Stained Glass Tools: My Favorites

There are somewhere in the vicinity of 14 zillion tools & gadgets you can get for working with stained glass.

Like kitchen gadgetry, you don’t need them all. Heck, you don’t technically neeeeed many of them.

Buuuuut….

Some tools sure do make your life a whole lot easier!

stained glass tools and supplies on waffle grid mountain woman products

So…in the spirit of working smarter, not harder, here’s a list of all kinds of tools I’ve tried & (mostly) loved through the years & still use today.

(If you’re brand new to stained glass, I have a list of Essential Tools For Beginners just for you. )

A big ol’ list of my favorite tools for Stained Glass

Cutting (Scoring) Tools

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Creator’s Brand Cutter’s Mate Mini

Cutters Mate Mini Glass Cutting System by Creators Brand

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I didn’t know if I’d like this cutter. I opened it, tried it, and it won me over in the first three minutes. You literally just guide the weighted scoring portion around on your glass & it makes a perfect score every time. I’m not a doctor, so ask yours, but man is it easy on the wrist & shoulders! (It’s also fun to drive around on your glass whilst making vroom noises.) Carbide steel wheel.

Creator’s Brand Hummingbird Handheld Cutter

Hummingbird Cutter by Creators Brand

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This cutter fits easily in smaller hands, has a squishy grip for comfort, and….it’s small enough that you can still rest your hand on your glass while you cut for great control. It’s like a pencil grip & a pistol grip had an adorable love child. It might be favorite handheld cutter (don’t tell my trusty pencil grip). Carbide steel wheel.

Creator’s Brand Beetle Bits Cutting System

Beetle Bits Glass Cutting System by Creators Brand

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If you do a lot of geometric designs, straight cuts, or want to get into mosaics, this system lets you make even & consistent cuts. Carbide Steel Wheel.

Fletcher Pencil Grip Glass Cutter

This was the first glass cutter I ever bought & it still works beautifully to this day due to its super sturdy construction & carbide steel wheel. While I really do love it (& still use it frequently), it’s not the best style ergonomically. If you’re concerned about wrist position, check out the Hummingbird & Cutter’s Mate Mini further up the list.

Creator’s Brand Oil Pod

Creators Brand Oil Pod for Stained Glass Cutter

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I love this oil pod for storing my pencil grip & pistol grip cutters. Keeps the wheels oiled & ready to go.

Creator’s Brand Oil Well

Creators Brand Oil Well

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This little oil well makes for easy dipping for any type of cutter. I use it with my Cutter’s Mate Mini & Hummingbird Cutters.

Creator’s Brand Waffle Grid Cutting Surface

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Helps to keep the glass shards from shiving ya & protect your table. Holds all kinds of organizational stuff, oil wells, & cutters. Also made a surround for my grinder out of these. I’m a fan.

Running, Breaking, & Grozing Pliers for Stained Glass

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Use MWP10 for 10% off your entire order!*

Dragon Running Pliers

These are relatively inexpensive running pliers & they work just fine (I use them all the time).

If you want to buy some when you buy your glass, Glass Supply Shops generally have decent quality cheapies.

Dragon Brand Grozer Breaker Pliers

At the time I’m writing this, these only have one rating on Amazon & it’s 2 stars. I have noooo idea why (the person only rated, they didn’t give an explanation). I’ve been using these for about a year & they work great.

Studio Pro Grozer Breaker Pliers

If you’re a bit nervous about the lack of/one bad rating on the Dragon Brand, these are a viable alternative. I haven’t used these, but overall, my experience with Studio Pro for inexpensive tools has been positive. This pliers has good ratings on Amazon.

Silberschnitt Running Pliers

Hard name to say, super easy tool to use. I love this pliers, especially for running & breaking curves & circles. The pivoting head reaches really funky areas with ease.

Creator’s Brand Palm Runner

Palm Runner by Creators Brand

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Can ya use the end of your running pliers rubber handle to run scores for circles & curves? Sure. Does it work as well as this Palm Runner? Heck no! This little guy works super well. Quick Tip: Run on a soft surface like a doubled piece of yoga mat or a phone book (do they still make those??).

Glass Grinders & Grinder Accessories

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***Note: Other grinder brands including Glastar (no longer in business) & Inland have been on the market for years too. I’ve only used Gryphon Brand personally & have experienced great customer service & solid machines.***

Gryphon Gryphette

The Gryphon Gryphette is the least expensive, but still great quality glass grinder on the market. It’s also relatively small so it’s great for small studio spaces.

Gryphon Studio Glass Grinder

The Gryphon Studio Grinder is a step up in size from the Gryphette. It has a drip system for water & comes with a face shield too.

