Stained Glass Art Tips


Copper Foil


Copper Foiling Stained Glass

Copper foil for stained glass comes in various widths, backing colors and shapes.
Mostly available in 1 ml to 1.5 ml thickness with adhesive backing in 6" rolls.

Copper Foil Sizes (widths)
  • 3/16"- Thinner foil is used for tapered items like bevels, jewels, extra thin glass and sometimes small pieces.


  • 7/32"- The most common used is 7/32" wide allowing a small lip of foil to edge the glass. usually less than 1/16" in most cases but may be less. A heavier lip over the edge creates excessive solder use in the resulting finishing bead.


  • 1/4"- Wider foil is mostly used for heavy textured glass, reinforcement areas, doubling up glass and where a wider solder bead is desired.


  • Full Sheet Foil- Use to cut out and solder for overlay and special accents. Copper foil is also sold on rolls with scalloped edges for a decorative edge.
Copper Foil Colors
  • Bare- Most commonly used for most opaque glass.


  • Silver Back- For use when no patina will be applied to a clear or translucent glass and or mirror project.


  • Black Back- For use where standard black patina is applied on a translucent glass and or mirror project.


Pro Tip: Never use copper foil on steel reinforcement. Electrolysis will deteriorate the copper in short time and cause failure. Always use lead on steel or copper on brass.

Pro Tip: Whatever technique used to apply copper foil, keep foil clean and cover project if to be left out for extended periods of time to limit oxidation of copper. