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There are three choices in foil backing, the original backing color of foil is copper. But there’s also black back and silver back foil. How do you know when to use which one?

When planning your project you choose your stained glass, do you also choose your patina color? Try to think of your finished product. Do you want your finished piece to have the lines disappear (black patina) or stand out (silver or copper)? If you know in advance what patina you will be using choose the same color foil backing.

Opaque glass won’t show the color of the backing so your choice won’t matter. Cathedral glass reflects the color on its edges. So if you want to see the reflections in cathedral then use copper or silver backing. If you want a shadow or no reflection then use the black backing. The silver back foil can be used with mirror to help with the reflection. If you use black back with mirror you will see an extra wide line as the black reflects in the mirror.

When I make a panel I tend to use a combination of cathedral and opaque glass. I also like the glass to stand out not my lines (not to mention I don’t want my messy line widths to show). I tend to use black back foil most of the time on standard panels so I don’t have to worry about reflections in the cathedral glass.

Now that you’ve chosen your foil backing what brand of foil do you choose?

I use Edco foil exclusively. Why? Many reasons. (I’m not getting paid to say this :))

  1. It’s very sticky. They are the best at making a secure bond to the glass. If you are having trouble with you foil not sticking very well to the glass your foil brand is likely to be the problem.
  2. The copper part of the foil is strong but not stiff so it’s able to be burnished tightly to the glass. This is particularly great for doing inside curves.
  3. Their packaging is great for buying in bulk. Have you ever bought foil and it went bad (corroded, not sticky, etc.) before you had a chance to use it. They have a great sealed package and I have personally used unopened foil that’s over 10 years old. And when opened, it works as good as the first day I bought it.
  4. Edco will put your store name on the packaging (when you purchase 144 or more) so that when you sell it your customers they will know where it came from. This also makes it a little harder to find the Edco brand sometimes since they don’t always sell under their name. Just look for the gold circle with blue lettering. Ask your local stained glass store if they carry it or if they can, you won’t be sorry.

Making stained glass windows is hard work and can sometimes can be very frustrating, every time you find something that works to make your life easier, use it. Feel free to share any tips you have on copper foil.