How To Repair Copper Foil Once It Has Been Beaded

by Veronica
(Australia)

Hi Sue,


I've just finished beading my copper foil suncatcher (which looks pretty good after following your instructions!).

My problem is I have now noticed a couple of bits of foil that have lifted. Do I need to take out the piece to repair it (as per your tutorial) or can I somehow patch it up? Can I just remove the section of foil that has lifted? If yes, how do you do it? Will the copper foil stick to solder?

Thanks for your help

Answer

Hi Veronica,

If the foil is only lifted, not torn with missing bits, the easiest way to repair it is to re-flux the areas that have lifted and go over them with your soldering iron, pressing the foil down with the iron tip as you go. Once the foil is down, let the areas cool before you bead them up again. Don't stay in one spot too long when you are beading. It's a good idea to let the solder set and cool before going over it again if it needs further touching up. Doing it this way will prevent the foil from lifting in the same places again.

To answer your question about foil sticking to solder...no, it won't stick long enough to get a bead built up over it. It will come off and either get stuck in the solder at an odd angle or stick to the tip of your iron. Further more, the adhesive backing comes off and makes black sticky globs in your solder. It is a most frustrating and futile attempt at a quick fix.

If the foil is torn and has missing bits, you can try to repair foil by running off as much solder as possible, then clean the area with alcohol before applying new foil. Even then, you will probably run in to the same problems. If you want to go one step further, you can cut out the damaged foil using an exacto knife, and replace the foil with a new piece exactly the same size. It must just go from edge to edge, not overlap the remaining foil. If you do this, the glass must be cleaned, before applying the new foil, to get rid of any remaining adhesive.

I have found that the most efficient way to repair is to remove the piece of glass (per my repair tutorial), take off the old foil, clean off the adhesive, and re-foil. It will usually save you much time and frustration in the long run.

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