Streaky amber suncatcher

I’ve been very focused on a number decorative copper-foil panels for most of this year, so haven’t completed anything with a bottle cut for quite a few months, so thought it was time to cut another one on this rainy Sunday afternoon.   purpleamber

I’ve described the process of this pleasing design of bottle end suncatchers enough over the course of the last few posts, so I’ll just describe the glasses, and show the photo. A brown real ale bottle provided the centre, and I found the streaky antique amber complimented this well. I rifled right through the glass box, holding up various colours with these two before I settled on a purple and amber wispy glass for the 15mm border. Finished in black and polished patina, then end result is really nice, and blends beautifully. Sometimes things just work out really nicely together.

Yard bottle hanger

I’ve had a bottle hanger in the yard for a year or two now,brown as much to see how the copper rods weather over time, which they do really well. The wind at most gently sways them as the bottles, being round, are not badly affected. A brown curved wine bottle was my favourite hanger, as the shape and size was great, and the colour of the glass made the copper rod inside look really good. Sadly, with the high winds this week, some washing on the line blew wildly and helped smash it into the wall, and broke it. It would have survived on it’s own otherwise.

greenA change is a good as a rest, so I opted for a deep green bottle to replace it, as I had a choice of a few already prepared. It looks good under light and when lit, and will allow the continued observation of the copper rod weathering. So far, it’s still like new after well over a year. They cost a tenner each, but as with many things, you do get what you pay for.

 

Multicolour suncatchers

I’ve not done much with bottles for a number of weeks, concentrating what time I had on a couple of copper-foil designs I wanted to do, so I decided to get back into a couple of things now that those designs are out of the way. I’ve really enjoyed making the bottle centre suncatchers, and improving the designs and finish standards a good deal, so I opened the glass box to see what I had to use this time.

The previous violet bordered suncatcher I made looked vibrant in the light, and I had plenty left, so I wanted to use that again, but with another strong but complimentary colour inside. Pairing them up together in the light, I found I liked a green bottle centre, with a strong amber between the bottle centre and the border. multicolourThis technique of holding glass up to the light together really does help in making decisions that please the eye. Sometimes choices seem good matches on the desk, but don’t quit work as well together when viewed through the light.

Firstly, I used a green beer bottle centre, which was UV bonded onto a clear circle for strength and foiling success. I then cut a 100mm square of the amber, and marked out the centre cross and circle, then proceeded to cut and grind the pieces to a close fit, so the foiling and soldering would be as neat and as uniform as possible. foiled multicolour

Cutting mathematically rather than to a template helps to keep things pretty square, so I then marked and measured 15x115mm strips of the violet border, to allow for the overlapped border, which adds strength. If everything goes to plan, things should be pretty tight and square, and I then pin the design down into my right angle box to help keep the pieces in just the right position to ensure gap-free joins when finished.

I used black backed copper foil again, and soldered using K-grade solder for a nice smooth flow. Black patina was added, and I now use some Stovax black graphite polish to give the beautiful end shine like the very top photo above, after a kind tip and sample from a local stained glass artist whose panel we encapsulated at work. The polishing has transformed the end result on this and those copper-foil designs, and made black patina the best looking option for me now.

As the end result turned out so well, I repeated the exact same design again yesterday, mini-wine botte multicolouredthis time using a green mini-wine bottle centre, pictured right and above. This centre is a touch smaller, a slightly stronger green colour, and projects more prominently. I’ve still to add the polish in the photo, but I think the colours look really well together.

 

Yellow bottle suncatcher

A hot and sunny bank holiday Sunday gave an ideal chance to get outside and do some cutting and soldering in the yard, avoiding fumes and glass splinters in the house. I wanted to make another bottle centre suncatcher, this time as a gift for an upcoming celebration.

First thing to do was to look in the box of glass sheets and see what might work together. I had bought a number of random pack sheets, and had a yellow and white opalescent Spectrum sheet that I hadn’t seen a use for previously. I wanted to make an offset coloured border around the suncatcher like the last one I made, which turned out strong and attractive, so settled on that colour. A brown beer bottle centre was ideal for the job, this time made from a discarded bottle of Budweiser collected from a street on the walk home from work. outdoor workshopWith a near solid yellow border, and a brown bottle centre, I wanted a semi opaque glass that would compliment and blend both together. I had a part-used light amber Cathedral sheet from a recent prairie style hanger which was perfect for the job.

