WATCH step by step DIY Plexiglass How To Video on YouTube
Basic Plexiglass – How to Assemble
Working with acrylic instead of stained glass is a snap! Pieces Assemble the same way as stained glass, without the hassle of cutting and grinding glass.
Below is a list of items I use and a link to Amazon for ease of seeing what the items look like. I buy what I can locally to support my local community and retailers and encourage this where possible. Some items may even cost less at your local retailor, such as copper foil, flux, and solder.
*Note* ACRYLIC CLEANING TIP Do NOT use rubbing alcohol on acrylic plexiglass to clean it, it will cause it to crack. Research a cleaning item before you use it on your acrylic.
The easiest way to clean acrylic is to simply use dish soap, a non-abrasive sponge, and water.
Remove Acrylic Adhesive with a metal spoon and Place pieces on Pattern sheet, Use Blue Painters Tape to hold pieces in place (tape will be removed after you solder one side).
Copper Foil: I recommend using the narrowest size 3/16 inch Copper Foil for the small BIG CAT kit as wider copper foil will cover up too much of the smaller cut pieces such as at the eyes. You may option to use wider copper foil for the medium or large GlowForge cut BIG CAT kits.
Once all of your acrylic plexiglass pieces are taped together
Soldering Iron and Stand: You will definitely need a soldering Iron stand with the little sponge. The iron gets very hot and you need a place to set it when not in use. Wet the sponge with water. Its ok if there is a little extra water with the sponge area. It important to ensure you use an iron that gets hot enough. I bought an iron that wasn’t 100 watts and it ran too cool. It was very frustrating trying to melt the solder with that iron (I threw it away) as it would take 1 minute or longer to get a tiny piece melted off the solder spool instead of 1 to 3 seconds. So be sure to buy an iron that gets hot enough.
Sal Ammoniac block: for tinning the soldering iron. This helps to clean the iron tip and keeps it running hot. This also helps the solder work better with the iron. The Sal Ammoniac block will smoke quite a bit when the very hot iron is put on it. Make sure you are in a well ventilated area and not near your smoke alarm detector. I work in my garage art studio and it can fill up the garage with a bit of smoke.
Flux and Brush: Once you have all your pieces foiled and taped into position use the Brush to brush flux onto Copper Foil areas you are about to place solder on. Solder will not stick to the copper foil without it.
Solder: I used Studio Pro 63/37 Solder (675B) on the small BIG CAT version seen above. With acrylic plexiglass pieces taped together, use your iron to heat and dollop on just enough solder to hold together all the pieces at non-taped spots.
Flux liberally all the areas you will now finish filling in with solder. Pull up YouTube videos on soldering stained glass if you are unfamiliar with the process or watch my How To YouTube Video.
Once you have completely soldered the piece together (front and back), you may option to add and solder on rings for hanging or leave it clean and design a unique frame later for your artwork. Next is . . . cleanup time!
Dish Soap and Water: After everything is completely soldered together on front and back, its time to clean off all the flux. Simply wash with Dawn dish soap, a non-abrasive sponge, and water. Pat dry with a paper towel or lint free rag.
Optional Book: Stained Glass Painting: Create the Look of Stained Glass the Easy Way by Julie Lafaille – This is the book I used to learn about Pebeo Vitrail paints and texturing to create stained glass effects. It’s well written with a lot of easy to see, follow, and understand pictures.
Gloss Gel: Create textured Stained Glass Effects. I used Master’s Touch Gloss Gel. I’ve not used the below Liquitex version but this is likely a similar product to what I used.
Pebeo Vitrail Paints: These are some of the best stained glass looking paints on the market. These will most likely have to be purchased on Amazon. They are also offered in larger sizes and as individual colors. Make sure you purchase the ‘vitrail’ series.