Can I apply additional foil?

by Carrie

Hi Sue, I have completed a panel that I am not happy with. The colour of glass I picked out did not compliment my design. I'm thinking that if I had a thicker solder line it may outline the project better. So, can I apply more copper foil to the edge of a solder line and then solder so I get a nice fat bead of solder? If yes, would I have to do anything to the existing solder, possibly steel wool or flux? If there is nothing that could be done I will just learn from my poor choice in colours.

Thanks, Carrie


Hi Carrie,

You can certainly give it a try, but perhaps try it on some scrap glass first to see how it goes. Foil and solder the scrap glass, then follow my directions below.

If you have applied patina to the existing solder, then yes, you will have to steel wool it to get rid of the patina. After you do that, wash the panel well to get rid of any steel wool residue. Then go along the glass at the edges of the solder lines with alcohol. That will make sure the glass is perfectly clean and free of wax (if you used wax). It needs to be absolutely clean for the foil to stick.

Apply the foil, making sure it butts up to the existing foil line. If you don't, you will get bits of the adhesive backing bubbling up when you solder. It can be quite a mess.

If just the occasional bit of adhesive comes through, use a fine needle, like you use for sewing, to pick out the adhesive as it bubbles up. You need to do that while the solder is hot.

Obviously, you will be working the old solder into the new. Actually, It might be a good idea to remove as much of the old solder as possible before you clean the glass and apply the new foil. It will be easier in the long run to solder the entire thing rather than trying to work the old into the new. It will also make it easier to get the new foil right up against the old.

If all goes well on the scrap glass, you should be able to do this on your panel. Let us know how it comes out.

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Foiling an inside curve

by Joe
(phoenix,az usa)

how do you foil an indide circle


To foil an inside curve, use a piece of doweling or a wooden chopstick to gently and fairly rapidly rub back and forth first on one edge then the other edge of the curve. Keep rubbing, and at the same time move the dowel or chopstick downwards until the foil is folded down. This helps to stretch the foil so it crimps down without splitting. I use. The barrel of a ball point pen also works for this technique.

If the foil splits, mark on the glass where it has split, then remove the foil. Use short pieces of foil and place them along edge of the glass where you have marked it. Now you can apply foil as normal (right over the short pieces you just put on) and press it into the curve as I described above. Wherever the foil splits there is now foil under it so the split won't show

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Foiling Circles


Is there a technique for foiling circles so that you don't end up with lots of overlaping of the foil?


If you are having a lot of overlap, the foil you're using is too wide. Try a narrower foil and see if that makes a difference.

If you must use the wider foil, go around and gently pinch the foil down, between your thumb and forefinger. Then burnish it from edge of glass to edge of foil, rather then burnishing around the circle lengthwise. Burnishing from edge of circle to edge of foil, although time consumong, will help smooth out any overlaps.

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Sharp Edges on Copper Foil

Why is it that my projects usually have a number of sharp edges that I can't seem to smooth out.I'm just learning stainedglass on my own after I had been taught the basics.


Read this tutorial:"> Applying Foil It should answer your question.

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Copper Foil

by Mike
(Coeur d'Alene, Idaho)

Again, I love your site. One question, how do I protect the foil applied to the glass if I am not going to foil the whole project in one sitting. Also, can I foil a project and leave it till later for soldering, and if so, how do I protect it. Thanks


Hi Mike,

Thanks for asking that question. I'm sure it is something many people have wondered about.

For both questions that you asked, just slip it in a zip lock bag. They make some very big zip lock bags for storage purposes, so almost anything you make would fit in one.

If you don't have access to a zip lock bag, just wrap it in plastic. You are trying to keep it from being exposed to the air, humidity, dust, and a reaction from chemicals that are left open in your work area. Any of those things will cause the copper to oxidize over a period of time.

If you have started to solder, and need to leave it for a few days, wipe it off with a cloth dipped in flux neutralizer, dry it and slip it in a plastic bag.

