will accept returns if the piece was quite not what you were expecting. I aim to please...but, the item MUST be in the same condition as when it was sent to you. Or no refund will be given.
Shipping will be at your expense, priority mail or FedEx if I shipped it to you with FedEx. It must be insured, It must be within 7 days of receipt for a full refund of the purchase price, less shipping.
Don't forget, if you are a returning customer, you qualify for 15% off. If you need that code, contact me and I will send it along!

I accept Pay Pal, checks, money orders, credit cards and Etsy gift cards.
After 7 days with no payment the order wil be cancelled.
If paying with a check it must clear the bank before I will ship.
Shipping can be calculated by clicking on the "shipping and policies" tab under each listing. You put in your zip code and the quote will come up. The listings are pretty much all calculated at Priority Rate which means it is flown. Because of the fragile nature of my pieces, its the only safe way to ship. Most of the pieces are double boxed, which puts them in the higher cost category for shipping. If you want a price quote for Parcel Select Ground, contact me for a quote.
You will find a pull down tab at checkout to upgrade to Express shipping.

If I felt a certain piece could be safely shipped at Parcel Select, the parcel select price is quoted. You would be able to upgrade to Priority Rate at checkout.

With Priority rate shipping all items are insured up to $100. I tacked on extra insurance, adding it to the shipping cost of any items over $100. So all items are covered at the full cost.

If I find I miscalculated in any way, I would refund any difference over $2
If you are in close proximity to Michigan and I can fit your purchase into a regional rate box I will do so and refund the difference.

International shipping: In some cases tracking and insurance cannot be applied. In these cases I cannot be held responsible for loss or damage. Some international destinations also incur extra taxes, tariff, VAT and customs charges. All such charges will be the responsibility of the buyer. Contact me before purchase so we can discuss the details.

For the eco conscience, I now offer air popped popcorn in place of packing peanuts to recycle to our feathered friends. I will still use bubble wrap and newsprint however.
Let me know your preference upon ordering.

On my items I have listed everything as having to be shipped seperatly. The reason being many of my items are 3-D. I CAN combine flat pieces, or smaller 3-D pieces, and I will do so if I can. If you do purchase multiple items the easiest way to get around shipping is for you to pay what the shipping states. I will pack it as efficiently/safely as I can. I will then refund the difference to your method of payment.
Additional policies and FAQs
If you are purchasing a gift, I can ship it directly to the person recieving it. Let me know in the "notes to seller". I will gift wrap at no charge, please specify occasion, birthday, Mothers day, etc, and what you would like to say, I will print out the message in an attractive font and adhere it to a generic card.

The cost of stained glass has increased significantly over the last five years, I have tried to keep my prices low and think they are reasonable. However, depending on the quanity wanted, I would consider a discount for wholesalers.

If you see something in my shop that you would like in a different color, let me know in the "notes to seller".

Other places you can find me:

Facebook, under Dee Swenson, click on Serendipity Glass Works link

Repeat customers will receive a coupon code for 15% off on all future purchases, I may end that special in the future. I would contact all my customers well in advance to give them time to redeem the coupon.
Please note that I cannot apply the 15% off on special orders or wholesale orders.