Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hanging Stained Glass Suncatchers

Arts & Craft Books

There are several methods of hanging stained glass suncatchers once they are ready for sale or just to admire next to your window.

Hanging hooks are are most frequently used and can be purchased in several shapes and sizes for specific types suncatcher projects.

In addition to hooks for suncatchers, wood and metal frames, there are several types of retainers for stained glass cabinet inserts that are available.

Hooks for hanging wood framed stained glass projects.

Any time you hang a stained glass project in a wooden frame, make sure the hooks are placed on the sides of the frame. Not on the top.

The weight of the stained glass will over time cause the frame to bow if you attach the hangers to the top frame member.

This applies to frames made from any material.
  • Panel roll hooks are sold in pairs with the screws needed for mounting and are the most common type of hanger for wood frames. 

    These brass plated hooks can be purchased from any stained glass supply house or from your local Lowes or Home Depot.
  • Side mount picture frame hooks can also be used for mounting wood framed stained glass projects. 

    These are also brass plated and come with mounting screws in packs of 1 pair to up to 50 pairs.

When hanging metal framed mounted staing glass projects, you can use hanging rings, came framed Handy Hangers or glass clips.


Rings are the most commonly used for hanging stained glass suncatchers and panels. They can be purchased in bulk packs in brass or silver and come in 1/4", 3/8' or 1/2" diameters.

You easily can make your own rings with single or multiple strand copper or silver wire wrapped around a pencil or dowel of the correct diameter.

Snip off the excess wire and leave a tag long enough to tack solder the ring to the metal frame.

Make sure to tin the copper or silver ring before soldering to the metal frame.

Came framed Handy Hangers

Handy Hangers - 5 Pr
are installed in the metal frame to become an integral part of the frame. They can be purchased in packs of 5 or more pairs at a resonable cost. The picture below links to the installation procedure.

Handy Hangers - 5 Pr

Glass Clips

Clear polycarbon glass clips are sold in packs of up to 25 and make for a simple secure installation. Glass clips allow about an inch of space between the window and stained glass project for air circulation and are easily removed for cleaning.

For stained glass cabinet inserts you can use either polycarbon glass clips or metal retaining clips.

Polycarbon glass clips are the kind you buy for mounting mirrors and other glass panels. They come in packs of four or in bulk in packs of 50 and can be purchased in most hardware stores.

Metal retaining clips are a simple inexpensive way to secure a stained glass panel inside the rabbet of a cabinet door. Screw the clips so the retaing button extends just over the edge of the rabbet enough to securely hold in the glass panel.

Again, you can purchase retaining clips and mounting screws in any hardware store in bulk packs at a reasonable price.

When hanging stained glass suncatchers; rings and hanging wire are your best bet.

Many people use suction cups to hang their projects directly to a glass window pane. These are available in many sizes in bulk packs at a reasonable cost.

Just remember one thing. There are times in humid climates when suction cups let go and your stained glass project will hit the floor.  Believe me, it happens more than you think!

Excess humidity, an unintentional bump or a window blind hitting the suction cup, can create a disaster to your valued suncatcher project.

A better more secure method of hanging stained glass suncatchers is the ring and wire hanger method.

As described above, tack on your hanger rings and then run picture wire, heavy fishing monofilament or even single strand wire fishing leader material through the rings.

Secure with wire connectors of the proper diameter and crimp securely with crimping pliers.

Hang from the ceiling with screw in hooks, toggle hooks, etc.

This method is much more secure than using suction cups to showcase your suncatchers.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Framing Your Stained Glass Projects

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Framing your stained glass projects applies primarily to larger square or rectangular suncatchers and wall hangings.

Although smaller suncatcher projects do not require any special framing, many artisans still prefer the look of a came, brass or zinc frame on their projects.

The frame provides the extra rigidity that is needed to hang larger suncatchers and to prevent them from buckeling.

Small suncatcher projects are usually hung with hanging rings soldered to the outside of the project at the seams.

Although you can purchase hanging rings in various sizes from some suppliers, it's much cheaper and easier to make them yourself from copper or silver wire.

Just wrap a piece of wire around a pencil, dowel or other ojbect to create a small circle of the diameter you need and clip off the excess. Leave enough of a "tag" to solder the ring to your suncatcher.

Make sure to tin the hanging rings before tack soldering them to your suncatcher.

Hanging rings can be used on larger sized suncatchers if you "beef" them up a bit by twisting a couple of pieces of wire together before winding it around the pencil or dowel.

Once you tin the twisted wire, you will have an extra strong hanging ring that will not distort or pull off with time.

If you have ever put in the time and effort to produce a beautiful piece of art and then have it break because of a failed hanging ring, you'll start using the extra strong twisted hanging rings on a regular basis.

After you have completed your stained glass suncatcher or wall hanging, you can easily add a zinc, lead or brass frame to it.

  • Measure the perimeter of the project with a ruler or tape and cut a little bit more than the measurement.
  • If your project is a rectangle or square, miter the corners with a fine toothed came saw. A hack saw works just as well if you don't have a came saw in your toolbox.
  • Fit the frame to your piece and hold it in place with T pins or nails. Make sure that all edges of the glass are secured into the full depth of the frame.
  • Flux the corners and all the seams that intersect with the frame.
  • Lightly tack solder each joint. Don't hold the iron on the joint too long or apply too much solder to your joints or you will lose the smooth professional look you are trying to achieve. This is especially true if you frame your project with lead came instead of zinc or brass.
  • Flip your project over and solder all the joints on the reverse side.
  • Next lightly flux your hanging rings and the area where you want to attach them to your frame.
  • Lightly tin the hanging rings and when cool tack solder them to the frame.

    Try to place the rings at the intersection of the frame and a solder seam. This is the strongest area of the frame and the best place to solder hanging rings.
Wash off the flux from your project and apply your patina when dry.

Framing your stained glass projects with wood is also a good idea if you have a large wall hanging or a wall clock project.

If you are a carpenter, it's an easy matter to create any type of custom frame for your project.

Otherwise, you can go to a specialty frame shop and have one made to the dimensions of your project or create your project to the dimensions of an off the shelf frame.

Thats it.