How to Strengthen Unstable Sun Catcher

Fan Light Foil Unstable Question

Copperfoiled fan light

Copper foiled fan light

Copperfoiled fan light Copperfoiled fan light

I have not long started and this is my third project. I have finished this piece ( not perfect i know) but the tab at the bottom is wobbly is there any help you can give me to solve this problem. Ann

Milly’s reply:

Third project? You’re doing great!

I can see why the bottom bit is wobbling. I’ve added a pink line on the second photo to show you where the design is structurally weak.

Whenever you’re doing a suncatcher and there’s no framework to hold it in place, anything that is only held on with one straight line is vulnerable. So it will wobble back and forth.

Sometimes you can add another couple of shapes to secure it, but this isn’t an option here, as it would spoil the shape and be such a small slither it wouldn’t help much.

Strengthen with wire

What you can do is strengthen it around the edge with some wire. I’ve indicated the minimum area with the green line, but if this were mine I’d go all the way around so that it looks even.

The wire is joined on to the edge with solder and beaded over as normal. Brass wire is stronger than copper.

Tack solder the wire all around the edge, working around your sun catcher, adding small blobs of solder to stick the wire to the edge. I’d start somewhere on the top dome, not around the tab that you want to strengthen.

When it’s all tack soldered, you can bead the edge to neaten it up.

I’d also practice first on a piece of foiled glass that isn’t precious. It does take a bit of practise.

Hope that helps.

4 thoughts on “How to Strengthen Unstable Sun Catcher”

    • Hobby came doesn’t add strength to sun catchers I’m afraid Jennifer, it provides an aesthetic finished edge. The best thing to do is to design or make alterations to your pattern so that it’s a strong sun catcher to start with.
      You can use ReStrip to internally strengthen them if they’re larger and unstable.
      I hope that helps.

    • Hi Robin, if you have a line going right across from one edge to another in stained glass – (see the pink line in the photo above) – you are immediately creating a hinge point. This is a weak point as it will bend and the foil will come away from the glass.

      Adding more solder along the seam won’t help as it will only make it heavier and more likely to bend. You could try the technique above, or even (if the angel is small) a beaded edge seam helps as the solder ‘clings to’ the edge and might hold the wing on a bit.

      Try designing with this in mind and you avoid the problem from the beginning.


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