Laying Out Your Stained Glass Pattern

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 32,019
    Stained Glass Artist Phillip McKee demonstrates how to lay out your stained glass pattern when making a stained glass suncatcher.

    Phillip McKee

    As an artist, I work in the medium of stained glass. I have always had an interest in stained glass. From early childhood I was enchanted by the Middle Ages and especially the medieval church. Seeing the beauty of the windows was always a joy to me. It was with great joy that I studied Medieval History first at Yale University and later at Harvard. I even held a research fellowship at Princeton in 1993. Even though I studied economic and diplomatic history instead of Art History, I still managed to work my artistic interests into my work at every possible opportunity.

    But after all of that education, I chose to become a firefighter. Needless to say, this was not greeted with much enthusiasm by my family. However a firefighter's work schedule gave me the free time I needed and I was able to pursue my other passion -- glass art!

    Since 9-11, stained glass has become an even greater part of my life as I went through rehabilitation for injuries suffered at the Pentagon. Glass has provided me with a creative outlet that I have sorely needed during this most difficult time in my life and in the life of our country. It has also given me a new place in life now that I am physically disabled and no longer able to continue as a firefighter.

    I am also pleased to announce the publication of my book Make It or Break It; Stained Glass For Beginners as a CD E-Book by CWS Press. It is an innovative CD-ROM that allows for page-flipping and browsing just like a book but it can also be searched like a regular electronic document. The CD also comes with a free trial version of GlassEye 2000 and over 340 patterns in GlassEye format.

    And I am now the senior Stained Glass Art Instructor for the Arlington County Adult Arts Education Program at the Fairlington Arts Center. If you live in Northern Virginia this is a wonderful way for you to be able to study stained glass under my tutelage while remaining close to home! In addition I offer private lessons in my home studio.

    But I did recently return to my academic roots. In June 2004, I exhibited several pieces as a part of the "Visions & Experiences" Exhibit at the Yale University School of Art Gallery. If you did not have a chance to visit the exhibit while it was occurring, I have created a Virtual Tour. It is an executable file which can be downloaded and viewed on your computer.

    Hi, I am Phillip McKee of McKee Stained Glass. Right now we are going to learn how to properly setup our layout pattern. It is not enough to just have a layout pattern, you also need to have it ready for use. To use it well, we use Morton Layout Blocks, these L shaped pieces of metal are applied around the edges of our layout pattern to act as guides and ensure that we are staying within the boundaries and also maintaining straight lines. To begin, we first put a layout block on the edge of our pattern. In this case, since we trimmed the excess paper off of our cutting pattern around the outside edge of the pattern, we apply the layout block to the outside edge of the pattern. We hold it in place with at least two pushpins.

    Next, we take our L-Square and use it to assist us in placing another layout block on an adjoining side. Once again, at the very edge of the pattern piece, to create a perfect 90 degree angle. Finally, we secure the last corner of the paper. This now allows us to take our pattern piece after it has been cut from the glass and ground down the smoothness and check it against our pattern. When we are certain that it is the right shape and size and fits well, we remove the paper and simply use a little extra water to help clean off the glue. Always make sure to clean off all of the glue as quickly as possible and do not allow pattern pieces to have their paper remain on them for any extended period of time.

    This will allow your glue to set and will make it more difficult to clean later. Once you have one pattern piece cut, properly shaped and in position, you can then take your cutting pattern and move on to the next. Next, we are going to learn, how to take the pattern pieces and foil them. So, that we can begin preparation for Soldering.