Your Glass-Working Studio: Building a Lead Rack - dummies

Your Glass-Working Studio: Building a Lead Rack

By Vicki Payne

Before you can start a stained-glass project your studio needs to be well equipped. When you work on leaded stained-glass projects, you have to use lead came. Because lead came is very soft and pliable, you have to handle it carefully and store it properly or you’ll end up ruining the material. If you possess some basic carpentry skills (or know someone who has them), you can tackle the building of a lead rack.

You can certainly purchase these items, but by making your own, you can save money and customize each item to your personal liking and space needs.

You need the following materials to build a lead rack:

  • One 1-x-6-x-36-inch wooden board

  • Four metal or wooden 4-inch coat hooks with mounting hardware

  • Three 3-inch wood screws

  • Three wall anchors

  • Four 4-inch round PVC pipes, cut to 5-inch lengths

Make sure you have the following tools handy:

  • Power drill

  • Measuring tape or ruler

  • Level

When you have all your tools and materials ready, follow these easy steps:

  1. Draw a horizontal line down the center of the wooden board.

  2. Measure and mark two points that are 5 1/2 inches from the two ends of the board.

    These marks are where the first and last hooks go.

  3. Measure two more points on the centerline, making sure they’re evenly spaced between the first and last marks.

    These marks are where the remaining two hooks go.

  4. Mount the hooks onto the board.

    If you’re using wooden hooks, screw them in place from the back of the board. If you’re using metal hooks, you can screw them in place on the front of the board because they generally have screw holes already in them.

  5. Attach the rack to the wall at least 4 feet off the ground so the lead strips have plenty of room to hang.

    Depending on the wall, you may need to use anchors to secure the rack to the wall. When loaded, this rack can be very heavy, so make sure it’s secured to the wall before you start hanging your lead from it.

  6. Slip the PVC pipe pieces over the hooks, and hang up your lead cames by looping the center of the cames over the PVC pipes).


Organize cames on different hooks according to type and size so they’re easy to access while you’re working. Label the sizes of the lead over the top of the PVC ring to help keep your studio well organized.