Gryphon Convertible Professional Glass Grinder

The Gryphon Convertible is the MacDaddy of grinders. The pump provides an awesome amount of water to your piece & the convertible style is great ergonomically. You can use it standing or sitting easily. If you have T-Rex arms like me, the diagonal setting is a lifesaver.

Grinder Surround

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I made my grinder surround out of Creator’s Brand Waffle Grid. Works great!

Nick’s Grinder Mate

Keeps your fingers out of the way when grinding little pieces. My fingernails & I are big fans!

Grinder Cookie

It’s quality in construction & saves your fingernails from the grinder & your skin from sharp glass edges. I don’t use mine regularly, but many artists swear by them so I’m including it in the list.

Foiling Tools

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*We have an Exclusive Code for ya for anything from Creator’s Brand!

Use MWP10 for 10% off your entire order!*

Creator’s Brand 7/32 Hand Foiler

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I’ve hand foiled forever… and I can humbly say I’m really freakin’ fast at it. This little foiler though? Holy crap! If we raced it would be a hare & I’d be a turtle with a bum leg. Make sure you get a foil holder & clamp this guy to a table. This centers your foil perfectly on your glass. Tada!

Creator’s Brand 1/4 Hand Foiler

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Samesies to the 7/32″ foiler. I had trouble with both at first, until the owner of Creator’s gave me the tip to clamp it to the table. Whaaat!? Bam! Perfection! If you’ve been looking for a Glastar Foiler (they’re out of business), get this one. It’s much higher quality.

Creator’s Brand 3/16 Hand Foiler

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We don’t use 3/16″ foil often in stained glass, but when ya do, this foiler is where it’s at. Perfectly centered. *chef’s kiss*

Creator’s Brand Foil Crimper Burnisher

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I haven’t tried this guy yet, but if you’re looking for a crimper & burnishing tool in one, Creator’s Brand is consistently quality.

Creator’s 7/32 Foil Holder & Stand

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If ya don’t already have a foil holder, this is the one to get. It rolls soooo smoothly & like everything I’ve tried with Creator’s Brand, it’s super sturdy & high quality.

Creator’s 1/4″ Foil Holder & Stand

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Samesies as the 7/32″ foil holder. These foil holders clear so you can see how much foil is left on your roll. Those Creator’s Brand people….they freakin’ think of everything! 🙂

Fid

Simple fid with a tapered end helps get into nooks & crannies in your foil. My general go to & favorite fid for foil fixes. Pretty sure I’ve used mine so much it’s a permanent part of my hand now.

Foil Roller by Aanraku

Works like a fid, except you’re burnishing by rolling. Great on the flats, harder to use on the edges. Some people love these, I like a regular fid…it’s up to you.

Olfa Stainless Utility Knife

Sharp blades are retractable to help keep your fingers attached. It’s strong & durable. My favorite craft knife for trimming foil.

Olfa Replacement Blades AB-10B

I like these replacement blades the best. They’re shorter so you get more per replacement piece, which works great since we’re only using the tips for trimming foil anyway.

Edco 1/4″ Silver Backed Copper Foil

7/32″ foil is the most commonly used in Stained Glass Art, but I’m a big fan of 1/4″. Your solder is your framework & the bigger the foil, the more solder ya have, the stronger your framework. 1/4″ is big enough for strength, but small enough that it doesn’t overwhelm even small pieces like suncatchers.

Edco 7/32″ Silver Backed Copper Foil

If ya need 7/32″ foil, Edco is my go to brand. It’s flexible, but strong & has a good adhesive. I’m a fan of silver backed for all projects that don’t involve patina.

Johnson Stainless Pocket Ruler

This thin little ruler is my top secret way of getting perfectly straight trims when you’re trimming foiled pieces. Just pull the little pocket clip off first.

Soldering

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Hakko 601-02 Soldering Iron

If you want to solder well…Get. This. Iron. Ceramic core gives even & consistent heat. Temp control on the handle. And unlike most soldering irons which are seemingly modeled after baseball bats for size, this one fits easily in smaller hands.

***A very important note: If you live in the U.S., be sure you’re getting the 601-02 (listed above). The 601-01 can be often be found cheaper, but it’s made for Japanese electrical outlets & does not fit U.S. outlets.

Hakko 601-02 Replacement Tip 6.5mm

A step up in tip size from what comes with your Hakko 601-02 iron. Broader surface area makes for greater heat distribution which = easier soldering.

Studio Pro Soldering Iron Holder

This soldering iron stand is has a super sturdy base so it doesn’t slide all over the place on your mat. Love that! It fits the Hakko 601-02 & I like the extra little storage behind the sponge for keeping spare soldering iron tips.

