Stained glass pliers

A Beginner’s Guide to Stained Glass Supplies and Tools


If you need help figuring out which tools and supplies you need for stained glass art, you have come to the right place! Soon you will be prepared to dive right into the magical world of stained glass!

Crafting with glass is an incredibly fun and rewarding hobby that lets your creativity shine! But before you start cutting and soldering, you need to gear up with the right materials and tools.

Having quality tools and supplies makes learning stained glass techniques so much easier and more enjoyable. It helps ensure your finished pieces look amazing too.

In this beginner’s guide, I’ll walk you through all the essential stained glass supplies you need to get started. I’ll explain what each item is used for and why it’s important. And I’ll recommend high-quality options to check out. Let’s get crafting!


Stained Glass Starter Kits

Want to hit the ground running? Consider a convenient all-in-one stained glass starter kit. These kits contain all the basic tools and materials in one box:

  • Glass cutter, running pliers, grozing pliers
  • Grinder, eye protection
  • Soldering iron with stand, solder, flux, brush
  • Copper foil, burnisher, glass sheets
  • Instruction manual and instructional DVD

A starter kit like this top-rated one provides everything you need to start creating right away. Just open it up and dive in!

Check the price and features of this premium beginners kit (Amazon Link)

Beginners kit of stained glass tools and supplies


Now let’s look at the core supplies for making stained glass masterpieces…


Cutting Tools: Slice, Nip & Break

Quality cutting tools help you accurately cut your glass pieces to size. Here are the essentials:

Glass Cutter

This handheld tool scores the glass so it snaps when you break it. A comfortable grip style is best for beginners.

Grozing Pliers

The serrated jaws let you nibble off small pieces for detail work.

Running Pliers

Use these to cleanly “run” and separate the glass along the scored line.

Breaker/Grozer Combo Pliers

Does two jobs in one with flat grozing jaws and curved breaking jaws.

An all-in-one cutter and plier set like this one equips you with all the slicing and breaking tools you need. The compact case keeps everything organized too.

Check the price of this tool set including a cutter and pliers (Amazon Link).

Beginners tool set of cutters and pliers for stained glass

Smoothing and Filing Tools

Once your glass pieces are cut, you’ll need to smooth any sharp edges or rough spots. Here are some essential smoothing tools:


Glass Grinder

An electric glass grinder uses diamond-coated grinding heads to quickly sand and shape cut glass edges. Look for a grinder with interchangeable heads in different grit sizes. Variable speed settings are useful too. A quality starter grinder like this one makes edge smoothing a breeze.

Check the price of this grinder (Amazon Link)

Beginners grinder tool for stained glass crafts

Abrasive Stone

This manual rubbing stone functions like extra coarse sandpaper for evening out rough edges on glass. Keep one on hand for quick smoothing jobs.

Check the price of this abrasive stone (Amazon Link)

Abrasive stone tool for beginners in stained glass crafts

Safety Gear

Protective eyewear, a respirator and ear protection are good insurance against the hazards of working with glass, especially grinding. A protective starter set like this is a smart buy for every stained glass crafter.

Check the price of this multi-piece grinding safety set (Amazon Link)

Beginners safety tool set

First Aid

Keep bandages, antibiotic cream, tweezers, gloves, and other first aid supplies nearby to treat any minor cuts. Safety first!

Check the price of this first aid kit (Amazon Link)

Beginners first aid safety kit

Soldering Supplies

Now it’s time to join all those glass pieces together! Here are the key soldering supplies you’ll need:

Soldering Iron

Look for a temperature adjustable iron between 75-150 watts. Variable heat ensures control on different thickness glass. Opt for a screwdriver or pen-style grip.

The two most recommended soldering irons for stained glass crafters are the Weller 100 and the Hakko FX-601.

Check the price of the Weller 100 soldering iron (Amazon Link)

Weller soldering iron tool
Check the price of the Hakko FX-601 soldering iron (Amazon Link)


Hakko soldering iron tool



60/40 tin/lead ratio solder is commonly used. It has a low melting point good for stained glass. Canfield is a quality US-made solder brand.

Check price of Canfield solder (Amazon Link).

Canfield is a quality solder

I wrote a detailed post on soldering techniques and troubleshooting. Find it here.


Applied to the glass before soldering, flux allows the solder to flow smoothly and adhere properly. Ruby flux is available as liquid or a paste and works great.

Check the price of Ruby flux (Amazon Link)

Flux is used in soldering

Flux Remover

Use flux remover spray to eliminate any cloudy residue left behind after soldering. Apply outside and let it sit for a few minutes before wiping away. I recommend Kwik Clean flux remover spray.


Check the price of Kwik Clean flux remover spray (Amazon Link)

Removes excess flux from glass craft work

Soldering Stand

This practical accessory holds the hot iron securely when not in use. Some soldering irons come with a basic stand.

Other Stained Glass Materials

Here are some other essential materials for building and embellishing your projects:

Glass Sheets

Purchase colored glass individually or in multi-sheet packs. Textured glass like cathedral, rippled, or fused glass adds interest too. Inspect sheets in person if possible to see the colors accurately.

Check the price of a glass pack (Amazon Link).

Colored glass is a material used in stained glass


Glass Bevels and Jewels

These are pre-cut glass pieces that help to capture light in fascinating new ways.


A link to my post entitled Exploring Glass which is about glass types, textures, colors and suitability for projects, is located here: Exploring Glass


Copper Foil

Apply this self-adhesive foil along the edges of glass pieces before soldering them together. Different width options are available.

Check the price of copper foil (Amazon Link).

Copper foil is used to solder glass pieces together


Lead Came

These H-shaped strips frame and reinforce joined glass pieces. Bendable lead came adds stability and structure.


 Check lead came pricing (Amazon Link).

  Lead came sections used in stained glass windows

Patina and Polish

Patina adds color while polish creates shine and reflectivity on finished solder lines. Apply with a small brush for detailing.

Check the price of Novacan black patina (Amazon Link).

Patina is used to color solder beads on stained glass projects

Design Software

Take advantage of this online tool to design, adjust, and print out patterns. I highly recommend Rapid Resizer. Play the video below for a short introduction to its features.

Rapid Resizer: Print patterns exactly to any size


Instructional materials

Stained Glass Basics is a great book to learn stained glass techniques.

Check price for Stained Glass Basics (Amazon Link)

Stained glass basics book is a great tool for beginners

Where to Buy Stained Glass Supplies

You can purchase stained glass tools, materials, and starter kits both online and locally:

Online: Amazon, eBay, specialty glass shops

Local: Craft stores, art supply stores, specialty glass shops

If you are lucky enough to have a stained glass shop near you be sure to stop in. Local stained glass stores are the best.

They carry a wide array of tools and supplies for glass crafts and you get to see the colored glass in person before you buy it. Stained glass craft stores are a great information resource and may host workshops.

Plan Your Stained Glass Masterpiece

Now that you’re armed with all the essential stained glass supplies and tools, it’s time to start creating! Plan out your stained glass project and required materials before getting started. Search for inspiration online and in books. Consider taking a beginner’s skills class for hands-on practice too.

Stained glass allows you to translate your wildest visions into tangible pieces of wearable, displayable art. With quality materials and tools, patience, and a passion for crafting, you can create stained glass magic! Just take it slow, embrace mistakes as learning opportunities, and most importantly – have fun!