What safety gear do I need to make Stained Glass Art?

Safety is boring…I know. But it’s super important when you’re making stained glass.

You’ll find some old timers (& unfortunately some new timers who learned bad habits from old timers) on the internet demonstrating how to make glass art without safety gear.

And well…I’m just going to say it.

That’s. Bad. Practice.

Why do I need to wear a mask, gloves, & glasses when making Stained Glass Art?

**Note: There’s a complete list of the safety equipment I use at the end of this post with links**

Flux, glass, solder, & patina. Those are your main reasons for needing safety gear.

Solder Safety

Solder is hot. Reaaallly freaking hot! And the last thing you want is some solder spattering up in your face or eyes.

Is lead solder bad for you? It’s not heated enough in the stained glass process to vaporize, but after handling, don’t eat, drink, smoke, or put your fingers in your ear hole, eye holes, nose holes (or anyone else’s for that matter).

You should always wear nitrile gloves when handling lead solder (& definitely flux), but it’s a good idea to keep some Lead Removal Soap on hand (see what I did there? on hand?๐Ÿ˜ ).

Flux Safety

Flux is not so nice for the lungs, skin, or eyes for that matter. I recommend Blu Glass Flux because it’s formulated for sensitive people, but…

There is no flux that’s completely safe. You always need to wear a mask aaaaand have good ventilation. Our faces are super close to our work, so a fan alone is not enough.

*At no cost to you, as an amazon affiliate, I receive a small commission from qualifying purchases.

Glass Safety

Glass is sharp. We all know that. And no one likes a shard of glass in their eyehole or stuck in their foot.

Grinder Safety

Interestingly, your grinder bit isn’t going to grind your finger off. Kind of like a fingernail file, if you just bump against it, it won’t leave you missing any skin (I wouldn’t sit there and hold your finger on it, but…). It will give you an unexpected manicure though if you get your fingernails against it!

The bigger concern while grinding is the sharp edges of the glass cutting you. Cut resistant gloves work great for preventing that.

Grinder dust is something you don’t want in your eyes. And it’s been a generally accepted idea in the glass community that the dust created in glass grinding is bad to breathe. Some debate of that idea has come up in recent years.

Crystalline silica causes the lung disease, Silicosis. Stained glass is an amorphous or non-crystalline solid, which is different. But as of the time of this writing, I cannot find definitive, scientific proof that amorphous silica doesn’t cause any other kind of lung irritation or disease.

Here’s a bit of research on the subject, (please do research and make your own decision):

Sooo…always keep your grinder bits wet as it keeps the dust at bay. It helps keep you safe, keeps your glass from chipping like crazy, & saves your grinder bits from excess wear. There’s no harm done if you choose to wear a mask as well.

Patina Safety

Patina changes the color of your solder.

Patina is a very strong chemical. There are serious short & long term physical hazards of use without safety equipment. Please read the SDS for whichever brand you choose to use.

Link to Novacan SDS (Safety Data Sheets):

If you choose to use patina, pleeeease gear up!

What safety gear do I wear during what steps of the stained glass process?

You’re going to want to wear gear during most of the stained glass process. The only time you can probably get away without anything is during foiling.

The good part, is you don’t have to wear all of your gear for every process. It’s a good idea to wear close toed shoes in the studio area.

Here’s a video!

If you’re more of a list person, here’s, well, a list!:

Cutting & Breaking

  • Safety Glasses or Face Shield
  • Cut Resistant Gloves (optional)

Grinding

  • Safety glasses or Face Shield
  • Cut Resistant Gloves (optional)
  • P100 mask (often recommended – be sure to at least keep your grinder bit wet at all times)

Foiling

  • Safety glasses if you’re really klutzy? Also, don’t run with scissors.

Soldering

  • Safety Glasses or Face Shield
  • Rubber or Nitrile gloves
  • P100 mask
  • Heat resistant gloves or use clamps

Patina

If you choose to use it, do so at your own risk, and please, please use all of the following:

  • Safety Glasses or Face Shield
  • P100 mask
  • Rubber or Nitrile gloves
  • Working outside or, if indoors, with very good ventilation (in conjunction with safety gear) is smart.

Where do I find Stained Glass Safety gear?

You can get a lot of personal protective equipment (PPE if you’re fancy) at your local hardware store.

If ya want to order online, here’s a list of my favorite stained glass safety gear:

*At no cost to you, as an amazon affiliate, I receive a small commission from qualifying purchases. I’ll only ever tell you about things I like & use, or know to be good quality. Cuz integrity.๐Ÿ˜

An important note: I am not a Safety Professional and as such accept no liability for your safety or others around you. The safety gear listed here are industry standard recommendations. Keep your humans & pets away from your stained glass studio area. Please research the individual products you’re going to use in making your art. Look for SDS/MSDS sheets for each.

Honeywell Safety Glasses

Any ol safety glasses will do ya. I like these because they have bendy arms so they’ll fit well to your head & not push on that weird spot behind your ears that gives ya a headache.

Safety Works Face Shield

A face shield is going to provide better protection from flying glass & solder spatter than safety glasses. I always wear this when I grind & solder. It has saved my eyeholes (and my skin) more than once so we’re BFF’s.

Miller P100 Welding Mask

As far as masks go, this one is pretty darn comfortable. It’s squishy on your face & has an exhalation valve so you can breathe very easily. Double check the sizing for your face.

Canfield Blu-Glass Flux

My favorite flux. It’s formulated for sensitive individuals, but ALWAYS WEAR YOUR MASK (& your gloves). There is no safe flux.

Schwer Cut Resistant Gloves

These are great for cutting, breaking, & grinding.

Cut Resistant Finger Cots

These little finger sweaters give you less protection than the full gloves, but more dexterity. I like them for grinding.

BeeSure Nitrile Gloves

Ya may have some of these laying around the house. Use them when you’re soldering, using patina, and when you’re washing your glass.

D-Lead Removal Soap

I prefer to just wear Nitrile Gloves whenever I’m handling lead, but if you’re going to handle it barehanded, get this!

Be smart. Be informed. And please, be safe!

Peace, Love, & Stained Glass,

-Shannie ๐Ÿ˜ƒ