Questions About Placing Rings on Sun-Catchers

by Judi

Any sugestions on an easy way to place rings on sun-catchers? I'm talking about the ring to hold the sun-catcher not decorative rings. I prop my project on it's side but still am not adgile enough to manage holding the iorn, the solder and the ring, all at the same time. I always end up with an over-heated finger tip. Nothing serious just frustrated. Help please.


Hi Judi,

You'll see how to do it in this tutorial. It's about 1/2 way down the page.

Basically, you lay the panel flat on your work bench, with the spot to have the ring attached sticking out over the edge of the table. Hold the ring with needlenose pliers or a hemostat. Put the ring where you want it and solder it on.
Turn the suncatcher over, grab the ring with your pliers again and solder it on the back side.

Alternatively, you can stand the suncatcher on edge and wedge it between two cans covered with a towel, Wedgies (they are wonderful for holding work in place), or anything else you can find that will hold the piece upright and still. Then you proceed as explained above. However, do have a look at the tutorial. Seeing something done often makes more sense than reading text.

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Adding On To An Existing Piece of Stained Glass

I have a finished piece of stained glass that is 20x27 and I want to enlarge it to fit an exising window. It is finished with a welded metal strip around the edge. Is it possible to remove this without destroying the window and then adding a border of several layers of bevels? Or is there a better way to do this?

thank you!


Hi Marcy,

I'll assume that the window is copper foiled and the metal strip is zinc came. If I'm correct, yes the zinc can be removed and new pieces added. If I'm not correct, please send me a picture here so I can see what the metal strip is.

Here is a technique to remove the zinc came. It's not the way I'd do it, but it will make it easier for anyone that doesn't have experience in that area.

Cut long strips of aluminum from a soda or beer
can. Make the strips about 1/2" wide. Cut each strip down to about 2 inches. You'll now have a lot of strips 1/2" x 2".

Melt the solder at each place where the zinc attaches to the glass. As soon as you get one spot melted, slide an aluminum strip between the glass and the zinc at that precise spot. You'll have to be quick so the solder doesn't set again. The strip will keep the zinc from re-attaching to the panel. Do this both front and back of the panel.

Once all of the joints are melted, do 2 opposite corners of the zinc frame. As you melt the solder, try to pull the two pieces of zinc apart. You might have to use more aluminum strips.

When the 2 corners are open, the zinc should slide off the panel with no problems.

Smooth off any solder lumps that are left behind, and it will be ready for more glass to be added.

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uneven spaces between glass pieces

by Laura
(Sioux City Iowa)

I was wondering how this artist filled in the large areas between the glass pieces in this type of stained glass piece.

You hold a wet towel tight up under the space while filling the space with solder. The wet towel will cool the solder and keep it from running through. When you solder on the back side, just melt the surface of the solder enough to make it smooth.

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Jumbo Mess

by Ed
(plainfield indiana)

I am working on a large stained glass picture with a lot of small pieces. How do I keep all of the pieces moving. As soon as I get them in place another moves out of place. I use pins but I hasn't helped much.


Are you constructing tha panel within framing boards? They will make the project much easier to contain and keep in place. Start in one corner then build out and down.

If you are sure the pieces are accurately cut so they fit the pattern properly, you could tack solder as you go. It's not something I usually recommend, but If you're having as big a problem as you say, that might be the only way to go.

Also, I think you're either cutting the glass too big or too small. If it's too big, pieces will move as you try to cram another piece in place.

If they are cut too small, there will be too much space between pieces and they won't stay in place due to the room for movement. They pieces should be just barely touching.

One last thing you could do is to tape the pieces together as you put them on the pattern. I sometimes us narrow strips of painters tape. It's made by Scotch and comes off easily. You can get it at any place that sells paint. All you need is a small piece bridging each piece of glass. You will then have to tack solder before you remove the tape. Again, it's not something I usualy recommend, as it makes extra work, but sometimes it's the only way to go.

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4ft x 4ft Bathroom Window

by Aletta
(Aransas Pass, TX)

My son has just bought a home with a huge 4 sq. ft. clear glass window. He asked me to put a stained glass window in. I have made oval ones and smaller bathroom windows for our own home, however, this one does not have any support or sections to the window, it is one big piece of glass. Can you recommend a pattern or give me advice on what the best way would be to construct this piece. I will greatly appreciate it.


Hi Aletta,

Wow...4x4. That's a big window to make in one piece. If we were doing it in our studio we'd make it in at least 2 pieces. It would take an entire tutorial to instruct you on how to do it, and that's not something I have in the works right now.

