June 13, 2024

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How to Foil Glass Nuggets and Other Embellishments to Add Dimension to Stained Glass Projects

2 min read

Adding dimension to a stained glass project adds interest and depth. To create dimension you can add glass nuggets, jewels, sea shells, recycled glass and other items.

When choosing to add dimensional objects in a project, select or draw a pattern you wish to create. Lay out your pattern starting with the dimensional objects. These objects will need to be foiled and then tack soldered, if used in groupings or combination, then surrounding glass is added.

When choosing foil to wrap dimensional objects, you need to first decide if you will use patina on your finished project. For transparent objects, you will want to choose a copper foil that will blend in with your finished project. If you are going to use black patina on your finished project, use a black backed copper foil. For projects that will remain silver, use a silver backed foil. If a copper patina will be used, then use copper backed foil. For objects that are not transparent, the backing of the copper foil will not be an issue.

The next consideration deals with the width of the copper foil. For very small glass nuggets, jewels or thin recycled glass, use 5/32″. Foil comes in 5/32″ to 1/2″. For most objects, 7/32″ copper foil will work well.

The last factor to consider is the thickness of the copper foil. Copper foil comes in thicknesses of 1.0 mil. to 1.5 mil. When foiling dimensional objects use 1.0 mil. This foil easily bends and conforms to the dimensional object without causing excess bulk due to creasing and bending of foil.

A tip for foiling nuggets and jewels is to wrap the foil around the edge of the nugget or jewel, then press down with your fingers. Rather than trying to burnish, simply place your nuggets and/or jewels in a plastic container and shake. The movement of the nuggets/jewels against each other will do all the burnishing for you.

To foil other dimensional objects, wrap foil along the edge of the object where it will be attached to the stained glass piece. Then using a burnishing tool, press the foil firmly to the object on the top edge and both sides.

Once your object or objects are foiled and burnished, lay them on your pattern. If you are using a group of dimensional objects such as glass nuggets, tack solder them together. Then cut the pattern pieces for the surrounding glass pieces. This will give you a more precise fitting.

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