edge using hobby came
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Using Hobby Came on your Stained Glass Projects


Elevate your stained glass projects with the versatile charm of hobby came. In this article, delve into the benefits and significance of incorporating hobby came, also known as round U came, to add a distinctive border to your creations. Whether you’re crafting suncatchers or intricate stained glass panels, hobby came brings a clean, sleek finish that enhances the visual appeal of your projects.

Sizing and Shaping Lead Came for Glasswork

There are different types and widths of lead channels, manufactured to fit snugly between and around glass. As you continue to learn about making stained glass, you’ll discover that assembled leaded glasswork includes the cut and shaped glass pieces surrounded by came strips.

An H-shaped piece of came slides between two individual glass pieces in a panel, while a straightforward U shape frames the outside edges. Selecting the proper size came ensures a tight fit without crushing the glass. Came is available in different lead content for flexibility – higher lead makes softer came that’s easier to bend around curves.

When sizing came, account for the glass thickness and gap allowance. For example, two 3mm glass pieces need an H-came about 6mm wide. Many crafters build suncatchers that combine foiled glass technique with hobby came used as a border. Either way, the joints are soldered together to bind the sections and complete the assembly. Properly sized and shaped lead came creates clean lines and prevents gaps in your stained glass projects.

Hobby came bordering a suncatcher

Safety First

When working with lead, prioritizing safety is paramount. Follow these essential guidelines to ensure a secure and enjoyable creative process:

  • Wash hands thoroughly after handling lead. Avoid eating, drinking, or smoking during the process.
  • Wear protective gear, including gloves, clothing, eye protection, and face protection.
  • Steer clear of lead dust or fumes, which can be harmful if inhaled or swallowed.
  • Refer to the safety data sheet on lead before use for comprehensive safety information.

Remember, a safe workspace ensures your artistic journey remains both enjoyable and risk-free.

Why is lead used to make came?

Softness of Lead:

Lead serves as a preferred material for came due to its inherent softness. This characteristic makes it more pliable than zinc, allowing for easy manipulation, cutting, and bending during the stained glass crafting process.

Flexibility Advantage:

In addition to its softness, lead boasts superior flexibility compared to zinc. This flexibility plays a crucial role in adapting to the curves and contours of stained glass projects. The ease with which lead can be shaped enhances its suitability for various artistic designs.

Affordability and Durability:

Lead emerges as a favorable choice not only for its malleability but also for being cost-effective and durable. Its affordability makes it accessible to artisans, while its durability ensures the longevity of the finished stained glass pieces.

Zinc’s Rigidity:

Conversely, zinc, while lacking the softness of lead, compensates with unparalleled rigidity. This characteristic becomes advantageous when crafting borders for heavier, straight-sided stained glass panels. The rigid nature of zinc provides stability and support, especially in projects with substantial weight.

Hobby came vs. lead came

Hobby came consists mainly of metals other than lead. The most common metals used in hobby came are:

Brass – An alloy of copper and zinc. Brass hobby came provides an attractive golden color.

Copper – Pure copper provides a reddish-orange color. It is malleable and durable.

Zinc – Zinc came is silver in color. Zinc is lighter than other metals used in hobby came.

Aluminum – Aluminum is sometimes used as well. It is lightweight and silver/gray in color.

In contrast, traditional lead came is made from lead alloy with a high lead content. This gives lead came its soft, flexible properties that work well for stained glass.

Hobby came avoids lead due to its toxicity. Brass, copper and zinc are all safer metals to work with. They produce came that is more rigid than lead, limiting hobby came to smaller projects. But the color and lower cost of hobby came makes it ideal for stained glass crafts and suncatchers where less shaping is required.

So in summary, hobby came gets its name from using “hobby metals” – brass, copper, zinc – rather than true lead came used in leaded glass windows. The lack of lead makes hobby came more rigid but also safer for hobbyists and DIY crafters.

FeatureHobby CameLead Came
CompositionMade primarily of brass, copper, or zincMade from lead alloy with high lead content
FlexibilityLower lead content makes it more rigidSofter and more flexible than hobby came
Ideal ProjectsUsed for craft projects like suncatchers and small panelsUsed for larger stained glass windows
SizesComes in limited sizes, usually 3/16″ or 1/4″Comes in many sizes from 3/32″ up to 1″
CostLower cost and more widely availableMore expensive but preferred for structural glasswork
FinishesCan be antique, tinned, or patina finished


glass with lead and foil


Is there lead free hobby came?

Yes, there is a product called Diamond lead free hobby came that’s made by Canfield. It is lighter and firmer than lead, yet still pliable and very easy to work with.

Canfields lead free hobby came has a low melting temperature of 440 degrees F, and needs a low temp solder. It has a shiny silver color. Here is a link to the Canfield product page.

Using simple edge came or hobby came gives your projects a sleek, consistent look, starting with the smallest hanging panels. Zinc and lead are both available in multiple sizes to meet your needs.

Lead is stored on plastic reels, which makes it very convenient. Zinc is too stiff to be shipped on a reel, and is typically sold in 6 foot lengths with higher shipping costs.

Is lead came stronger than copper foil?

In short, yes it is. Copper foil is commonly used in stained glass creations that are smaller than windows, giving adequate strength, with optional reinforcement where needed. But, with exposure to the elements, the foil adhesive will eventually fail, leaving the piece vulnerable to damage.

Larger, heavier stained glass construction such as full sized stained glass windows require lead came for its strength and long-term durability. Large leaded glass windows require some method of reinforcement. While lead usually does stretch to some degree over time under the heavy weight of large panels, it still ranks as the stronger construction method.

