Twelve Days of Christmas Jewelry Designs: 7 – Faux Stained Glass Soldered Ornaments

November 23, 2011

Capture the look of snow falling – even if it is raining outside!

Have you heard of Tim Holtz? If you make jewelry, perhaps not. However, he is wildly popular and famous amongst scrapbookers or mixed-media artists. Rings & Things started carrying some of his Idea-ology trinkets and components because they make fun additions to mixed-media designs (both jewelry and jewelry displays!). And then we added his line of alcohol inks because they can be used to colorize metal and other non-porous surfaces. And now we’ve added his acrylic paint dabbers. I watched his video on how to use the paint dabbers to create a resist for alcohol inks and was intrigued. Watch the video, you’ll see what I mean.

tim holtz headlock

Oh, boys.

So Tim – pictured above with our buyer Nory in a headlock! – demonstrates the inks on paper. I wanted to use the process on glass – specifically memory glass slides – in order to make a faux stained glass ornament. One of the coolest things about the alcohol inks is how you can blend them together. My theory was that if I did all my inking and painting on the inside surfaces of the glass, the colors would be safe from the ravages of time.

I gathered up a bunch of alcohol inks, the alcohol ink blending solution, glass tiles, rubber stamps and paint dabbers. Almost immediately I realized that inking and painting on glass is a lot different than working on paper. I messed up several of my first attempts but learned a bunch of things that should help the rest of you out:


Applying paint to the rubber stamp with a paint dabber was very clean and easy.


Here I stamped a bunch of red decorations on a piece of frosted memory glass, then added some blue alcohol ink. (I later destroyed this piece … you’ll see how with the poor birdie.)


Then on another piece I stamped a birdie with silver acrylic paint, then started applying alcohol ink.

alcohol inks on glass

Now the fun starts – mixing blues, greens and purples.

bye bye birdie

But then, disaster. The blending solution diluted both the alcohol inks and the acrylic paint bird. Guess the resist process doesn’t work on glass!

Lesson learned: glass doesn’t offer enough adhesion for the paint, so the resist process that works great on paper just washes away on glass. The same thing happened on frosted glass, except part on the paint stayed. Just a dirty shadow really – not a pretty effect at all! My back up plan was to ink one piece of glass and stamp on the second. I ended up inking one and stamping two (one clear and one frosted), which was overkill, but I like how it turned out.

inked glass tile

I love how the inks mix!


Glass is sufficiently stained with ink.


The tree is kind of hard to see on the white background.

After adding some stars, I had a combo I liked enough to solder together.

I wrapped the glass sandwich with copper foil tape and started soldering with the Simply Swank kit. (More detailed instructions here.)

soldered snowflake

The clip does a good job of protecting your fingers from the heat of the soldering iron – the glass heats up pretty quickly!


The completed ornament. This is the frosted side.

If you haven’t gotten one yet, I’d suggest adding a good quality soldering iron to your wish list! It is a gift that keeps on giving…giving you reasons to make creative handmade gifts and jewelry! ~ Cindy

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  • Judy A July 10, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    Love the effect! I have done alcohol inks on glass, but I usually ink the back, and then stamp a design on the front with Staz-on. I love the idea of using 2 pieces. This would also be neat with the yellows and reds, with an autumn leaf sealed in between the glass layers.
    If anybody is looking for glass, you can find the small Tim Holtz’ pieces at craft stores, but I also like to use microscope slides available from science stores.