Monday, 25 February 2013

Hanging Sun Catchers

Unless you are using some manufactured system or a frame, the most frequent way to provide hanging points is to create a loop from copper wire.

Hangers should originate in a solder bead that goes some way into the piece. The loop's tail should lie a significant distance into the solder line to ensure it does not pull the piece apart. If this is to remain invisible, some planning will be required to allow the small extra space between the foiled glass.

The loops for hanging a piece of any size should not be soldered to the perimeter foil without reference to the solder bead lines, as the adhesive and foil are insufficient to hold the weight of the piece without tearing.

Here the hanging loops could have been moved just a little to engage with the solder joints at the left ear and at the tail to make stronger hanging points

Here the hanging points are at the solder joints giving strong hanging points

Reinforcement of free hanging or projecting elements can be done by placing wire around the piece with a significant excess going along the perimeter in both directions. The supporting wire can go into the solder line, if it is a continuation of an edge of the free hanging piece.

In this case a twisted copper wire around the perimeter gives strong hanging points

The strongest method is to wrap the wire around the whole perimeter of the piece. Choose easily bent copper wire. This will be pretty fine, but when soldered, will be strong enough support the whole piece.

The hanger can be made by leaving a loop of wire free. This way you can hang from any convenient place on the perimeter. This loop can be made by a single 180 degree twist in the wire, or by bending a loop into the perimeter wire. In all cases you will need to tin the wire to blend it with the rest of the piece.

This perimeter wire can be simply butted at the start/finish of the wire. It could be overlapped, but this is unnecessary on any piece where this method is adequate for support. The start can be at the top or bottom, although I prefer the top, so the wire is continuous from loop to loop. The reason for continuing beyond the loops is to provide support to all the edges of the sun catcher.

This single point hanger is at the strong point of the piece

The left hanger is strong, but the right is weaker than if it had been attached to the right of the body

This piece needs wire around the piece, especially to stabilise the tail and ears


  1. Stephen: Good info - I may make my students read this one. - Tod

  2. Glad to be of help. If you or your students think of other useful topics, let me know. Stephen

  3. Thanks for the tips its always good that you take the time to hand out some free advice..... Sometimes it helps to finish off copper foil pieces with some lead which can also help to strengthen the overall hanging

  4. Thank you for the compliment.
    I agree that a lead border is often a good way to finish the look of a piece. However, lead on its own is weaker than the solder bead on the perimeter of the piece. It is possible to put a wire inside the lead and use it to anchor the hangings through the lead.