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.

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