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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Old Tom bottle candles

One very useful bottle I’ve had donated a couple of times is an Old Tom strong ale bottle, which comes in various flavours, including a chocolate beer. It’s has a heavily embossed branding section on the main body section, but the neck and bottom sections have protruding smooth sections that are just big enough to set the cutting wheel onto, which makes them useful for container cuts or for removing the bottom.

The bottles usuallywick setting cut pretty well as the glass is consistent and fairly thick, and the preparation of the edges goes very well indeed as a result. The photo to the right shows the cut at the neck, finished to a good standard.

Once prepared, the first step I take is to place the wick in the centre of the bottle. I prefer to use  small piece of 1mm black high tack double sided tape to stick it to the bottom of the glass, to really help it stick and allow a strong tension upwards for straightness. Once centred, I wrap it round a wick pin, which I find easier than to pierce the wick with it, as it enables you to tension the wick if required. Orange candle

All that remains is to pour in the candle. I like to use a strong colour dye, such as orange or red, to give a bit of contrast to the bottle colour. There’s much better advice on candle-making on the net than my efforts, but I’ve been quite pleased with the results so far. Most look pretty neat, and make a nice gift for family or a friend. I made a couple for the friend who donated the bottles, and they keep them on the fireplace just for show as they like the end look. The bottle diameter has been good for the candle burn and the melt-pool, without tunnelling, and a test burn I did for curiosity showed a full Old Tom burned for over 24 hours.

 

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.

Baileys bottle vase

Another bank holiday weekend comes around, and last night I was given an empty large Baileys Irish cream bottle by a relative, so just bashed right on with it today. Baileys

The bottles are very dark olive green in colour, and hardly passes any light through the glass, even in direct sunlight. This makes it limited for use with candles, for example using it as a hanger or a hurricane. The bottom of the bottle has a rotation stopping dimple in it above the level of the Baileys embossed text at the bottom of the bottle, so that leaves it hard to chop for a centre without having to go very deep in to the bottle. Best use for it is the simplest one – a straight forward chop at the top to make a heavyweight vase or pot.

These thick bottles can be Baileysvasepretty easy to do once you’ve had a few goes. The weight of the glass needs a big thermal shock to break through cleanly to leave a flattish surface, so you don’t have to spend an excessive amount of time finish it. This requires a big heat to split, so needs to have a very clean cut to avoid breaking poorly. The G2 cutter is ideal for the job. I cut a clean, light score with the G2, and gave it a long heat (about 10 rotations) in hot water just off the boil, then a quick full rotation under a running cold tap to shock it. A second hot water pour split the bottle very cleanly indeed, leaving a flat surface that only needed about 20 minutes work with 3 grades of diamond pad (125/400/800 grit) to leave a very smooth, symmetrical and neat finish indeed. A simple bottle cut to make a useful, solid pot for no real cost other than a half hour of time.