Saturday, September 12, 2015

Beveled Stained Glass Suncatchers

Beveled stained glass suncatchers can be constructed in a variety of sizes and shapes however because of the cost of the bevels used in their construction, they usually command a hefty price.

The beveled Marlin Suncatcher above took over a week to construct and is an example of what can be done with bevels.

The glass used to construct the water is a Steel Gray Blue Waterglass cut in the same direction, and the seaweed was constructed from Kokomo Rough Rolled Green.   

The marlin bevel set was purchased from Delphi at a cost of over $ 100.00.

The suncatcher measures 19" in diameter and has a came border with a gold plated hanging chain. 

To finish off this project, a black patina was used to give the project a "regal" appearance.

Beveled glass can also be used for wall hangings and window panes but they show off the most light when you see them hanging in a window, shooting beams of multicolored light across the room.

The Marlin Suncatcher above can be found in the Artist Suncatcher Gallery and is available for purchase.

The next time you order some stained glass or supplies, check out the bevel glass sets available and try your hand at a beveled stained glass suncatcher.

Arts & Craft Books

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Forget The Details?

Making stained glass suncatchers can be problematic if you're a stickler for detail. This does not mean that you should forget the details, but it does mean that many details can be omitted when making stained glass suncatchers and wall hangings.

 There are several good reasons for this that we will delve into here.

 First of all, cutting out fine details from stained glass often does not show up in the finished product as you would expect it to.

Individual feathers in a bird's wing or detailed fish scales on the body of a Koi almost never turn out as expected.

Foiling a narrow detailed cut like a single bird's feather, reduces the amount of glass that can be seen between the edges of the foil.   Wider cuts are easier to make, easier to foil, and will show up better in the finished suncatcher.

A better alternative to creating the "feathery look" of a bird feather is to create your own filigree from small diameter copper wires soldered to the main seams of a wider wing, or purchase a commercially stamped filigree.

 Commercially manufactured filigrees are made in a variety of types and sizes for almost any type stained glass project.  The examples below are only a small sample of what is available.

If you insist on having fine details in your wall hangings or suncatcher project ; use filigrees or paint in the details.

They look much more realistic than fine, narrower cuts that when wrapped with foil become indistinguishable from what you are trying to create.

Cutting fine narrow pieces from stained glass is also much more difficult to handle. Even the most expert craftsmen have a hard time with delicate, narrow glass cuts.    Breaks are a common occurrence and many times when the narrow pieces are foiled and soldered together, you completely lose the detail you toiled so long to perfect. 

Two narrow pieces of stained glass soldered together with even the narrowest foil will produce a wide seam that ultimately destroys the detail you are trying to create.

Forget the details when making stained glass suncatchers and make more use of fine copper wires to add that "special effect".  

Many newcomers try to cut out human or animal eyes from stained glass and expect the bird, cat, dog, or whatever the profile to look natural.

This can be done with larger wall hangings, stained glass windows, etc. but for stained glass suncatcher projects, which are usually much smaller, forget about cutting the eyes from stained glass.

It is easier to either purchase some commercial glass eyes, paint in your eyes, or make them from globs of solder and then paint the solder to add more realism.  

The Cat Eyes to the left is an example of what is available for purchase for highly detailed stained glass projects.

The Blue Bird suncatcher to the right is an example of using wire filigree on a
project and painting in an eye. 

Cutting a birds eye from a piece of stained glass for a suncatcher of this size is impossible.

 A painted in eye or a glob of solder painted as an eye is a much better option.

A little common sense will dictate how narrow a piece you can use in your project and still keep it looking realistic.

Arts & Craft Books

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Collecting Sea Shells For Suncatchers

Collecting sea shells for your suncatcher projects is an enjoyable way to get some fresh air, exercise,  and stock up on supplies without spending any of your hard earned cash.

Among other uses, sea shells are often used to enhance the look of stained glass suncatchers and give them a unique look.

Although they can be purchased online from a variety of sources, collecting sea shells is simply a matter of walking the beach at low tide and picking up as many as you can carry.  An hour before and an hour after a low tide is a great way to start a shell collecting trip.

If you are a Florida resident or reside in a State that boarders the Gulf, Atlantic, or Pacific Ocean,  collecting sea shells is not a problem.

Hit the beach as the tide is going out and you can usually pick up more sea shells than you could use in a lifetime.  Some areas of the beach will hold literally tons of shells, while other areas of the same beach can be totally barren.

This is due to a variety of factors such as moon phase, wind direction, bad weather, currents, etc.   All play a part in which areas of the beach will hold shells and which beaches are best for collecting them.

Some areas of Florida are noted for collecting sea shells and are identified by the stars in the map listed below.

Other areas are not as well known but may hold as many, if not more varieties of sea shells.

When you have collected all the shells you want, you need to clean them and restore them to their original color.

The video below demonstrates how this can be accomplished using a diluted Muriatic Acid solution.


Once the acid solution cleans the calcium deposits from the shells, they can be sprayed with clear lacquer or polyurethane to seal in the color.

After drying, the shells can be used in your suncatcher project or for whatever other project you can dream up.

Collecting sea shells is a lot of fun and even if you don't live on the coast, you can always set aside a day or so during your vacation time for collecting sea shells for your suncatchers, wall hangings, or wind chimes.  

Give it a try, it doesn't cost you a dime.

Arts & Craft Books