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.

 

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.

Mixing colours

Following on from the accidental success of the blue glass bottle bottom on a green neck, I carried on with switching bodies and necks over. Though it’s a matter of personal taste, I think mixing the colours can make them even more effective, no matter what the size or shape.

As coloured glass is more effective than clear for tealights, adding a pleasing tint to the flickering flame and the light radiated, I put a shorter green beer bottle bottom on a clear stubby neck. For a design that would perhaps be to show things off better .eg. for a cut flower vase, a decorative or carved candle , potpourri, coloured beads etc , I put a tall clear body, on a longer green neck.

Mixed glass colours

Blue bottles

I was keen to get hold of some blue glass, so was pleased to get a Blue Nun wine bottle from a friend. Blue glass bottles look particularly good, and there’s a lot less of them around than green, clear and brown. I removed the neck sleeve, and soaked it in hot water to remove the label and soften the glue enough to remove the last traces with a flat, sharp blade. 

On examining the body prior to cutting, to look for the best approach and place to set the score, I noticed that these bottles were particularly rippled, which you could easily feel spinning the body around in your hand. The bottle was also quite off-round too. I scored the bottle quite high up, intending to make a vase/candle holder using the bulk of the body cylinder on it’s own neck. The first cut skipped about quite a bit on the rollers, so it wasn’t surprising to see it start to run off. I stopped the heating process, to leave it as strong as possible for another cut and inch or so down.

Despite extra care the second, third attempts to repeat the process also failed as the bottle ran off – a mixture of the bumpy process, the off-round shape and a bit of inexperience on my part of cutting such bottles. I thought I was going to lose the entire bottle, which would have been a shame as it was quite hard to get hold of a blue. The fifth cut finally proved successful, leaving a much shorter body of about two inches – something at least. It didn’t look right on the same neck, with the proportions all wrong, so I just finished the edges off nicely then left it to one side to think about what to use it for.

I begun playing around with the odd few bits of spare necks and bodies I had cut, and started to place the blue remnant on all of the necks I had. One in particular, the Kronenburg 1664 neck remnant kept from an earlier project, looked great in combination with it – almost like a strange looking flower. As both were previously finished, I got the UV glue out and bonded them together right away, taking care to make sure this one stuck centrally and was balanced. It is by far my favourite piece so far, partly because of the work done to salvage anything from the blue bottle, but also because of the chance combination of two good looking colours whose shapes work well and create a flower.

A very pleasing end result:

Blue and green 'flower'