Cutting the glass went very easily this time round. Using the cross template, the amber Cathedral cut beautifully, with no problems around the circle outline of the bottle bottom. As further practise for cutting accuracy, I again cut the yellow border just on a measurement basis, with no template, which was close enough for soldering, yellow suncatcherbut did require the use of pins to manipulate slightly to make all the joints meet up smoothly and look square when tinned.

Soldering was completed neatly using K grade solder. To finish off, a corner hanger with longer legs to cross over two pieces of the border for strength was added to the top corner, and I went with a copper patina finish to nicely compliment the yellow and brown colours. The amber and yellow tones all blend together nicely, and has some favourable reactions already.

Beer bottle suncatchers

I’ve had two green beer bottle centres made and ready to use for a couple of months, so it was time to get them used, in between other panels, before the copper foil oxidized. 

tipped bottle sun catcherYellow worked well with the green centres before, so I picked a sheet out of the glass box and set to work, using the cross template I made previously to make a perfectly aligned square.  I wanted to add another colour to it for contrast, so rather than cut into the squares, I tipped them off with 20mm triangles using a violet cathedral glass , as pictured. Because I preferred the square to hang on it’s diagonal, I had to make a longer legged hanger which soldered to both the violet and the yellow glass for strength.

green hangerThe second green bottle end was identical to the first, but this time I wanted to keep the whole suncatcher green, to be hung in the newly installed kitchen of a relative, complimenting the green painted walls. I used a green cathedral glass, and just kept the square simple and small, to hang nicely in the short fixed pane of the window. The finish was again left silver, and polished up well as I used K-grade (60:40) solder on a very neat tip. As is often the case with simple designs, it works really well.

Amber bottle suncatcher

I had prepared a brown beer bottle bottom a month or two back, having bonded it to a clear circle and copper-foiled it ready for use, but never got round to using it. The copper-foil was starting to show the first signs of darkening and oxidizing, so I decided i had better get used up. Sun flare

I had an off-cut of amber water glass big enough for a 150mm square, so set about making a regular square surround on the cruciform template around the brown bottle end centre. I cut all the pieces, but the first one ran off as I tapped it out, leaving a gap too large to solder. The “organic design” principle suggested to work around mistakes was applied, so I cut the break out and matched it on the opposite side, leaving what looked like what I can oly describe as  the armour plate of a stegosaurus. It looked promising, so I cut all the others out using that as a template. I was a bit worried the end result would be a bit weak hanging, having no continuous join all around the bottle surround, but with a good strong bead on both sides, it feels very strong, and hangs fine. I finished the solder and tinned edges in copper patina, and am pleased with the result, pictured above. The colours compliment each other well, and the soft ripples catch the light really nicely, even at night.

Coloured bottle suncatcher

I’ve been motoring on with the copper foil work as the course moves into it’s last week till next year. I had another Brut bottle bottom cut and prepared for use in a copper foil design, and wanted to try and push the size and weight of glass a little to see what is possible, as the previous one was good in terms of hanging despite the added weight.

multi-coloured bottle hangerI had four 100mm square coloured cathedral cup coasters kicking about not being used, and knew they were annealed glass as one corner had chipped, so could be cut. I cleaned the non-slip cushions off the bottom, and cut a centralised cruciform pattern around the bottle bottom, shaping the four coloured squares to suit, before foiling and soldering up. Because the size was now 200x200mm , and with a heavy bottle centre, I added two hanging points formed from copper wire to cope with the extra weight. It hangs well on 40mm suction hooks on a window, and the end result can be seen in the photo here.

Wine bottle suncatcher

I was keen to try another suncatcher using a bottle end, and had a punted olive wine bottle end left over from a bottle chop after making another candle hurricane from it.Wine bottle hurricane It had a nicely textured punted end, so I thought it would be a good one to keep.  I picked up another good soldering tip from an excellent instructional DVD from Tempsford Glass, so wanted to try it out as soon as possible, and get a much better looking bead.

