Stained Glass Store or Studio
If you happen to be lucky enough to have a stained glass supply shop or studio within 100 miles of your home, take advantage! If you aren't so lucky, Hobby
Lobby retail store is the only craft store chain that I know of who sells sheet
glass. The benefit of going to a stained glass store is obvious- you can talk to
the folks in the shop who use it (usually, the owner/artist,) examine the glass
yourself and hold it up to the light, and....no shipping!
Warm Colors $$$ vs. Cool Colors / Neutrals / Clears $
If you want to keep your glass buying budget-friendly, stay away from warm
colors such as red, orange, yellow and pink. These colors use more expensive metals for their coloring (pink uses gold!), so these colors will be sometimes
double the price of all the others. Clear textures are really cool-looking, easy to cut, while cool colors and neutrals will be cheaper in the long run.
Window Glass Retailer
If there's just no glass places nearby, go for window glass shops next. Look
them up in the phone book (if you still have one of those.) They may offer
architectural window glass- clear glass in a variety of amazing textures and
patterns. They may be willing to get rid of some scrap glass to you for cheap
or for free. Always offer them payment, just the same.
If you've just got to shop online, your best bet is to go for "Variety Packs" of
Spectrum, Wissmach, Armstrong, or Kokomo. A few places do this, both on
their own sites, but also on eBay and on Amazon. Here are a couple of places I know:
Spiral Dance Art Glass Variety Pack 6 x 8
Sun and Moon 6 x 8 Variety Pack
Spectrum BLUE Stained Glass Pack 8 x 10 Sheets
Sun and Moon Stained Glass GREEN Variety Pack 8 x 10
Stallings Glass Blue Variety Pack
There are many other online shops too, just do a search.
You'll want to beware, though. Variety packs can surprise you, if you don't see exactly what you're getting. As for what size to get? Depends on how large of a project you're working on. If you're a beginner, go for small 6 x 8 pieces. If you don't mind spending more, buy larger pieces- 8 x 12 or 12 x 12. Glass traveling through the mail takes a beating (I know this firsthand from sending glass the wrong way) so the shipping is going to cost you. Sometimes as much as the
piece of glass you're getting. The more you buy at once, the better. Packing
several pieces together into one foam-lined box makes more sense than just
getting one sheet.
When we buy glass, we buy a whole shipping crate of it- somewhere around 60 full sheets at a time (2' x 4'.) Shipping cost around $250, and it's packed like a swaddled baby. But, we get it once a year, and it has to last.
It's pretty. No, gorgeous! And....you can't cut it!
I mean the pricey, amazing-looking glass brands like Youghiogheny, Uroboros, and Bullseye. WAIT to buy these. Get a lot of practice with less expensive
brands first. Maybe project #4 or #5. Then, go to town!