This stained glass tutorial shows you how to make recycled hooks and add them to your suncatcher. Making sure these final touches are done neatly will make your work stand out from the crowd.
Now you've created a lovely beaded solder around the edge of your piece, you're ready to add the hooks. Ideally, these become part of your suncatcher, rather than just a means of hanging. Make them part of your design if you can.
Tools needed for adding hooks to stained glass
60/40 solder, flux, soldering iron and stand, wet sponge for cleaning tip, Q-tips or cheap brush to apply the flux, copper wire (either bought or recycled), needle nose pliers, wire cutters and bamboo brushes or similar for making hooks.
1. Making hooks
You can make hooks yourself cheaply and easily. Either buy copper or tinned wire on a spool, or recycle electrical wire by stripping the plastic coating off with a craft knife. Be careful if you do this. Always direct the blade away from your body.
Making stained glass hooks for hanging
- Simply wrap the wire around your cylindrical stick (I use a Japanese brush handle) about 15 times. You might as well make a few hooks and keep them for future stained glass projects
Cut the 'spring' to create hanging hooks
- Cut the wire and slide off the stick. You have created a spring of copper wire
- Using the wire cutters, cut along the top in a straight line
- Magic! Lots of hooks ready for tinning
2. Soldering the hooks on
Hooks should always be soldered at a join for strength. Never attach one on a beaded edge, as the weight of the glass will pull the foil off in time. Make sure you solder on a heat resistant surface.
You need to tin the hooks first to strengthen them and to stop corrosion.
Cheap, recycled hooks for hanging stained glass
- Flux the hook
- Hold the hook with the pliers, and smear solder on the front and back to cover all the copper
- Now hang your suncatcher over the edge of your work bench
- Flux the tinned hook and hold it where you want it attached. Make sure the open end of the hook is at the join (see photo below). The solder will close the ring and make it secure
Attaching open end of hook to suncatcher
- Carefully melt a blob of stained glass solder where the ring meets the suncatcher
- Hold the soldering iron over the solder to neaten it up
- Turn the piece over and, if needed, use the iron to melt any solder that may have dripped to the other side
Hook soldered to stained glass
Everything looks a bit messy at the moment, but that will soon change because now you're ready for the final stage, Patina and Polish.
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