Solder Technique Studio Tutorial and Giveaway!

A Note From Josie Cirincione:

I have a friend who is a textile artist. When she has a spark of an idea she envisions the process using fiber as her medium. That’s how I feel about soldering. I see things encased in glass or segments of glass soldered together to make a larger dimensional piece.

I am so excited about the release of my new book, Solder Technique Studio, and the opportunity to share with you everything that I have learned through the years, so I want to introduce you to the first building block in the process, “Learning how to cut straight lines.”  (Keep reading for details about the giveaway!)



(This tutorial was previously published in the book Solder Technique Studio by Giuseppina “Josie” Cirincione, copyright 2012; republished here courtesy of

Cutting Glass: Cutting Straight Lines

When cutting glass think of it as scoring a piece of paper. Once you get a feel of how much pressure you need to apply, it’s a fairly easy technique to master. If you plan on cutting multiple pieces of glass that need to
be the same size, look into a Morton glass cutting system. It’s essentially a jig for cutting glass. For more information and video tutorials, check out their site:

• Fine-tip Sharpie
• Metal ruler with corked back
• Glass
• Toyo pencil-grip glass cutter and cutting oil
• Safety glasses & gloves
• Cutting grid or piece of foam core larger than the glass
• Running pliers
• 200-grit diamond sanding sponge

• Make sure you wear safety glasses and gloves.

Step 1

Using your ruler and fine-tip Sharpie, measure 1″ (25mm) in from the outer edge of the glass. Mark it by making tick marks with the Sharpie. Repeat this measurement on the other edge of the glass. Loosen the top of the cutter to release the cutting oil. If you are getting too much oil, tighten it up a bit.



Step 2

Notice that the cutting wheel is in the center of the cutting head. Place the ruler a couple millimeters away from the tick marks. Place the wheel on the mark and adjust the ruler so that the wheel sits right on the mark and the edge of the ruler is touching the outside edge of the cutting head. The ruler is only used as a straight hard edge that will guide the cutter.




Step 3

Make the same adjustment at the top. Apply enough pressure on the ruler so it does not slide around on the glass. For good measure, place the wheel on the tick mark at the top and bottom just to make sure the ruler hasn’t moved. Grasp the cutter with the screw facing up. Hold the cutter like a pencil and hold it perpendicular to the glass. You can cut away from you or towards you—whatever feels most natural. Set the wheel on the tick line and drag the cutter along the edge of the ruler until you get to the opposite edge. Try not to go over the edge. You want to hear a zipping sound as you are cutting. If you have big chips in your score, you are pushing too hard.

Step 4

Put on your gloves and safety glasses. Grasp the glass on either side of the cut as if you were trying to break something in half with your two hands. You want to break away from the cut.




Step 5

Apply light pressure on each side of the cut. Keep your arms and elbows straight, then simply twist your wrists (your right wrist will turn clockwise and your left will turn counterclockwise), and snap.





Step 6

If you cut larger pieces of glass or need to break shapes out of
glass, use running pliers with an adjustment screw. Grasp the glass with the pliers and tighten the screw so the opening of the pliers is the same as the thickness of the glass. Remove the pliers from the glass. Loosen the screw a turn (to the left). Hold the running pliers with the line facing you and the bump on the bottom.


Step 6a

6a–Place the scored glass into the pliers (score facing you). Line up the score with the line mark on the top of the pliers and gently squeeze the pliers. The tightness of the screw should be relative to the thickness of the glass, so when you squeeze the pliers, the pressure forces the bump up under the score and snaps the glass.




Step 7

Depending on your cut, there may be some flares and sharp
edges. These can be extremely dangerous. If this happens, luckily it’s an easy fix. If you see any flares, brush over the edges of your freshly cut glass over with a 200-grit diamond sanding sponge like you would use an emery board.



Step 8

Even if you don’t have any flares, you should still round off the corners. When filing, sand in the same direction—don’t go back and forth. Sanding the corners is important not only for your safety, but also in later steps of the soldering process. When wrapping copper foil tape around the corners, there is less chance of puncturing the tape.



Note: When you are scoring the glass, you are essentially rearranging the glass’s molecules so that when you tighten on the glass, the glass snaps.

