Preparing a stained glass suncatcher template is useful when you plan to produce several suncatchers that need to be exactly alike.
Although this is usually done for small production runs that are offered for sale; it's always a good idea to prepare a template for later use.
The first step is to copy, number, identify and then cut out the pieces of your pattern.
A copy of your pattern will be used to trace on the glass so you can cut your pieces accurately.
A second copy of your pattern is necessary for laying out and identifying the cut pieces of glass for soldering. Both should be numbered and identified the same.
Using double bladed scissors, cut out the pieces of your template using business card stock or cardboard. This is necessary when creating several items using the same template.
Some people go a step farther and laminate their stained glass suncatcher templates so they can be used over and over again without any significant damage.
If you are using clear glass, you can use a light box to trace your template directly on the glass without going through the trouble of cutting out the pattern.
The problem with using a light box, is that you give up the precision that is necessary for creating the tight soldering joints you need when using the foil method.
Using a light box is also not recommended when using came instead of foil.
If you are only cutting out a few pieces and the dimensions of your finished suncatcher is not that important, then using a light box to trace your template directly on the glass is perfectly acceptable.
The next step is to lay down your template and trace your pattern pieces on the smoothest side of the glass you are using.
If you want the textured side of the glass to be towards the front, cut your glass from the back. Otherwise cut it from the front. It's really irrelevant.
Just remember to keep your numbered pieces in the same order for each type of glass you are using in your project.
If you're scoring the front of the glass; lay the pattern pieces numbered face down. If you're scoring the back of the glass; lay the pattern pieces numbered face up.
Always try to solder the backside of your stained glass suncatcher first to get a straighter front side with thinner lead lines.
You will find that the back side of the first side you solder is always flatter and generally nicer than the front side.
However, with practice you will soon be able to keep the joints on both sides equal in thickness, regardless of the inequalities of the thickness of the type glass you are using.
Preparing a stained glass suncatcher template is a relatively simple process that ensures the accurate replication of your project at a later date.