Craft a vintage suncatcher. This
translucent window hanging has an Arts & Crafts
copper foil tape and simple
in a window or displayed on a stand, this vintage suncatcher boasts
style. It can be made with plain window glass or Plexiglass.
Printing on vellum
paper is the trick. Frosty and translucent, it makes images glow with
We couldn't settle on one or two images so we gave
you five; the two shown here plus Father Christmas, an
art-nouveau Valentine, and... a bird.
- Vintage image, printed on vellum
paper (Free Adobe PDF download). Print the leaf patterns on white
- Two pieces of window glass or Plexiglass, cut
to 8" X 11". Clean all of the glass and lay it out on paper
towels (see Tips).
- Copper foil tape, 1/2" wide (see Tips).
- Copper foil tape, 5/16" wide.
- Copper wire, 18 gauge, 3 ft. (see Tips).
- Opaque paint pens with a fine point.
We used copper and black.
- Light-stick masking tape.
- Glue stick.
- Household glue suitable for metal, like Duco
- Scissors or craft knife.
- Bone burnisher.
- Needle-nose pliers.
- Wire cutter.
- An 8.5" X 11" piece of white paper
piece of wax paper.
Instructions for Vintage Suncatcher
- Trim the image, leaving a 1/16" border.
- Trim a piece of white paper to 8" X 11". With a
ruler, mark straight lines 1.5" in from all
four edges. This will be your template for positioning the
image and the 5/16" foil tape.
- Lay one piece of glass on the template and
align the corners.
- Put four small smears of glue stick on
the corners of the back of your image, and affix it to the
glass in the center of your template. The glue will keep the image from
- Place the second piece of glass on top. Tape the
glass together (not with the template) on all four sides with small
pieces of masking tape.
- Cut two 17" pieces of the 5/16" wide foil tape.
Remove the paper backing on one piece (see Tips).
Position the center of the tape with the center of the
glass on the top horizontal line on your
template, just covering the edge of the image.
Press it onto the front glass. Turn the glass over
and remove the paper template. Bring one end of the foil tape
in, aligning it carefully over the tape on the other side, and press it
onto the back glass. Repeat with the other end of the tape,
aligning it over the tape on the front and overlapping the
first end. Burnish it to the glass with a bone burnisher. Repeat the
process with the second piece of foil tape,
aligning it with the second horizontal line on your template.
Remove all of the masking tape.
- Cut two 25" pieces of the 5/16" wide foil tape,
and repeat the process on the vertical template lines.
- Cut two 10" pieces of 1/2" foil tape for the
top and bottom edges. Holding the glass
vertically, center the tape over the top and lightly
press it on. Turn the glass over so the taped edge is on the
table top. Use this position to "fine tune" the placement of
the tape; hold one end, gently lift the other end, and reposition it
until it is perfectly centered on the tape. Crimp the tape
carefully onto both sides of the glass. With scissors, miter the tape
at the corners before crimping
down the sides. Burnish the tape to the glass.
Repeat the process on the opposite edge.
- Cut two 10" pieces for the sides, and repeat
the process above.
- Cut two 3" pieces of copper wire. With
needle-nose pliers, curl the two ends into the center.
Leave the curls open, with a 3/8" gap between the
ends. These are your hangers.
- Lay the glass on a flat surface.
Put a piece of wax paper under the top edge. Position your
hangers on the top edge, with
the 3/8" gaps aligned with the vertical foil tape. Glue the
hangers to the top edge with household cement and let dry for an hour.
- Cut four 5" pieces of 5/16" foil tape.
Affix two pieces over each hanger and down the
vertical tape as reinforcement. Burnish it.
- Cut our four leaf patterns in 1" squares.
Tape them, face down, onto the four corners of the front
glass. Turn the glass over. With your paint pen, carefully
paint over the pattern. Let it dry for an hour.
Remove your patterns, and touch up any spots you missed.
- Window glass is heavier than Plexiglass.
We chose Plexiglass. If you use window glass, we
recommend that you make the hanging wire structure stronger.
Cut an 8" piece, and bend two half-loops 2" in from each
end. Glue it to the top edge and let it dry. Cut
four 5" pieces of 5/16" foil tape, and tape over the wire on the two
vertical tape lines. Burnish and add the second piece of tape.
Cut short pieces of the 1/2" tape and cover the glued parts
of the wire across the top edge. The photo below shows how to
shape the wire.
- If you are using Plexiglass, careful with that
bone burnisher. It will scratch the Plexiglass.
- Copper foil tape is available from stained
glass supply stores. Removing the paper backing is tricky, because the
tape curls and sticks to itself - permanently. Remove the
backing as you need to, not all at once.
- 18 gauge copper wire is standard electrical
Remove the insulation with a craft knife. We
specified 3 feet of wire even though the project uses less, because you
may waste some wire getting those hooks bent just right. We
- We gave you a bunch of leaf patterns with the
images, in case you want to paint them along the sides as well.
Of course, you can use other patterns, or you can
use other translucent images in the borders. You might try
some stained glass painting - a project for another day.
- Raw copper cries for blue-green (verdigis)
Yes, you can buy patina solution at a craft store, but, you
know us - half the challenge is making it yourself. We've assembled
instructions for a few homemade concoctions on our craft
recipes page, if you are brave of heart.
If you liked the Vintage Suncatcher...
Suncatcher is one example of a reverse-glass painting technique.
If you want to try your hand at some reverse-glass lettering,
check out Santa's
Cookie Plate or our Pet
Hang on to that extra copper foil tape and use it on another
craft, like our CD
from Vintage Suncatcher
to the Main