Other glass projects

I’ve been a bit preoccupied with stained glass projects over the past year especially, and haven’t really done much in the way of bottle cutting during this time. I’ve made amends for that today, cutting and finishing four bottles that I’ve recovered from several trips walking in The Lake District, which is my other major time-consuming hobby. These will be particularly pleasing to do, as finding litter in such a beautiful area, clearing it and then making it into something really nice is a very satisfying process, as I have outlined in a previous post – idealistic upcyling.

Here are some of the other glass items I’ve been making:

Monochrome panel

Prairie lamp

3D Christmas trees

Rose lamp

Sheep lamp

 

Backless Bottom Centres

Right from the start of mixing bottle bottoms with copper-foil designs, I’ve used a 3mm UV-bonded clear circle blank as a backing piece for the bottle ends, as I’ve always felt it adds strength though a fully soldered joint and overall appearance improvement. Occasionally though, despite very careful bonding, and neat soldering, a few drops of water have sneaked through into the enclosed bottle bottom cavity when washing away the patina. I’ve managed to dry them out using natural sunlight, open fires and even industrial desiccant, but it’s not without some water streaks left inside to drive me mad! No-one notices them, but I do. I still think it’s by far the best way to make them though, but out of curiosity for the alternative, I thought I would try one without backing as an experiment.rearsoldering

I begun by foiling the cut edge of the bottle bottom, which , with care, wasn’t as untidy as I thought it could be. I lifted the bottle end up towards the front surface using some 3mm glass, ensuring the front solder was as substantial and visually neat as the backed centres method. This ensures a good looking front face, which is the most important thing in a window hung design. This leaves a step between the two rear foiled surfaces, for solder to form a sloped join.backlessamber The result is ok, but does need the sort of working that puts a lot of heat in during smoothing. It’s pretty strong, but what I don’t like about this method is that it leaves a tinned edge on the upper edge of the round, which is a little bit vulnerable to careless cleaning. From the front, you wouldn’t really tell the difference between the two methods, and it looks good hanging on a window surface. I guess time wise, it probably saves a good half-hour or so from by cutting out the  need for a 3mm circle and the UV bonding, but I still prefer the end results from the backed method I’ve been developing over the last year or two. It’s been useful to try it out, and I would use this method again on a design that is very one-sided in viewing orientation.

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.

Punted bottle suncatcher

I had a punted olive wine bottle, which had a nicely  textured dotted pattern on the surface of the punt itself, as well as a faultless ribbed edge. I though this would make a great bottle centre for another suncatcher, so prepared it for a 35 mm deep cut that would clear the hump of the punt when adhered to a flat circle. When cut, I saw that the end was actually really light in weight, which was a bonus, so I finished it, and bonded it to a tightly cut circle of 3 mm clear as before. puntedmultib

The end result was probably one of the best bottle centres I’ve ever made, so I proceeded to chose the accompanying glass carefully to make something really nice. A previous deep punted bottle bottom that I had used looked great with antique amber spectrum glass, with the seeds and lines glistening in direct sunlight.Though tricky to cut, I liked the narrow banding that 10mm coloured borders of previous hangers has given, so I looked to a range of colours to compliment the green and amber. Greens lacked enough permiter definition, and a red was too contrasting. A rough rolled spectrum violet looked good with the other colours, and was selected, cutting neatly into 10 mm strips. K grade soldering was completed neatly to the closely cut pieces, and finished with black patina followed by graphite grate polish to good effect. The end result is very pleasing, and looks particularly good on a bright sunny day like today.

 

Blue baroque suncatcher

The two green and white baroque glass suncatchers I made in December for Christmas presents looked so good, I decided to get some stock of the other colours and make some more.

When the two colours came, the cinnamon baroque one looked a little light in a window compared to a brown bottle centre, so I chose to use the blue one first, which has strong banding that I thought would compliment a Blue Nun bottle bottom beautifully. I cut the bottle bottom off, and bonded it to a clear circle as previously. However, as is the risk in this method, a bit of water sneaked inside the bottle end when cleaning, which went on to dry slightly streaky. The square of blue baroque I cut up was so nice, I decided not to risk it on a less than perfect bottle bottom.

bluebaroqueAt work there were a couple of old sample dichroic bevel squares, with a textured raised centre that changes between clear/pink/gold/blue depending on the light refraction, so I used one of those to save this lovely bit of baroque glass, with it’s striking rings.  I finished the solder in black patina and polish, and although the photo is on a dark day, the end result is quite striking with the dramatic rings and the chromatic texture changing colours. I might try a few more alternative centres now and again, as the bottle ones do take a lot of preparation sometimes. I’ve got a couple more of these bevels, and some stained glass roundels to try out.

Teal baroque suncatchers

I’ve had a busy few months, with what time I had to work on glass being taken up by a couple of copper-foil panel designs, so have looked forward to returning to making some bottle end suncatchers again. teal baroque

 I had a sheet of teal baroque stained glass that I bought many months ago, so was keen to use it with a couple of green bottle bottoms that were prepared in the usual way on a piece of 3mm clear. Heavily streaked glass like the baroque can be problematic when cutting curves across the lines and streaks. Fortunately all eight quarters went to plan, keeping the pattern running through perfectly. The black backed copper foil was soldered with K grade solder, darkened with black patina, and then polished using the graphite grate polish. Both look great hanging in the light.

 

Blue bottle suncatcher

I particularly like the Blue Nun wine bottle for use as a bottle tealight hanger, but also wanted to use the bottom of one for a bottle suncatcher that I’ve been making lately. I’d been waiting for one to turn up for a while, so when I got given one last week, I wanted to use it at the first opportunity.

I cut the bottle bottom as low as I possibly could, Blue centreas I wanted to keep the projection and weight down as much as possible, this time using the upgraded Kinkajou bottle cutter. I UV glued the bottom to another 3mm clear glass circle. Back I went to the glass box to see what glass would work with the blue centre. I had a streaky blue glass that I had partly used which looked good along side the blue centre, on quickly settled on that. It cut nicely, and was edged with black backed copper foil to again use the black patina. The final step was to polished the solder with black graphite grate polish and clean the glass before hanging.

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.

 

Violet bottle suncatcher

I’d prepared a number of bottle end centres for use in copper foil designs, and had one single clear one, so I decided to use it up on another coloured border suncatcher just like the last one I made. I headed to the box again, and had a part-used sheet of light amber cathedral, which seemed ideal.violet With a clear bottle centre chosen, I wanted something with a bit of texture to it, without a strong colour, to blend the difference between the centre and a strong border colour. I followed the same method, this time using a 120mm centre square, with a 20mm border. For the border, I liked the strong look of a deep violet cathedral. All the glass cut well, and cutting ‘mathematically’ rather than to templates really wasn’t a problem at all, and worked very neatly. Finished with K grade solder, the end result is very nice, and the violet border looks really good.

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.