Stained Glass Art Tools & Supplies for Beginners

There are a zillion and a half tools & supplies out there to help you make stained glass art, and it can be confusing to know what to get as a beginner stained glass artist.

Tools for Making Stained Glass Art Mountain Woman Products

Fortunately, you’ll only need a few to get started.

Essential Tools & Supplies for Stained Glass Art

There are a lot of brands & options for tools & supplies, but these are my very favorite for beginners.

Quick Note on Pricing: If you’re super worried about pricing & want to shop around, your closest glass supplier may or may not have better prices than those you find listed here. Because shipping costs can be high in general, you very well may do better shopping for any of the Creator’s Brand Tools with our exclusive (we’re fancy like that) coupon code which includes a sitewide discount & $5 flat shipping on your whole order on their site. I highlighted the coupon info on each of their tools below.

Cutting (Scoring) Tools

**I may receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase through these links. My integrity cannot be purchased, so I will only recommend things I use/love/know to be quality (unless I directly tell ya otherwise).

Hummingbird Handheld Glass Cutter

creators brand hummingbird glass cutter

Use our Exclusive code: MWP5 for 5% off & $5 flat rate shipping on your entire order!

This is my favorite handheld cutter. There are two main kinds of cutters: Pistol Grip & Pencil Grip. The Pistol Grip is easy to hold, but harder to control. The Pencil Grip is harder on your wrist, but easier to control.

The Hummingbird is like a Pistol & Pencil Grip had a lovechild. Easy to hold. Easy to control.

And look how freakin’ cute it is!!!

Creator’s Brand Waffle Grid Cutting Surface

creators brand waffle grid glass cutting surface with cut pieces of blue glass on it

Use our Exclusive code: MWP5 for 5% off & $5 flat rate shipping on your entire order!

You don’t neeeeed a waffle grid to start making Stained Glass, but since so many people ask me about mine, here it is!

A piece of yoga mat, a cork board, or even a stack of packing paper work just fine when you’re first starting out.

Food Grade Mineral Oil

Stained glass oil is expensive. Food grade mineral oil works great!

You might well have this at home already. Or, you can also buy any brand at your local pharmacy or grocery store.

Just be sure it’s 100% pure food grade & you’re good to go.

Schwer Cut Resistant Gloves

If you’re nervous about getting cut while working with your glass, these are great! I use them while grinding.

Cut Resistant Finger Cots

These don’t last as long as the cut resistant gloves, but because they only cover your fingers, you have a bit more dexterity. I use them while grinding too.

Running, Breaking, & Grozing Pliers

**I may receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase through these links. My integrity cannot be purchased, so I will only recommend things I use/love/know to be quality (unless I directly tell ya otherwise).

Dragon Brand 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 Breaker Grozer 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 Breaker Grozer 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.

Grinding for Stained Glass

**I may receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase through these links. My integrity cannot be purchased, so I will only recommend things I use/love/know to be quality (unless I directly tell ya otherwise).

Gryphon Gryphette Glass Grinder

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.

Grinder Surround

gryphon studio stained glass grinder with creators brand waffle grid as a water surround

Use our Exclusive code: MWP5 for 5% off & $5 flat rate shipping on your entire order!

You can use an old fish aquarium or an old tote as a grinder surround if you like. The waffle grid is made to be used as a cutting surface, but it works great to make your own grinder surround too (mine is pictured above).

Foiling Tools & Supplies

**I may receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase through these links. My integrity cannot be purchased, so I will only recommend things I use/love/know to be quality (unless I directly tell ya otherwise).

Fid

This is my favorite type of fid. You’ll be using it to burnish your foil on your glass. It’s easy to hold & the tapered end is really helpful for working the foil in on tear repairs.

Olfa Stainless Utility Knife

If ya don’t already have an X-acto knife or small craft knife laying around the house, get this one.

Because it’s small, it’s easy to hold & maneuver, and I’m a fan of the inline blade storage.

Edco 1/4″ Silver Back Foil

7/32″ foil is common in stained glass, but I recommend this 1/4″ for beginners.

Why? Cuz it leaves room for extra trimming until you get practiced at perfectly centering your foil. And, it’s still thin enough that it doesn’t overwhelm the look of your finished piece.

Soldering Tools & Supplies for Stained Glass

**I may receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase through these links. My integrity cannot be purchased, so I will only recommend things I use/love/know to be quality (unless I directly tell ya otherwise).

Hakko 601-02 Soldering Iron

***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.

If you want to solder well…Get. This. Iron. I cheaped out on an iron when I first started, verrrrry quickly regretted that decision, & ran out to buy this one.

