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.

1 comment:

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