Solar Lanterns: Seymour Stained Glass, Part 1

Solar Lanterns: Seymour Stained Glass, Part 1

Karen Seymour of Seymour Stained Glass recently came by to talk about her beautiful solar lamps that she makes via stained glass appliqué. This is part one of my interview with her.

At the show, Karen will be in booth 204 and will also have demonstration showing how to make solar lanterns on Thursday, February 19th at 2:30pm on the Monrovia DIY stage.
(c) Seymour Stained GlassFlora-What is your reason/inspiration for making solar lanterns?

Karen-I made a stained glass table for myself about 10 years ago. Then all my friends and relatives wanted one too. By that time I had discovered I really enjoyed working with stained glass. Functional pieces are part of what inspires my designs. Stained glass has been used in lamps for a long time. Making it into a garden lantern seemed natural. But how to light it? Candles crack the glass unless you are careful. And who wants wires all over the yard? Solar cells and LEDs are now readily available and getting cheaper all the time. With a little research we (my spouse designed the circuit) came up with a lantern that can be made from fairly easy to find parts and looks good.

Flora-What is the process of making one?

Karen-It is called stained glass appliqué. My book, Garden Light, goes into detail and also includes a CD of patterns. I also teach a 3.5 hour beginning stained glass appliqué class at my Seattle studio and nurseries around the northwest. Here are the steps:

  • Find a waterproof jar with flat sides (to make it easier to glue glass to it).
  • Drill a hole in the lid so that the wires from the solar panel can reach the batteries inside. (solar panel will be glued on top).
  • Cut stained glass to fit the outside.
  • Grind smooth the edge of each piece.
  • Mask each piece and glue it in place.
  • Remove masking, clean away excess glue and wait at least 2 weeks for glue to dry.
  • Grout, clean and seal.
  • Fill inside of jar with LEDS, batteries and circuit board.
  • Attach hanging chain or fence mount as required.

Garden Light by Karen SeymourFlora-What’s the price range for the lanterns?

Karen-My solar powered lanterns are generally $499 each; this includes batteries and either a hanging chain or fence mount. I have a show special on the book: list is $28.95 and I’m selling it for $26.61 at the show (the price is even cheaper at the moment on my
website to reward early buyers but will go up the beginning of February).

Thanks Karen!

Read Part 2 of our chat.

  • Dianne
    Posted at 21:42h, 05 January Reply

    Karen, these lanterns are absolutely beautiful! And I love the use of solar: so nice to not have to worry about running wires or paying the light bill 🙂

  • Charlotte Rollman
    Posted at 12:03h, 24 January Reply

    Karen, are you from NIU. I wondered where you went. I hope all is well. I am still teaching. How long has it been? I guess I miss your red hair .
    I love your lamps. I see your paintings in them for sure. Keep up the good work.


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