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The Magic of Dragonflies

Though the idea didn't originate with me, I thought I could improve on the art glass dragonflies I've seen. I thought forks were an obvious choice for the body because the tines could be bent into legs. So I did some experimenting and the first attempt was a little awkward and bulky. The second attempt was more pleasing and here is the process for creating a dragonfly.

First select and cut the glass. I have glass gems of various colors that I'm using for the head.

Each piece is wrapped with copper foil - this foil is pre-tinned (read about more about "tinning") Pre-tinned foil saves me the time of having to tin copper foil later.

Before soldering all the pieces together, it's important to tack each piece in place so they don't move around. Because this is a small piece I'm not using pins, or bars to anchor it in place.

Once the pieces are anchored in place, I solder each line, and turn it over and solder the back.

The solder lines don't provide much support for the glass so it's necessary to reinforce the entire piece with wire. First I attach wire at the bottom.

Then I work all the way around the edge - first tacking it at the corners and then filling in the gap along the edges with solder. Once I've attached wire all the way around, I turn it over and smooth any solder that has melted through and fill any remaining gaps.

Time to prepare the fork. Most of them are pretty tarnished. Some require more elbow grease than others to make them shiny.

Some forks don't bend as easily as others. Apply a little heat to the tine and the metal will soften enough to bend. If you don't know your own strength, they can break...

I make my own hanging loops by wrapping tinned wire around the handle of a paint brush

The first loop also anchors the fork handle to the back end of the dragonfly. Attaching the fork to the glass is awkward, I won't lie. This the part of the process where burns happen.

The second wire anchors the "feet" in place under the head of the dragonfly.

Finally the second loop goes on top behind the head. Now it's time to clean the flux off the solder and glass. Dry it thoroughly and polish it up with a little glass wax.

The last step is to attach the wire to the loops.

The dragonfly is ready to hang in a window or outside in the sunshine.