I spoke about chemicals that are left open in your work area. Flux is probably the worse and something that gets left open frequently. An open bottle of flux will cause your tools to rust, oxidize lead and copper, and is one of many reasons that copper foiled projects, sitting in your work area, get that white or grey stuff along the seams. Try to remember to close all chemicals when you're done with them.

Thanks, again, for your question, and for the nice comment about this web site.


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Making Foil Smooth at Corners

by Bill McCloud

Foil pressed in to corners

Foil pressed in to corners

Foil pressed in to corners Before and after points are trimmed off Finished triangular point after foil is burnished Foil pressed in to a square corner

Perhaps it is me but having read your tutorial, I still can't quite get what to do with the extra foil you get when you foil around a corner. I've tried bending it over but where you get two layers coming together from the two adjacent sides, the foil tends to bunch up leading to breakage of the foil when burnished. It appears that you try cutting it somehow but I just can't seem to get it. Can you please provide some additional insight into this issue? Thanks


I assume you are talking about foiling around triangular/pointed corners rather then square corners.

When you are pressing down one edge of the foil, you must press it tightly in to the corner, making a square corner as in wrapping a present or making a military type or hospital bed (hopefully one of those scenarios makes sense to you). You will see what I mean in picture #1.

Due to the fact that you are foiling a point, if you then press/fold the bottom edges up, you would have points sticking out beyond the edges of the glass. You do not want those points, so they need to be trimmed off just enough to give yourself a neat looking point with no excess foil that will bunch up when you burnish it. You can trim those points before or after the foil is pressed into place. I prefer to do it before. You will see the difference of before and after trimming in picture #2.

Picture #3 shows you the finished piece after the foil is burnished.

Picture #4 shows you how to press the foil into a square corner (just in case you were asking about that). That foil doesn't need to be trimmed before you finish pressing it down on all sides. It will give you a very neat corner and will not bunch up during burnishing.

Making sure the corners are pressed in to form a square corner is the secret to easy and neat foiling.

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Foiling Inner Curves

I've been working on an angel suncatcher. The halo and the angel's face are both circular and the face fits inside the halo. I've had a lot of trouble trying to foil the inner circles. The foil keeps splitting. Any advice for an easy way to foil deep circular cuts?


When you have a deep inside curve, ease the foil in the curve little by little. If you ease it in, pressing it down a little bit at a time, you should be able to avoid splitting the foil. Make sure the foil isn't stretched tight in the curve. It will split, for sure, when you start folding it over the edges.

Also, I have found that Venture foil is fairly stiff and splits quite easily because it doesn't stretch. Edco foil is much more pliable and does stretch if you ease it into the curve,

I hope this helps to slove your problem.

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Using Thicker Foil to Outline Project

by Denise
(Jacksonville, FL)

I'm making a suncatcher (8"x12"). I'm using 7/32 copper foil, as usual, but I want a thicker edge around this. Can I tack solder my pieces and then foil around the entire piece with wider foil? I'm not sure if foiling on top of foil will create problems.


It won't create problem as such, but you might find that going around curves, corners, or any non straight line will cause the foil to crinkle and not lay flat. Make sure the foil underneath is absolutely clean, and the overlayed foil is burnished tight so no flux can seep under it and cause it to lift.

If you want a thicker edge, have a look at This Page for other ideas about finishing the edges that would give a thicker appearance.

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foiling small textured pieces of glass

by Rhonda
(New Mexico)

I'm trying to foil some very small pieces, (diamond shaped stars approximately 1/2 inch max), and I'm having difficulty making it look nice. The copper covers most of the glass and the edges are not smooth, even after trimming detail with an exacto knife. Is it possible to only copper the inside edges of the glass and not the top and bottom?? Or Do you have any other suggestions? Thank you!

No, you can't have foil just along the edge. There is nothing to hold the glass in place. Once you pick up the finished piece the glass would start falling out.

