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!
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!)
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?
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 Looooooooooong (Traditional & More Expensive) Way to do it. My quick & easy One Step is next up.
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 (I don’t think you’ll ever get alllll of the black schmeck off of it)
- cover your piece in stained glass wax & let it haze up (mostly dry)
- buff the wax off with a clean cloth (or paper towel)
- 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!
Easy Recipe for 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)!
*At no extra cost to you, as an amazon affiliate, I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases. I’ll only ever recommend products I use & love, or know to be good quality!
Mix these two together in a resealable jar. You’ll generally mix them around a 50/50 mix. Keep stirring and adding til ya get a mousse-like consistency.
Note: In case ya missed it up above, this is for use on BARE SOLDER ONLY. If you used patina, you’ll ONLY want to use the Wax. No Polish.
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
- Buff it
Here’s a video on How to Make the One Step Polish & Wax aaaaaaand How to Apply It!
Peace, Love, & Stained Glass,
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