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.

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.