How & Why to Polish & Wax Your Stained Glass Art

Like an old car, stained glass solder will oxidize & eventuuuuuuaaaalllly fall apart. So, let’s learn how to wax & polish your stained glass to keep it lasting for a zillion years!

person using polish and wax on stained glass mountain woman products

Why polish and wax your stained glass art?

When we polish and wax our stained glass it’s really for two reasons:

  • To make the solder all shiny and purrrrrty
  • To prevent the solder from getting the *cue scary music* dreaded white mold!

What is that dull white stuff on my solder?

It’s white mold! It’s not actually a fungus though. It’s oxidation on the solder. Much like bare metal on your car will rust (oxidize) over time, so will solder. 

And, just like eventually your car will fall apart from too much oxidation, so will your stained glass art. (eeeek!)

You’ll hear many people say that it comes from not cleaning the flux off of your piece well enough. And that can be true since flux will have that effect.

Buuuuut, even if there’s not a lick of flux left on your piece, it’s still bare metal if ya don’t wax it, so it’ll still oxidize.

Why is dull solder called white mold? 

I have no freakin’ idea!😁 There are quite a few words in stained glass that don’t match their regular definitions. We’re artists. We get to make up words cuz we’re creative.

You could also call it “weird schmecky stuff that looks all dull and ya can’t scratch off aaaaarrrrgh”.

Whichever ya prefer.

What do you do to prevent white mold on your solder lines?

Easy! 

Well…kinda. The concept is easy, the action is kind of a pain in the rear. 

But it’s soooooooo worth it!

If you’re not doing patina, you’ll need to both polish & wax your solder lines when you’re finished with your piece.

Note: If you’re doing patina, you’ll need to wax, not polish. I have a whole tutorial on How to Do Stained Glass Patina here.

How to polish & wax your stained glass piece

This is the Traditional & More Expensive Way to do it. My quick & easy One Step is coming up in a moment.

Once you’re done soldering your piece…

  • give it a good washing with dish soap and warm water
  • dry it off
  • put some stained glass polish on your solder (it’s ok if it gets all over the glass too)
  • rub a dub dub 857 gazillion times until your solder is nice & shiny bright and your rag is clean-ish sort of…(I don’t think you’ll ever get alllll of the black schmeck off of it and, like waxing a car, you do want to leave a coating of polish on it as it contains the wax that will prevent oxidation)
  • remove any excess wax out of the little nooks & crannies

Quick Tip: The quicker you wash all that flux off after you’re done, the easier it is to polish & wax. So work fast!

The cheaper but longer way to polish & wax your stained glass

When I first started out in stained glass, I used a car polishing compound and then finished with wax. It does work, but it’s a two step thang that makes the process even longer.

Uggggggh.

Easy Recipe for Inexpensive One Step Polish & Wax

Polishing & waxing is the only step in stained glass I really don’t like doing.

And by really don’t like doing, I mean would rather yank out most of my teeth and then attempt to gnaw my own arm off instead.

That was a lil dramatic. Maybe I’d skip the teeth yanking part. My arm better watch out though.

Anyway, I have a super secret cheater recipe for One Step Polish & Wax that works really well, and shortens the process.

Imma share it with ya cuz you’re special (there’s a video below too)!

You’ll need:

Mother’s Carnauba Wax 05750

$16.95

Only 1 left in stock

Mother’s makes a bunch of different waxes, but this particular one is the one we need for stained glass stuff.

Whiting Powder

$5.99

Only 2 left in stock

Mix this up with some of that Carnauba Wax until you have a mousse-like consistency (the dessert, not the animal) & you’ll be polishing & waxing in one step. You may want to use patina on future projects (which polish can scratch or remove), so just mix a small jar of Carnauba/Calcium Carbonate to use on plain solder.

Quick Tip: Just cuz it looks like mousse, doesn’t mean it tastes like it. Don’t eat it. Also don’t ask me how I know. 😁

Mix these two together in a resealable jar. You’ll generally mix them around a 60/40 mix. Keep stirring and adding til ya get a mousse-like consistency.

This is for use on BARE SOLDER ONLY. If you used patina, you’ll ONLY want to use the Wax. No Polish cuz it can take patina off.

I have post on How to Get Deep Rich Black & Copper Patina here.

To use it, simply:

  • Wash your piece after soldering with warm water & dish soap
  • Dry it
  • Apply One Step Polish & Wax
  • Let it haze up a bit
  • Buff it til your solder is nice & shiny bright and your rag is clean-ish sort of.
  • Easier part here too…instead of digging in nooks & crannies for leftover polish/wax, let it dry out & just fling it off with an old toothbrush!

Note: Samesies as the expensive stained glass polish…I don’t think you’ll ever get alllll of the black schmeck off of it and, like waxing a car, you do want to leave a coating of polish on it as it contains the wax that will prevent oxidation.

So don’t hulk on it soooo much that ya take all the wax back off.

That’s it!

Here’s a video on How to Make the One Step Polish & Wax aaaaaaand How to Apply It!

Happy waxing!

stained glass pro tips guide mountain woman products
.

Peace, Love, & Stained Glass,

-Shannie😃

Share the love with a Pin if ya like!

Leave a Comment