Projects Ideal for Hobby Came

Discover the versatility of hobby came by incorporating it into various stained glass projects. Here’s a curated list of project types that best suit the characteristics of hobby came:

  1. Suncatchers: Ideal for adding a decorative border to capture and refract sunlight.
  2. Small Hanging Panels: Perfect for enhancing the edges of compact stained glass panels.
  3. Stained Glass Night Lights: Adds a sleek finish to illuminate small, artistic night light designs.
  4. Holiday Ornaments: Useful for crafting festive ornaments with a smooth, finished edge.
  5. Lamps: Enhances the aesthetic of lampshades, providing a clean and polished look.
  6. Boxes: Adds a decorative touch to stained glass boxes, complementing intricate designs.
  7. Clocks: Perfect for framing the edges of stained glass clock faces.
  8. Picture Frames: Enhances the borders of stained glass picture frames for a polished appearance.

Utilize hobby came to bring a consistent and sleek finish to these diverse stained glass projects, showcasing its adaptability across various artistic endeavors.

Hobby came best practices

  1. Stretching for Smoother Lines: Stretching, or straightening, your hobby came is essential to eliminate any wrinkles or kinks that may appear. This process not only contributes to smoother lines in the finished piece but also prevents lead from unintentionally stretching during the project.
  2. Adaptability of Lead for Irregular Shapes: Lead is well-suited for irregularly shaped pieces, easily bending into place to accommodate the intricacies of your stained glass design. In contrast, zinc came’s stiffness makes it more suitable for edges with gentle curves or straight lines.
  3. Precise Cutting and Wrapping: Cut the hobby came to the required length, wrapping it around your project. Tuck and press the came into crevices along the edges, ensuring a snug fit. Solder at each junction of lead, copper, or solder for secure connections.
  4. Strategic Soldering for Support: Attach hanging rings to the corners whenever possible, distributing the weight to be supported by the vertical lines. Identify junctions where foil or lead lines meet the outside perimeter to provide maximum support for the hanging rings.
  5. Enhancing Edges with Zinc Came: Consider using wide and strong zinc came to finish the edge of a large window or panel, offering an upgrade to the softer lead. This strategic use of zinc contributes to the overall durability and structural integrity of your stained glass creation.
HOW TO - Attaching Lead Hobby Came to a Stained Glass Suncatcher

Adding Patina to hobby came

For good results applying patina to lead or zinc hobby came follow these guidelines:

Clean the hobby came thoroughly first using a flux remover or abrasive cleaner like Soft Scrub to remove residue and oxidation. Apply the patina soon after soldering, within 1-2 weeks before oxidation sets in.

Wet the came first with clean filtered (or distilled) water before applying patina. Use a designated patina brush and scrub it on evenly. Zinc came will take more effort to darken.

Repeat applications and scrubbing may be needed. Use extra patina on any stubborn spots and scrub longer to get an even color. Sunlight can help the chemical reaction.

Rinse thoroughly after patinating and let dry fully. Do a final rinse with distilled water. Once dry, apply a light wax sealant to protect the patina finish.

Take your time applying patina evenly across all surfaces. Proper cleaning before and after will help black patina take evenly. Reapply to light spots.

Getting a nice finish with copper patina on lead or zinc hobby came can be challenging. Use copper came rather than lead if possible. Lead does not accept copper patina well.

Zinc will work but copper came works best. For stubborn spots on zinc that won’t accept the copper patina well, you can use a copper paint pen to touch up those areas.

For more detail on working with patina, read this post:

“Finishing Stained Glass with Patina”

Does lead always need to be stretched?

Hobby came size charts

Explore the variety of hobby came sizes available to suit your stained glass projects. The following table provides a clear overview of different sizes along with brief descriptions for each:

Common WidthsDescription
3/8 inch (9.5 mm)Ideal for adding a substantial border to stained glass projects, offering a bold and prominent look
1/4 inch (6.4 mm)Versatile size suitable for various applications, providing a balanced finish for smaller projects
3/16 inch (4.8 mm)This slim came is often used for small projects like suncatcher designs, offering a subtle and refined border.

Choose the hobby came size that aligns with the scale and intricacy of your stained glass creation, ensuring a polished and well-proportioned final result.

Detailed lead size info available here (link) through Creative Glass Guild.

As an example this is from the description on Delphi Glass (link):

Who makes lead came?

  • Canfield Technologies of Sayreville, NJ
  • Mayco Industries, Birmingham, AL
  • Gauthier Non-Ferrous Products, Montreal, QC
  • Cascade Metals, Vancouver, BC  – (link) to their product page
  • DHD Metals, Conyers, GA
  • Heaps, Arnold & Heaps, LTD, South Yorkshire, UK
  • ItalSolder, Lima, Peru
  • Mayer Alloys, Ferndale, MI

Window being finished

Where can I buy hobby came?

I suggest you shop local and help support a nearby glass shop if you can. Many online retail options are available, of course.

  • Delphi Glass
  • AnythinginStainedGlass.com
  • StainedGlassforless.com
  • CreativeGlassGuild.co.uk
  • DLArtGlass.com
  • EdHoy.com
  • Amazon
  • Ebay



In conclusion, exploring the world of hobby came in stained glass projects unveils a range of creative possibilities. From enhancing the edges of suncatchers to providing structural support for small hanging panels, hobby came brings versatility to your artistic endeavors. Embracing best practices, such as stretching for smoother lines and strategic soldering, ensures a seamless integration of hobby came into your projects.

Remember, hobby came sizes offer flexibility, allowing you to tailor the border to the scale and intricacy of your design. Whether you’re working with lead for its softness or incorporating zinc for added strength, understanding the characteristics of each material empowers you to make informed choices in your stained glass creations.

In the realm of stained glass artistry, hobby came emerges not just as a border but as a tool to elevate your projects, offering a clean and polished finish. Try out hobby came on your next piece to enhance its structure, artistry, and shine.