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How to Make a Tiffany Lamp

Louis Comfort Tiffany began his career as a painter. But when traveling in Europe, he became influenced by medieval and ancient stained glass windows. He began experimenting with glass making and also chemistry. In 1890s, he created Tiffany Glass & Decorating Company and the Tiffany Studios, and his stained glass work became much sought after. You can create a Tiffany lamp of your own and create your own glowing work of art that may last through ages.

Look at Louis Comfort Tiffany's works. You can find great examples at the Corning Museum of Glass or the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Pick out a design that you like.

Decide on the shape of your Tiffany lamp. Some of the famous Tiffany lamps were curved, but for the purposes of this article, attention will be paid to the trapezoidal shade.

Study the design and try drawing it on graph paper. If you are very adept at working with stain glass, you can probably keep your design as close to the original as possible. However, if you are not very adept, try to simplify the design to make it easier for you to translate into stained glass. Cut out the designs you made and trace them onto cardboard for a pattern, or trace them directly onto your work table. Make a list of the colors or even label the individual pattern pieces with the colors they need to be to create your Tiffany lamp shade.

Get glass that matches the colors you picked for your Tiffany lamp shade. Lay down each color on your work table over the place where it should appear in the traced design (see Step 3).

Cut out each piece of glass according to the design by drawing your cutting knife very steadily and deliberately across the glass. You will know if you are making good cuts if the knife blade makes a consistent scratching sound the entire time you're cutting the glass. When you are finished cutting the glass, grasp the glass on either side of the cut and gently but firmly pull the glass apart. The glass should separate easily. Lay out each piece of glass like a puzzle on your work table when you finish cutting each piece. The four panels will resemble four petals of a flower.

Wrap foil around each individual piece of glass. The foil will help secure the solder and flux to the glass.

Lay your Tiffany lamp pieces together so that the foil-covered edges are touching. Paint flux on the glass with a paintbrush, making sure to follow the foil. Do this for each of the four panels.

Apply solder along the foil, joining the glass pieces together. Try to use the warmest part of the soldering iron which is near the back of the blade. This will help the solder to melt easily.

Stand up two of the panels of the Tiffany lamp and solder it together along the foil. Do this for all four sides.

Insert the lampshade bracket through the top of your Tiffany lamp and secure it to the lamp with solder. Place it over the bulb of the light and turn it on.

About the Author

Marjorie Gilbert is a freelance writer and published author. An avid researcher, Gilbert has created an Empire gown (circa 1795 to 1805) from scratch, including drafting the gown's patterns by hand.