Contest Details

Now I want to hear from you, and I’m excited about teaming up with CreateMixedMedia for a giveaway! Leave a comment here by July 12, telling me how you enjoy using soldering as your medium or tell me what you would like to learn most about soldering glass. Two random winners will be drawn from everyone leaving a comment. One will receive a book and the other lucky winner will receive the pencil house that is featured on the book’s cover. I can’t wait to read your ideas!


To learn more about soldering or cutting glass, check out Josie’s book, Solder Technique Studio.

You might also enjoy:

Josie’s first two books, Collage Lost and Found and Bent, Bound and Stitched

Artist Profile: Josie Cirincione

Create an “Old” Book

You may also like these articles:

This entry was posted in Assemblage Art: Projects & Ideas, Make: Mixed Media Art Projects and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to Solder Technique Studio Tutorial and Giveaway!

  1. corkpop says:

    My problem with soldering is I want it to be perfect…because of thet, I tend to go over it and over it and over it until it is a mess and doesn’t even stick anymore. Then I realize it was fine the first time! I need to practice more and see step by step instructions. Since I’m disabled, I can’t attend classes so this book sounds perfect. Even if I don’t win it I will buy a copy soon.

  2. nancy lefko says:

    It is a goal of mine to learn to solder and make charms using my artwork…I love your work…I have your previous book & it’s a gem. Thanks for the opportunity to win 🙂

  3. Cherie says:

    I’m just starting with soldering, but I really love experimenting. I enjoy taking my original art and poetry and combining them into something cool, like a glass house or necklace. My problem is always getting the glass exactly straight! Frustrating!

  4. dkibbee says:

    I need to learn to make smoother solders and I can never never add a jump ring

  5. Jeannie says:

    I have only soldered to install a new valve in our sprinkler system. Not very exciting! LOL! I would love to learn how to cut glass and solder in a more artistic venue. Thanks for the chance!

  6. pinkdilla says:

    Every year I hang my 4 kids baby socks and booties on the Christmas trees. I would love to make small soldered Ornaments that would preserve them for a long time and encase them in beauty! They are really precious to me

  7. cathy ward says:

    I love to make jewelry using vintage ephemera and solder. I also struggle with attaching the jump ring. And finding the time to pull out all the soldering supplies to create! What a fun giveaway! Thanks

  8. lgmcat says:

    Have both of your previous books and love them Josie! I have never soldered, but I have always thought that smoothing out the edges would be a problem for me! Thanks for the opportunity.

  9. Scoobydo2u says:

    I have not had the chance to purchase your first book but can see now that I am going to have to add it to my library1 I have done alot of basic soldering (making resin filled bezels) but would like to expand my education about this technique. Thank You for the chance to win your new book or that wonderful piece of art ! That would look great in my studio !Can you be contacted by email > I am going to check to see if you have a blog as I have a couple of questions that I could use a little help on !
    Thank’s Again !

  10. krwebb says:

    I have not incorporated glass soldering into my repertoire yet, but is something that I am eager to learn. I love the 3d image at the top of the post … would love to learn more about techniques for building something like that.

  11. Erynn says:

    Attaching jump rings and getting smooth edges are challenging for me. I just need to get some more practice. Can’t wait to check out your new book. The other two were fantastic! Erynn

  12. Annie says:

    I took your class Soldering 101 on Saturday, Josie. You do a good job getting the info across. You anticipate what needs to be known by your students. As a result, I did not burn myself once, but, I did lose my pencil. I did not get a chance to get your book; it was sold out. Good for you! I am hoping that I can win a copy. The best of everything.

  13. ashleyweber says:

    I know the world of silver solder and metal… but soldering glass has always intrigued me. There’s something about work like Josie’s that just speaks to me. It feels like it is holding secrets like a relic from the past. The way the glass transforms the mixed media inside takes it so far past a collage. The beauty of saving important things/papers/pictures in something so artistic is just so wonderful to me… so much better than having them in a box or book.

  14. Cheryl Thorpe says:

    I love your work and own both of your books! I have been making soldered pendants for about 8 years. What I’d like to learn is how to make and build more 3-dimensional objects. Like your house, and some boxes. One of these days, I’ll make it out to Phoenix to maybe take a class from you!

  15. Rayo says:

    This is so interesting. I would love to win.

