tigertail and copper foil overlay

by Linda
(Everett, WA)

Hi Sue,

Was reading through some of your info for hanging suncatchers and was wondering what tiger tail is?

Also, do you know of any info on overlaying. I've
got the sheet of copper foil, know how to cut it, but don't know what to do after that....and I'm not going to stick it on my panel and then solder...guess it can crack your glass from the heat....

Thanks for all your help....again.

Happy 4th.



Tigertail, is made up of multistrands of very fine steel cables and usually twisted together. These multistrands are then coated with plastic or nylon. The coating creates a tough and resilient wire.

It is generally used in jewelery making, but has been found to be a very strong and quite invisible wire for hanging stained glass.

You can also read the answer I gave someone else about Tigertail. It goes into a little more detail: Tiger Tail

As for overlay, you're right...you don't solder it while it's on your glass. Put it on some aluminum foil, and do your soldering there. Once you have it the way you like it, remove it from the foil and put it where you want it on the glass.

It should be soldered in place wherever it touches solder seams. If it doesn't touch any solder seams, glue it down. Just make sure you use a clear, non yellowing glue that is made for glass. I never like to trust the adhesive backing on the foil to keep overlays in place forever.

Your question about overlay is timely, as I had already planned on focusing on overlay for my next ezine. I have gathered a lot of material for it, so if you can wait until July 19, I'm sure you will find the information you are seeking.

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by Marilyn
(Cleveland, ohio)

I'm working on an abstract panel and it has a solder joint that continues through a glass circle (1/3 through the glass). How do i continue the solder through the glass? With tinned wire? and how do i get the seam to be the same width apart?


It's referred to as overlay. You do it with foil.

You will lay a piece of foil on the circle, joining it up with the seam coming up to the circle. Burnish it well, flux the foil then lay a solder bead on it. Don't leave the soldering iron in one place too long. If you do, the glass will probably fracture from the heat. Repeat the overlay on the back side of the circle.

I don't know what your design is like, but the overlay foil can be trimmed to come to a point, have uneven edges, anything you can think of that can be done with foil and a pair of scissors. It can add a lot of interest and questions like "how did you do that" to any piece you create.

If the foil comes loose after beading or cleaning it, and it occasionally does, you can glue it down. I like E6000 glue for glass work, but Weldbond works well too.

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twisted wire

by Kathy

Do you have to tin the twisted wire before you solder to edge of suncatcher?


No...once the wire is twisted, tinning it will make it stiff and you won't be able to bend it to conform to the suncatcher.

If you want it tinned, you could tin each strand of wire or use pre-tinned wire before you twist it.

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How do I Apply Wire Accents to Stained Glass

by Copper
(Houston, Texas)

I would like to add some wire accents to some projects. Cat's wiskers,leaf veins... I can't find any info on how to do this. I'm betting I use copper wire, but how do I make it stick ?Thanks--and my given first name is Copper


Yes, you use copper wire. Tin it, then solder one end of it to a solder line for whiskers, both ends to the leaf for a vein. You will have to design the pattern so there is a solder line wherever you want to attach the wire.

Wear gloves while you are tinning it. The wire gets very hot! Make sure you only tin it, don't bead up the solder. If you're not familiar with tinning, you flux the wire, then run your soldering iron down it, on both sides. The wire should look silver instead of copper, but there shouldn't be any measurable amount of solder on it.

You can tape the wire in place when you're ready to solder it to the project, or sometimes holding it with needle nose pliers works better.

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