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

Hinge Points

I can see why the bottom bit is wobbling. It’s what we call a ‘Hinge Point’.

Hinge points are straight or straight-ish lines that go from one side of a panel to the other without any supporting shapes to strengthen them. They’re to be avoided in small sun catchers as they will bend and eventually fall off.

I’ve added a pink line on the second photo to show you where the hinge point is in this design. Can you see how its’ straightness makes it structurally weak?

Any sun catcher that is divided by a straight line is vulnerable. 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.


What you can do is add ReStrip along the hinge point. You’d have to remove the bottom section, re-foil and solder with the added ReStrip running across the whole width.

You could then strengthen it around the perimeter 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.

Solder the wire to the edge with solder and bead 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, bead the edge to neaten it up.

I’d also practise first on a piece of foiled glass that isn’t precious. Be patient, it does take a bit of practise.

6 thoughts on “How to Strengthen Unstable Sun Catcher”

    • Between the pieces for the ReStrip Ashley. It would be fairly tricky to run around the edge as it’s quite rigid. You could either use brass wire around the edge (make sure it’s soldered to the end of the ReStrip) or, short strips of ReStrip running across the end of the internal ReStrip and soldered to the edge as explained above.

    • 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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