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Stained Glass Minute (Volume IV)

How is Iridescent Glass Made?

Iridescent Celtic weave made of stained glass by Leia Powell
Celtic Weave (Leia Powell)

Here's another one of those sciency posts…

A white lotus blossom made from white iridescent stained glass by Leia Powell
Succulent (Leia Powell)

Iridescence is one of my favorite features available in sheet glass. Not only can you make the most magnificent dragon wings, but you can also alternate colors (see picture below) and position of patterning to capture variations of color of the iridescent layer.


Dragon statue with iridescent stained glass wings by Leia Powell
Jordan Dragon (Leia Powell)
Fairy statue with iridescent stained glass wings by Leia Powell
Lori Faery (Leia Powell)

So, how is it made? Well, you must remove the salt from the glass with an acidic water solution to create a separate layer that breaks apart into a prism upon cooling. The resulting layer reflects light differently than the underlayer.


– (Blank stares) –

Pewter mermaid on an iridescent stained glass seashell by Leia Powell
Kalyani Mermaid (Leia Powell)

OR! You can do it with chemical reactions.


– (Ahhhhs and nods) –

A carousel made of iridescent stained glass by Leia Powell
The Florentine Carousel (2020 Masterpiece and winner of Best in Show at JordanCon) (Leia Powell)

You can create an iridescent layer on glass by annealing it, which makes it hot but not melty. Then you push it into a reduction chamber with a combination of acid vapor, metal oxides, and salt during a process called "fuming."


– (Perplexed expressions) –

An iridescent stained glass window depicting clouds, the moon, and Pegasus in flight by Leia Powell
Flight Into Fantasy (2021 Masterpiece - first stained glass piece ever nominated for a Chesley Award) (Leia Powell)

Oh, look… a handy video from the Corning Museum of Glass demonstrating iridizing a sheet of glass out of a blown bubble.



Stay Glassy,

Leia Powell

Master Stained Glass Artisan

Wildcat Mountain Artistry

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