Clamps for Soldering

These little guys are great for holding your smaller pieces while edge beading or attaching jump rings. The rubbery tips will get a bit smooshed/melty over time, but there’s a lot in the box so they’re easy to replace. And they hold waaaay better than alligator clips.

Soldering Mat

This thing freakin’ rocks! After countless hot solder bb’s landing on my lap, I thought of this mat. It’s technically a dog food mat, but it has a raised lip & comes in a bunch of different sizes to fit your studio space. Heat resistant & easy to wipe clean.

Hakko Iron Tip Protection Pipe

After 5 years of living in my old humid shed/studio, mine started to rust. This replacement is cheap & will prevent your old, rusty pipe from fusing to the threads on the shaft.

Plastic 8 oz Squeeze Bottle

This little bottle works wonderfully for storing & applying water to the sponge on your soldering iron holder.

Creator’s Brand Handy Foam Wedges

Handy Wedge Foam Blocks by Creators Brand

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I love these little wedges for small 3D projects.

Creator’s Brand Angle Master Jig

Angle Master Jig by Creators Brand

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If you’re doing larger 3D items like boxes, this jig is fantastic. It’s the bigger,  sturdier, more precise version of the foam wedge. You can do 45 & 60 degree squares & octagons as well as 60 degree triangles & hexagons.

Arcor Tinned 14 Gauge Copper Wire

Ideal for making your own jump rings because it’s a sturdy gauge for small projects & it’s pre-tinned.

OOK 16 Gauge Utility Wire

This zinc coated steel wire is what I use for making swirly hooks & hangers for larger/heavier stained glass projects.

Jump Rings for Jewelry

These are the sturdy little jump rings I use for stained glass jewelry. There’s a bunch of sizes & the little case is super convenient.

Thermaltronics Tip Tinner

This stuff drastically prolongs the life of your soldering tip! When your tip stops wanting to hold solder, give it a quick dip in this stuff & it comes out shiny new.

Great for any glass artist, but a must have if you’re working lead-free (higher heat is tough on tips).

Hakko T19-D32 3.2mm Soldering Tip

This Hakko tip is the next size down from what comes with your iron. It’s great for reaching in small spaces and crevices when you’re doing 3D work.

It works beautifully for decorative soldering too!

Hakko T19-D24 2.4mm Soldering Tip

This little itty bitty adorable Hakko soldering tip works great for attaching decorative wirework to existing solder lines & for teeny tiny little attachments on jewelry.

You can use it for decorative soldering too!

Amerway 60/40 Sapphire Lead Solder

60/40’s don’t vary in composition the way that lead free does, but since I’m a huge fan of Amerway’s Lead Free, I also recommend their 60/40 Lead. It works great!

Amerway Ruby Lead Free Solder

My very favorite Lead Free Solder (& I’ve tried a ton!). It’s got the best flow and shines up beautifully.

Here’s a whole post about Lead Free Soldering if ya want to start working with it!

Dewenwils 3 Prong Outlet Switch

Since most soldering irons don’t have on/off switches, these lil outlets switches are great to plug yours into. The switch lights up to help you remember to turn off your iron.

Polish, Wax, & Patina for Stained Glass

Mother’s Pure Carnauba Wax

Stained Glass Wax is expensive. You can use any Pure Carnauba Wax that ya happen to have laying around in your garage. If ya don’t, just borrow it from your neighbor (they owe ya for the weed whacker they borrowed).

Calcium Carbonate (Whiting)

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. 😁

Novacan Black Patina

Black Patina is going to make your solder lines black. It’s super caustic stuff though, so protect your eyeholes and wear your mask, gloves, & have great ventilation!

Novacan Copper Patina

Copper patina will turn your solder copper. Samesies on the black for the safety though…wear alllllll your PPE and have good ventilation too!

Kwik Clean Flux & Patina Cleaner

This stuff is fantastic for cleaning pieces too big to fit in the sink, & for getting great patina results.

Here’s a post on How to Get Rich, Deep Patina if you’re interested.

Extra Tools, Jigs & Other Fun Stuff for Making Stained Glass 

Quick Note: For a list of my favorite Safety Gear, check out my Stained Glass Safety page.

*I may receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase through these links. My integrity cannot be bought, so I will never link to anything I don’t love &/or know to be quality.

*We have an Exclusive Code for ya for anything from Creator’s Brand!

Use MWP10 for 10% off your entire order!*

LitEnergy Light Board

I use this board regularly when choosing glass colors (to see what will look good with what when the light shines through). I bought it because it’s a cheapie, figuring I’d be wrecking it while sliding glass around on it. I’m surprised to say it’s still going strong over a year later.

Creator’s Brand Tool Caddy (For Waffle Grid)

Creators Brand Tool Caddy for Waffle Grid System

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These little guys make storing tools in your waffle grid very handy.