In simple terms, you would use U came on the top of the bottom panel, and H came on the bottom of the top panel. Make sure the U fits all the way up in the bottom channel of the H. You will construct each piece separately then on installation you set the top piece on the bottom piece sliding the U up in the H came. It takes very accurate measuring to allow for the additional came in the center of the design. Like I said, this is something that takes an entire tutorial.

As for a pattern, probably a geometric design would be easiest, as you can always add on to the design to make it fit. Also, geometric is very suitable for reinforcing, and a 4x4 window will need a lot of reinforcement...restrip plus a rebar.

Perhaps making a panel to hang in the window would be an easier option.

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Using pressed flowers in the stained glass

I would like to make a stained glass pattern using pressed flowers from my grandma's funeral. I want the flowers IN the glass. Is there a way to do this?

The only way you can do it is to put the flowers between two pieces of glass, and use it as a piece in your design.

Here's how to do it:
Cut two pieces of glass the same size. Arrange the flowers on one piece of glass. If you need to, you can use very small dots of white glue to hold the flowers in place. If you use glue, make sure the glue is dry before proceeding to the next step. If the glue is still wet, mold will grow over time (been there, done that) :(

Put the second piece of glass over the one with flowers, tape the two pieces of glass together with scotch tape (this just makes it easier to handle the piece while soldering). Just wrap the scotch tape around the glass top to bottom and side to side.

Using a wide foil (I use 1/2"), wrap both pieces of glass together as though they are one piece of glass. Wrap the foil righ over the scotch tape. Cut the scotch tape at the foil line (what's left underneath the foil doesn't matter) and remove what's showing. Burnish the foil well. Get it as tight to the glass as you possibly can.

Once the piece is foiled and burnished, it is ready to use as part of your pattern. If you don't want it sticking out on the front of your window, build the window upside down. Then the front will be flat and the flower piece will stick out on the back.

I used to do dried flowers between glass, and found this technique to be the best way to prevent moisture from getting in there. If any moisture gets in the flowers will get moldy, and believe me that is a very unappealing sight.

One other thing to note...dried flowers will fade over time and being in direct sunlight will make them fade in just a few weeks. If they are kept out of direct sunlight they will usually retain their color for several years or longer, depending on what type of flowers they are.

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stained glass tabletop

I have a well made wooden table with a cut out square in the center that used to hold glass that set in the opening. I would like to make a stained glass panel for it. Is there anything special I should consider? I will copper foil it with reinforcement in between sections. Does there need to be a sheet of clear glass underneath the panel? Thanks....Patti


Yes, put a piece of glass under it. Without the glass, the panel will sag over time, even with reinforcement.

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Round Project

by Copper
(Houston, Texas)

I am going to attempt a 10 inch round design to place in a half round wrought Iron holder. I am now asking myself a few questions. How do you make a Jig to hold the pieces while you are assembling? and How should I finish off the outside edge?


One way you can make a jig is to hammer small finishing nails every 1/2 inch around the pattern.

You can also make a jig with 1/4" or 3/8" plywood by cutting a 10" circle out of the middle.

I would just bead solder the edge of the circle.
If you want to get a bit more fancy you could use decorative soldering, twisted wire or ball chain on 1/2 of the edge (the part that won't be inside the frame).

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reinforcing tape

by randy cavender

I don't understand how or why reinforcing tape works. I understand how it is applied and such, but I don't see where the strength would come from. Wouldn't the amount of force required to bend a joint be determined by the adhesion of the copper foil to the glass. I did a test with the reinforcing tape, and the two pieces separate because of the foil coming loose from the glass. ???


Yes, you are so right...when you only solder two pieces together with re-strip up the middle of those two pieces, it will pull the foil off.

Restrip in a panel is quite different. First of all, it must go all the way from one edge to the other. When it crosses another solder line, that line will make it secure and solid. The outside edges of that panel will either be edge beaded or framed with lead or zinc. Those edges give the re-strip more places to be anchored.

If you truly want to test the strength of copper re-strip, test it on a pattern that is representative of an actual stained glass panel. Not something with two or three pieces of glass soldered together vertically (although that would work as long as the edges were finished). Make sure you finish the edges with either edge beading or a metal edge.

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Reinforcing Bird Wings

I'm doing a Humming Bird that has 3D wings. The wings stick off from the body on an angle but don't move. How can I reinforce the wings so they can't be bent?


There are 2 ways you can do it:

Solder 18 or 20 gauge copper wire on top and under the wings where they attach to the body. You can extend the wire out a bit and work it into the solder bead along the birds back.

Or, solder copper wire along the straight edge of both wings (the edge facing forward in the picture), then bend the wire from one wing where it touches the body, and continue soldering it along the top of the body for a short distance. The wire from the other wing should be cut at the junction where it touches the wire from the other wing. Bead solder over both wires.

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