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.

 

Monochrome suncatcher

I bought a small square of bullseye reeded glass about a year ago, intending to use it in a prairie style copperfoil design at sometime, but when I came to make one recently, it didn’t really work in with the other colours I picked, so I set it aside for another use. I also had a grey cathedral glass, again for another idea initially, but the two together looked good, giving a sort of black and white look, so that’s the way I decided to go.

monochromeA clear mini wine bottle bottom, rescued from a street nearby a month or two back, was picked out of the pile, and cut and prepared for foiling. Clear was the only choice to avoid any colour in the design. I centred the bottle end on the cross template, and cut a 100x100mm square of grey cathedral glass, cutting it into four, then shaping the arc around the outline of the bottle end. I then cut the reeded glass into 20x120mm strips to be able to form a border around the grey square, offsetting the corners for strength. I ground the edges a little in parts to level off to ensure a tight and neat fit when foiled, and used silver backed copper foil tape to allow a silver finish in the end to compliment the monochrome look. Soldering was completed using K grade solder, and cleaned up to give a shiny finish.

When hung in the light, the two directions of the reeded glass catches the light differently, giving an effect of four different tones across the whole design, which works very well in a monochrome way. I’m really pleased with the end result.

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.

Etched glass

A long bank holiday weekend gives some much needed time to make a couple of things from the growing stockpile of bottles in the yard.

One unusual bottle I’d got was a tall etched glass bottle, about 50mm in circumference with quite thick glass. I tried to cut it high, to leave a very tall etched vase, but during the separating process, it cracked vertically in the same stressed way the blue glass bottle did. I halted progress, and re-cut it comfortably below the crack, but the same thing happened again…and again…and a fourth time, leaving nothing of the body left to work with! Just one of those types of bottles that just doen’t play ball.

etched and greenUnderterred, I salvaged the neck, and with some careful edging, got the base to a good enough standard to form a base. I did the old placing one bottle on top of the other trick, to visualise the nicest option, and decided a green cider bottle base would be the right size and look pretty good on the neck. This was a straight forward bottle to do, and I bonded the prepared base to the etched neck with the daylight activated UV glue. The mix of green and acid-etched glass looks quite good together, so that’s another combination to look out for to do future combinations.

As I had plenty of time, I cut a green mini-wine bottle I brought home from last night’s quiz , and bonded that to a J.P.Chenet min-wine bottle neck, which is a nice design I’ve made a number of already.