Stained Glass Foiling – Fixing Common Copper Foil Errors

This video goes through two of the most common stained glass foiling mistakes.

  1.  looks at what you can do when the copper foil isn’t centred properly leaving a wider margin on one side than the other.
  2. gives you some suggestions for when your copper foiling is untidy and irregular.

1. Fixes For When Your Copper Foil Isn’t Centred

If you don’t centre the copper foil properly on the edge of the glass, you get a very thin strip of foil on one side and a a very thick strip on the other.  This is particularly annoying with transparent glass because you can see the other side of the foil.

stained glass foiling fixes

[00:33]

Step By Step Instructions

  • cut a length of copper foil at least as long as the mistake you’ve made
  • stick it along the edge over the area where you’ve not foiled centrally. This time bias the foil deliberately the other way so that it covers the thin bit of off-centre tape
  • crimp and burnish as normal. This helps the foil stick when you trim it with the craft knife

[01:16]
  • trim the foil using a new or very sharp craft knife. Mine looks rusty but the blade is actually brand new! Move slowly and carefully with your finger steadying the knife blade so that your whole hand is moving around with the blade little bit by little bit
  • don’t have the knife blades waggling around with nothing to support it, because you won’t get a smooth foiled line

[01:50]
  • pull off the excess carefully
  • now check the other side and do the same thing on this side, matching the foil up front and back so that when you look through the transparent glass, you don’t see copper on one side and not the other
  • remove the excess, as you did last time

[02:34]

Why Bother?!

This IS a little bit fiddly to do but because the solder only sticks to the foil, the more accurate and the neater your stained glass foiling is, the better your soldering lines and your end result will be.

So in my view it’s really worth spending it just a little bit of time tidying up these edges and making sure they’re as good as you can get them. You’ll see that it really does make a difference, a lovely, perfect circle instead of a wonky one!

2. How To Fix Stained Glass Foil That Isn’t Straight

When your cutting has an uneven edge the stained glass foil goes on off kilter.

[03:36]

In this case it’s making the foil angular when what you want is a nice, smooth little curve.

  • to fix it, use the exact same principle as with the circle above but because it’s a much tighter curve, make smaller increments with the craft knife.
  • move your fingers around a tiny little bit at a time
  • you can also move the glass rather than the blade for these tiny adjustments
  • each time you make a cut, make sure that your finger is resting on the work surface for safety
  • finally, pick that tiny bit of excess away.

[04:15]

Conclusion

This is how to rescue an angular misshapen corner and make it smooth and rounded. Fit to show off your soldering!

You can use the same technique in any situation with stained glass foiling when you when you’re not happy with the line that you have. Remember, the neatness of your foil equates to the neatness of your solder line. It’s best to touch and tidy up any of those annoying little corners or edges that just don’t look quite right.

Don’t be one of those people who looks at your finished piece and feels a bit disappointed. Take that extra minute to trim your foil. You know you’ll regret it if you don’t 🙂


If you’re new to stained glass or coming back to it after a break and can’t quite remember ALL the steps, there are many tips and tricks you can learn to make it easier for yourself.

My online Stained Glass Made Perfect course has helped many beginners and refreshers nail the essential techniques and go on to find success with more ambitious projects. The course is self-paced and online so you can learn these techniques even if you can’t easily get to a class. You can find out more about it here Stained Glass Made Perfect.


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