The 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.

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.

Soldering Mat

If you happen to have some corkboard or an old ceiling tile laying around the house, you can use either of those as your soldering mat when you’re starting out.

If ya don’t, this mat is what I use. It’s a dog food mat! But it’s heat resistant silicone and the lip around the edges prevents hot solder bb’s from landing in your lap! Which makes it perfect as a stained glass soldering mat.

Pick whatever size works for your space.

Clamps for Soldering

Since burns on your fingers suck, you’ll need either some sort of clamp or heat resistant gloves for soldering. I use these little clamps every day.

Canfield Blu-Glass Flux

There is no safe flux. Because your face is close to what you’re soldering (high concentration of fumes right in your face), & we all don’t have PPM air testers, you always need to wear your P100 mask and have great ventilation. But…this is a no- acid “safer” flux. It’s my favorite & it works with lead or lead-free solder.

Amerway 60/40 Lead Solder

Traditional solder for stained glass is comprised of 60% Tin & 40% Lead.

I’m a fan of the Amerway brand because they keep super high standards for metal purity which makes it some of the nicest solder to work with.

Amerway Ruby Lead Free Solder

This is, hands down, the very best lead free solder I’ve ever worked with (& I work almost exclusively with lead free).

It flows the best of any kind I’ve ever tried. If you want to make jewelry, kaleidoscopes, or anything that will be handled with any regularity, ya need to use lead-free.

Flux Brushes

Q-tips work okay in a pinch for flux, but these are your best bet. You can control the amount of flux you’re getting on your project better & they don’t leave any little cotton fuzzies in their wake.

Arcor Tinned Copper Wire

You can buy premade jump rings or you can make your own hangers & jump rings out of copper electrical wire if you have some laying around (you’ll need to tin it yourself first).

This stuff saves the tinning step & isn’t much more than untinned wire.

Finishing & Caring for Stained Glass

**I may receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase through these links. My integrity cannot be purchased, so I will only recommend things I use/love/know to be quality (unless I directly tell ya otherwise).

You’ll need to polish & wax your finished stained glass art. If ya don’t, your solder will get the dreaded “white mold”, a.k.a. oxidation (it’s not actually fungus). Once that eeeeeevil not-fungus sets in, your solder will both lose its shine & begin to slowly lose its structural integrity (kinda like when your car rusts over time-eeeek!).

Mother’s Carnauba Wax

Stained Glass Wax is expensive. You can use any 100% 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

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: It looks like mousse, but it doesn’t taste like mousse. I know because I ate it once. Quit yer giggling…it was an accident! 🙂 Just take my word for it. Don’t eat it.

Glass

Oceanside brand is one of the least expensive glasses available & it’s the easiest to cut & break. I use it all the time. Wissmach brand comes in second on price & ease of cutting/breaking.

I highly recommend you buy your glass from a Stained Glass Supply Shop.

Here’s why:

  • Glass sold by big box & craft stores is often poor quality
  • Glass if fragile (probably didn’t hafta mention that), which means it requires professional handling & packaging. Glass Supply Shop employees are pros at that. Big box stores? Not so much.
  • When glass isn’t handled & shipped properly, it can develop micro-fractures. Ya can’t see them, but those little fractures make for wild breaks at best & at worst, they make a nice little crrrrrracking sound when ya start soldering. Eeeek!
  • Glass is freakin’ heavy to ship! To keep shipping costs down, buy from the Glass Supply Shop nearest you to you geographically.

There’s a list of local Glass Supply Stores below.

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).

Safety Equipment

Safety in stained glass is craaaaaaazy important. And there is a ton of dangerous, misguided info about safety out there.

In fact, it’s is so important, it gets its own page. So pleaaaaaaaase, please, please, for your own good, check out my Stained Glass Safety page for info, product links, SDS sheets, & other fun info.

Ya only get one set of eyes, lungs, other internal organs, & fingers.

Can I just buy a Beginner Stained Glass Kit?

If price isn’t as much of a concern for ya, absolutely! They’re usually more expensive than buying things separately & often contain things ya don’t really need, but they are convenient. Just make sure it comes with a Hakko 601 soldering iron. It’s going to make your soldering life soooooooooo much smoother.

copper foil fid stained glass tools Mountain Woman Products

Stained Glass Suppliers & Shops

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.

East Coast

Warner Art Glass – PA

Rainbow Art Glass – Jersey Shore

Anything in Stained Glass – Maryland

Middle Chunk of the U.S.

Glass Supplies 41 – Colorado

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

Harmony Glass – California

International

Most of the above do ship internationally. Will update as I find reputable recommendations outside the U.S.

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