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?

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

Solder

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).

Flux

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.

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

Glass

Glass is sharp. We all know that. And no one likes a shard of glass in their eye or stuck in their foot. 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. It helps keep you safe & saves your grinder bits from excess wear. There’s no harm done if you choose to wear a mask as well.

Patina

Patina changes the color of your solder.

Patina is a 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, 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 what you need & when:

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 a Stained Glass Safety gear supplier?

Many of the items I’ve listed, you may already have at home. Check out your local hardware store for safety glasses, face shields, masks, & gloves.

Many of the Glass Supply Shops listed on my Tools page carry glasses too.

I’m personally a fan of the Miller P100 reusable mask. I think it’s the most comfortable you’ll find in the mask world. It has an exhalation valve for easy breathing, a silicone seal for comfort against your skin, and adjustable straps that go around your head (no pulling on your ears).

I like this Safety Works Face Shield & Headgear. You can change the shields when they get too schmecky.

At no extra cost to you, as an amazon affiliate, I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases.

Making Stained Glass Art is so much fun! But please be cautious so you can continue to make your art for many years to come!

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 children & 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.

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