How to Make a Stained Glass Kaleidoscope

Use mirrors, glass and faceted beads to create a stunning kaleidoscope.

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Materials and Tools:

clear glass
colored glass (the color of your choice)
glass grinder
glass-breaking pliers
glass cutter
copper foil
brass rod (available at stained-glass stores)
soldering iron and solder
flux
mirror kit
disc kit
colorful jewels (faceted beads)
decorative copper or brass elements (for legs and decoration)
patina solution
straightedge
black permanent marker
safety glasses
fid
paintbrush
masking tape
felt circles
rubber gloves
sponge

Steps:

1. Measure and mark three 1-by-8-inch strips on the back of the colored glass, using a straightedge and a black permanent marker.

2. Wearing safety glasses, score the marked lines with a glass cutter. Break the glass on the scored lines with glass-breaking pliers.

3. Smooth the rough edges with a glass grinder.

4. Cover the edges of each glass strip with copper foil. Burnish the edges of the copper foil with a fid.

5. Prepare to join the three glass strips into a triangle to form the base of the kaleidoscope by placing them lengthwise with copper edges together. Place an extra strip of copper foil along each joint where two edges meet. Apply flux to the copper-foiled edges with a brush.

6. Join the three glass strips together in the shape of a triangle using solder and a soldering iron. Leave 1 inch open on one for the brass rod that holds the discs containing the colorful jewels.

7. Place the brass rod along the top edge on the open end and solder it in place.

8. Score and break a triangular piece of clear glass the size of the end of the kaleidoscope base for the eyepiece. Grind the edges smooth. Wrap the edges with copper foil. Apply flux and solder the eyepiece to the end of the kaleidoscope base opposite the brass rod.

9. Apply flux and solder to the decorative leg elements and the two sun elements so that a patina can be applied later.

10. Solder one of the legs to each side of the kaleidoscope base near the edge with the brass rod. Solder one sun design element to each glass side of the kaleidoscope base.

11. To create the jeweled discs, use a disc kit and follow the manufacturer's directions to adhere the brass eyes together on each end of a disc. Clean the disc thoroughly and place jewels, stones and sea glass inside the discs.

12. Hold the discs together and apply copper foil to the edges. Apply flux and solder the edges together.

13. To assemble the mirrors, cut three ¾-by-7½-inch strips from the mirror kit. Lay the pieces of mirror in a line, almost touching each other, along a piece of masking tape. Fold the mirrors in to make a triangle with the mirrors facing inward. Tape the mirror triangle with three or four pieces of masking tape.

14. Apply adhesive-backed felt circles to the back of each mirror panel. Slide the mirrors inside the glass triangle.

15. Wearing rubber gloves, apply patina solution to the solder with a sponge. Rub it to polish.

16. Slide the discs onto the brass rod and secure with the brass nut included with the kit.

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