Irwin Carpenter’s Square

This ruler is where it’s at for manually getting straight score lines. Quick Tip: Glue some cork board or yoga mat to the back to prevent it from slipping around on your glass.

Laminating Machine

I use this little machine for laminating my patterns so they last through a zillion tracing sessions.

It’s inexpensive & small. That’s all I got. 🙂

Beadsmith Micro Tool Kit

I have two sets of these: one at my soldering station & one for pre-making wirework. There’s a rosary pliers for making curves, and two smaller smooth jaw pliers for holding jump rings in place while you solder. The cutter is great for thin gauge wire.

Sharpie Ultra Fine Markers

You’ll get better fit with your pieces if you use an ultra fine marker to trace. The blue is easier to see on darker colored glass since it reflects a reddish/purple in the light. Also, blue is the best color in the world. Cuz I said so. 🙂

12″ Long Brass Rod 1/8″ diameter

These brass rods are great for making sturdy stained glass garden stakes. You’ll want to tin them before you attach them so they match your solder. Cuz you’re fancy.

12″ Long Brass Rod 3/32″ diameter

I use these brass rods for stained glass pot stakes. Little stuff like 3-4 inches or less. If you’re making larger ones, go for the 1/8″.

Color Magic Stained Glass & Metal Paint

I love Color Magic Glass Paint because you don’t have to bake it! The opacity is great (if you’re using the opaque) & they have transparent colors as well. This is a link to a single listing, but there are tons of colors. Franklin Art Glass, Warner Art Glass, & Timeless Tiffany all carry them as well.

Scotch Painter’s Tape

Ya may have some of this laying around the house. If ya don’t, this is what I use! Use it to hold your project together until you have it tacked (soldered in spots to keep the pieces from moving around).

Odome 12×12 Cork Board Tiles

These tiles are inexpensive alternative to waffle grids, soldering mats, & work well for fitting your pieces while grinding.

Where to Buy Stained Glass Sheets: Stained Glass Supply Shops

I highly recommend buying your art glass from Stained Glass Supply Shops. Big box stores often carry junky brands, and they don’t always handle the glass carefully, leading to micro-fractures.

You can get many of the tools & supplies you need from local shops, but since they all carry different things & may or may not have what you’re looking for, I’ve compiled this list so you can buy on amazon (many of which are from small glass businesses) & Creator’s Brand (a small business).

I have not shopped with all of these suppliers. The ones I haven’t, I’m listing based on recommendations from other stained glass artists, or those that have good ratings and/or have been in business for many years.

U.S.

East Coast

Warner Art Glass – PA

Rainbow Art Glass – Jersey Shore

Anything in Stained Glass – Maryland

Glasscrafters – Florida

Middle Chunk of the U.S.

Glass Supplies 41 – Colorado

AmeriGlas – Nebraska

Delphi Glass – Michigan – Ships Internationally

Franklin Art Glass – Ohio

Ed Hoy’s Art Glass Supplies – Illinois

West Coast & South West

Bullseye Glass – Oregon

SW Art Glass – Arizona ***They do flat rate shipping for $15 on some products in the continental U.S.***

Cavallini Glass – Texas

A&A Products – Texas

Harmony Glass – California

International

Most of the above do ship internationally. I will update as I find reputable recommendations outside the U.S. If you know of any, send me an email & I’ll check them out! 🙂

Pearsons Glass – U.K.

Safety Gear for Stained Glass

Imma get all serious here, just for a second (stay with me). There’s a lot of dangerous, not good, very bad info out there regarding safety in stained glass.

I back up the safety info I provide with solid research & science.

Please. Please. Please take safety seriously. Puuuuhleeeeeeeze. Ya only get one set of eyes, lungs, other internal organs, & fingers.

In fact, it’s is so freakin’ important, it gets its own page. Check out my Stained Glass Safety page for product links, SDS sheets, & other fun info.

Want to learn to make Stained Glass?

Get your FREE Beginner’s Guide with tips, steps, checklist & patterns.

2 thoughts on “Stained Glass Tools: My Favorites”

  1. I took one semester of stained glass in college, and I loved it!! I am currently converting the back bedroom of my house into a small stained glass studio. My grandma used to make stained glass, but now as arthritis in her fingers and can’t do it anymore. Fortunately, she donated her grinder, shoulder iron, and other supplies to help me get started. Eventually, I would like to buy more and newer supplies. This blog was very helpful! Thank you for taking time to create this page.

    Reply
    • I’m sorry grandma can’t do glass anymore, but how wonderful for her to share it with you! And yaaaay! I’m so glad the post helped you. Let me know if ya have any questions.😀

      Reply

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