  16. CassidyRose says:

    I borrowed your book from a friend of mine and I am so excited to start making these projects! I feel like we see things the same way: encased in glass and soldered together. It is the only art form that feels natural to me. Learning to solder has been the best thing to happen in my life so far because there are no limits to what you can create! Your book has opened so doors and I just wanted to say thank you, thank you, thank you, for sharing your art with us!

  17. Josie, you taught me how to solder years ago, and I couldn’t have asked for a better teacher! You are patient and encouraging and teach in a clear and concise way. You created a monster ~ I LOVE to solder and do so whenever given a chance! Thanks for opening this door for me!

  18. halohill says:

    I -love- to solder! I am limited though to glass shapes that I can buy, (a very small selection). I’ve tried glass cutting before, but I just can’t get the hang of it. Kind of scary. I’d like to learn to cut tiny pieces, and also larger ones with curves. And I -ADORE- your pencil house!!


  19. dragolin says:

    I love solder old object to make them into other things. I solder a lot of scrabble pieces and other wood items.

  20. CarolElliott says:

    I really enjoyed the book and the step by step instructions. It is just like having you here. My biggest problem is still adding the jump rings on the top of my projects. I know, practice, practice, practice. Thanks, Josie, for a great book.

  21. lssphx says:

    I have the book, but have lusted after the pencil house since I first set eyes on it… I’ve already dusted (dusted – me???) a place off on my art display shelves, so if there is a God, I’ll win it!

  22. bswampler says:

    Josie, your work is always wonderful, as are your books.
    Glass. Love it. Can’t get enough of it.
    What I have learned…..good tools are worth the money.
    What I haven’t learned……patience, and how to not burn myself.
    Maybe you can teach me that, along with how to solder rounded lines.
    Thanks Josie!

  23. rubyfan2 says:

    Your book – FANTASTIC – I received my order Saturday and just spent an hour reading it – GREAT PROJECTS!!!!!
    I did a glass book with you at AU years ago – you were the one who taught me true soldering so thank you. I did my own banner – not as great as the T in your book, but I used the aluminum sheeting for the backside of it to make it lighter (spelled BOO with 3 pieces!).
    I have loved and wanted that school house since some lady beat me to your one at AU one year! Thanks for making that a project in the book.
    Now what would I like – well is there any way to make a book with glass that has replaceable pages?

  24. OutAndAboutGirls says:

    Oh My – “stained glass” soldering gives you options for temperature sensitve materials (cloth, paper, etc) that “traditional” metalsmith soldering doesn’t. As a girl that loves Found Objects and text it’s a perfect outlet! Josie is so clever, she shows how you can use color photo copies and never give up or endanger the original — and no one is the wiser! I’s a great process that doesn’t require much equipment or space but delivers! Get the book and discover the many creative paths you can take.

  25. Starlit143 says:

    I seen you on Craft Lab with Jennifer perkins years ago making your Gasket Material Secret Book,, (which just aired again) I loved your style and started researching you.. I got your first book and fell in love with your style even more.. Thats how I fell in love with soldering. though I am a newbie at this and just learning.. So many options to play with and I have so much to learn… I love the look of soldering..How clean the lines can be…How creative you can be making items with your own art work instead of something factory made. I want to make charms and boxes with clean fresh lines but no where near that yet but I keep trying and can’t wait to learn more. Thank for this opportunity to win your recent book or a piece of your fabulous art work.

  26. ShannonM816 says:

    I’ve taken a few soldering classes, but still need practice. I’d like to learn more, especially with glass cutting, and how to make my soldered pieces really look professional, since I still end up with glops of solder in places that I have trouble getting rid of.

  27. michele says:

    This is absolutely amazing and your directions are so easy! I like to dabble in almost any mixed media. What I truely love is that the materials and directions are easily obtainable and it is not going to break my bank! lolol THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE OPPORTUNITY IN POSSIBLY WINNING THE GIVEAWAY. I know what I’m doing this weekend and I honestly cannot wait to create!

  28. debwinstew says:

    I am eager to try soldering. I can cut glass so that is the next step. I like the box shown and can’t wait to learn more. Please enter my name in the contest for the book or the great art work. Thank you!!

  29. donnajoy says:

    Tried soldering in the past, but wasn’t happy with the results. Need more direction so i can incorporate
    into my mixed media pieces!