I occasionally get questions about how I setup my stained glass and fused glass studio. I would love to tell you I had some great master plan. In reality, it just evolved over time.
Glass Studio in the Beginning
In the beginning, I had a box of tools in the garage and a small stash of glass. I used two saw horses and a piece of plywood as my work table when I wanted to work on a stained glass project. I placed this in a breezeway between the house and the garage. Not ideal, but it worked. Until the day when I was putting things away and discovered a big snake coiled up under the table. I have no idea how long he was sitting there by my feet as I worked! That is when I decided I needed a dedicated space in the garage.
The most important part of the studio is the work surface. I am fortunate to have a handy husband who built a work bench for me. Here are the things I love about my worktable:
- It is free standing so I can work on any side.
- The height was made to suit my height for cutting glass.
- It is on wheels and can be moved if necessary.
- It has two shelves below the work surface. The top one, which is easily accessible has plastic bins with tools and items for different tasks like, soldering, cutting glass, etc. The bottom shelf stores my lead came, patterns, roll of fiber paper. There is also a space where I can fit four kiln shelves.
- One end has strips of wood attached on top of the table at a right angle. This is great when building a stained glass panel.
The second most important thing is storage. Storing glass was the priority for me. Since I was on a budget, we retrofitted and old computer desk. We turned it upside down, and added a few dividers. It worked fine for several years. As my glass collection grew, I needed a different solution. My husband built a larger glass rack that accommodates both large and smaller pieces of glass. The old storage rack holds my overflow glass. Smaller pieces of glass are stored in a plastic bin. When they get even smaller, I store them in plastic boxes from the container store.
Shelves and Larger Tools
Next, are wall shelves. You can never have too many wall shelves. My shelves hold my grinder, molds, frits, and more.
If you have the room, having one table to cut on and another to work on is a very nice setup. I have a folding table up against one wall that has my Morton cutting board on it. It is raised on some blocks to make it my ideal cutting height. Also on the table is my smallest 8-inch kiln which sits on top of a heat proof surface.
Eventually I added a tabletop sand blaster. It sits on top of an old computer printer stand that went with the aforementioned computer desk.
As I acquired other larger tools (tile saw and wet belt sander) my husband built more rolling stands. They are placed to the side of the garage along the walls. I roll them outside when I work with them. My two kilns are also on rolling stands though I rarely move them.
What I Would Add to my Glass Studio
If only I could have a source of water and a utility sink to clean things! Unfortunately, that is not a possibility. Instead, I keep two large plastic laundry detergent containers filled with water on a shelf. I use this for quick cleanups, to mix up shelf primer, or for grinder fill-ups. They are the type with the push button spout. I recommend storing these with the spout up when not being used. I did have one leak after two years.
Here are pictures of my workspace.