First thing to do was clean up the bottle end cut, to prepare it for bonding. I then cut another circle in 3mm clear glass, about 5-6mm greater in diameter than the bottle end. The prepared bottle end was then bonded to the circle using the daylight curing UV glue, and left to cure in the light for a day. Wine bottle suncatcherThe bottle end was cleaned up to remove any grease and I then wrapped the clear circle edge with the copper foil. Next stage is to draw around the bottle end, and create a template for the hanger, making sure to neatly centralise the bottle end in the design. In this case, I used a centre cross, and cut a square of a nice antique Cathedral glass in amber, with plenty of seeds and lines in it. The design was then cleaned and edged in copper foil prior to soldering. The tip of angling the iron tip onto its point and feeding the solder melt from above worked very well indeed, and I got a much better bead than I had previously achieved.

wine bottle hangerThe last stage was to make and add a wire hanger using copper wire, and to clean it up. The extra depth and weight of the wine bottle end didn’t cause any difficulty with this design, and the colours complemented each other pretty well in the direct sunlight. The texture of the premium amber glass sheet is really nice in the sunlight. The smaller size square I used helps the larger diameter bottle end dominate the design a bit more, and I think it’s a much better end result than my first one. 

Bottle end suncatcher

Following on from the first attempt at combining bottle cutting with copper-foil glass making,bottle bottom I’d earlier prepared a few more bottle ends, using the same technique of UV bonding a cut and finished beer bottle end onto a circular piece of 3mm clear glass. The 3mm clear was then quite straightforward to copper-foil, and would sit flat to aid soldering when combined with the other glass which is mostly 3mm also.

I had two brown beer bottles, and some green ones, but the brown ones are the better looking of the two colours, as the green ones have an off-centre circle imprint on them, which doesn’t look so great. The brown tones would dictate the overall look. After a long time deliberating what to do, I finally took an idea from two of my favourite design styles I’ve seen while browsing the net. I like abstract flowers and trees that are a pure circle on a stalk, but by far my favourite stained glass designs are the Prairie style stained glass designs of the architect Frank Lloyd Wright. prarie hangerThe amber tones and wheat grain heads are glorious. Thought I’d read that these geometric designs are best suited to lead rather than copper foil, I thought a simple one wouldn’t be too difficult to do. I had a perfect piece of speckled amber glass to form the wheat grains, and cutting them neatly wasn’t difficult with the use of a small cutting square. The look was quite pleasing, so I opted for clear 3mm glass above and below the amber chevrons, to emphasise them, and not to be overwhelmingly coloured, and I think this decision turned out really well. I’m very pleased. Though the cutting on the edges of the circles could be a little bit closer, as they always run off when going to a point, but I’m pleased with the circles and the chevrons in particular. It’s given me more chance to practise my soldering technique, which does have a lot of room for improvement still. It’s also another hanger loop made from copper wire, which given how bad my first attempt was in  the evening class, I’m pleased with the progress there too on what is a fiddle of a process where you need four pair of hands. A copper patina was added to the final solder when complete, which was ideal for the prairie influenced style and colours. Overall, It took about 3.5 hours in total to do.

Copperfoil bottle designs

I’ve finally got around to begining a first attempt at incorporating my bottle cutting hobby with the copper-foil stained glass I begun to learn earlier this year. It’s something I’ve been meaning to get round to for a while, and had two initial plans of making a window hanging design, and using a bottle bottom as a ’roundel’ style centre.

copperfoil hangerThe first thing was to cut a bottle bottom, so I chose a brown beer bottle, and cut it as low as could be successfully done, just above the dots and numbers line at the bottom. This gave the bottle bottom a rise of about 6mm from the main design. I then cut a circle of 3mm thick clear glass at a diameter 6mm larger than the cut bottle bottom, which I edged in copper-foil. The plan here was to allow comfortable room fro the copper-foil and soldering, and also to leave a thin clear halo of glass around the bottle for effect. bottle centreThe bottle edge was flatted with diamond pads, and then bonded to the clear circle of glass using a UV curing glass glue. Care was taken to make the glue bond complete all around the circle as I didn’t want liquids seeping in there during cleaning later on. This completed the centre piece, so next up was to decide what to do with it, so I pulled out all the sheets of coloured glass I had and held them together to see what complimented the brown glass of the bottle bottom. A textured streaky yellow glass looked good, and could be complimented with a copper patina when finished.

I drew around the circle centrepiece, and then measured off a square design off it. The squares were cut, ground and foiled, before being assembled together for soldering on a square edged board. I tacked the pieces together, and then tinned the edges, before completing the main solder joints around the circle and the four joints, which was easier than I had expected.copperfoil hanger 3d Next up I made a loop out of copper wire, tinned it and then bent it to suit the top corner as I wanted it to hand diagonally. When this was strong and all the soldering was tidied up, I cleaned the glass with a little bicarbonate of soda, and then added the copper patina to the solder. I added a suction hanger to the loop, and tried it out in the window. The end result is very pleasing in look, and I can see further improvement in my finishing, which is quite satisfying.