Try using narrower foil. It only needs to show a tiny bit on both sides. You might need to split some of your wider foil in half to get it narrow enough. Before you peel off the paper backing, lay out a long strip of foil. Lay a ruler down the center of the strip and run an exacto knife along the ruler's edge. Try it on a small piece first to figure out if the width is right or if you'll have to cut the strips off center to get the width right.

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How to Clean Stained Glass Before Applying Copper Foiling

by Tim
(North Carolina)

I know that I read somewhere that it is best not to clean the glass with windex before putting on the foil. What do you recommend? Thanks


Alcohol..I just use a paper towel dampened with alcohol to wipe the edges of the glass as I foil. It also seems to make the foil stick better (an added bonus).

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Using a Table Foiler

by Yvonne
(Belton, Tx)

I purchased a table foiler recently. I know people that use this brand and really like it. I peeled the label of so I don't have the exact name but is made by MKC, if that helps. I am having trouble getting the foil to stay in the right position. The spring seems to work correctly that is under the wheel where the foil feeds through.I've tried several things. I put a lug nut to keep the wheel centered w/ the foil. For some reason that did not fix the problem. I also have a wing nut that comes with it to put on top of the wheel( the wheel lays on its side) to adjust it. The wheels come in different widths to match the foil sizes thus the adjustable wing nut and spring underneath. I have spent hours figuring out why it won't line up w/ my foil. I checked the size of the wheel, had my husband tinker with it, erything I can think of. It's probably a simple fix that I am missing? Any advice? Thanks, Yvonne


I believe the Table Foiler is made by KWC. I have one but have never used it...a gift that got put on a shelf. When I foil, I like doing it by hand. I haven't tried a foiler since the early days when they looked more like torture machines than an aid to foiling. However, I'm sure someone reading this will be able to help you. I know that the table foiler is popular and many people have them and use them, so Please Table Foiler Owners, if you can, help Yvonne solve her problem. Thanks!

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Table Foiler

by Karla

I just purchased the table foiler. Are there any better pictures on assembling the foil?


I honestly don't know. Perhaps someone reading this can help you. If so, they will leave their remarks in the comments section below.

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Wrapping Glass Nuggets With Foil

by David A
(North Carolina)

Hi Sue,
Actually, I have two questions.

I'm having trouble copper foiling nuggets. Besides nuggets being not very round, the copper foil really bunches up as I fold it around the edge. No amount of burnishing removes the folds. Do you have recommendations?

I'm making a square lamp. Naturally the corners where the glass sides meet require a lot of solder and I have trouble getting a reasonably smooth bead. Should something (copper wire be used to help fill the gap, or just alot of solder. Any recommendations?

Many thanks. Love your site!


Hi David,

You need to rough up the edge of each nugget, on the grinder, just enough for the foil to get a good hold. The edges of nuggets are so smooth that foil just won't stick otherwise.

Use as narrow a foil as possible. You want it to barely wrap above either side of the edge. There have been times when I've cut a strip of foil down the middle to get it narrow enough. This should help with the bunching problems you're having.

Alternatively, you can wrap as many nuggets as you will be using, then put them in a small plastic container with a lid. Shake the container for a minute. When you are done shaking, the nuggets will be ready for use. This really does work and saves a lot of time.

Now, for the lamp problem...Wire in the seams will not only help fill the gap, but it will strengthen the shade as well. Run the wire precisely from bottom to top of each seam. When you're done soldering the seams, solder wire around the bottom and the top edges of the lamp. The wires in the seams will then be attached to the top and bottom wires and form a strong framework.

As you're filling in the seams, don't try to finish each seam in one go. Add some solder, go on to the next ones until you're back to the first. By doing that, the bottom layer of solder will have a chance to set before adding more. The final layer should be fairly easy to get smooth since you won't be working with a huge amount of solder.

As with any stained glass technique, practice, practice, practice!

Enjoy that lampshade and send us a picture when it's done.

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