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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Which foil to use on your next project

So have you ever gone to your local stained glass store or shopped online for foil and discovered that there are a lot of different types of foil to choose from.  We get asked this question quite often in our studio, what kind of foil should I buy for this window?

Foil color choices:

  • black backed 
  • silver backed
  • copper 
The interior color of your foil depends upon the final color of your solder lines.  If you plan to use black patina on your piece, use black backed foil.  So silver backed foil would be used on a piece that would be left without patina and copper backed foil would be used on a piece with copper or perhaps a brass colored patina.  A rule of thumb for deciding which color foil to use is actually quite simple, match the patina color to the interior foil color.  The look you want in the final piece is a seamless look.  When you look through clear or transparent pieces of glass in your window, you should be able to see the same color on the inside of the foil as the color patina used on the soldered outside lines.  If done incorrectly, the window will have a sloppy, or novice appearance.  

New wave foil is a type of foil with a scalloped edge.  It also comes in different backing colors.  This type of foil looks wonderful on certain items such as vases, boxes and other items that seem to need a little punch of  "excitement"!   If used carefully and perhaps sparingly, it could be used on a modern style stained glass window.

Foil thickness
1.5 mil foil, is a very popular, general purpose foil
1.25 mil, is a little thinner than the 1.5 mil foil and is easier to wrap around edges
1 mil thick foil is thin foil that is mostly used on small or odd shaped pieces where an easy to fold over foil is required.  It is not recommended for larger pieces.

Foil Width's  
7/32 in
3/16 in
1/4 in
3/8 in
1/2 in
5/16 in
2 in
5/32 in
1/8 in

Foil comes in a large variety of widths!  The thicker widths work well on thick glass, such as glass with a deep texture.  We usually use 3/16 inch foil in our stained glass studio and occasionally 7/32 inch foil.  If wider foil isn't available and you have a thick piece of glass that needs foiling, it is possible to use two strips of foil on a piece, overlapping in the center.  Foil the thick piece of glass one side at a time, with the second side overlapping the first.




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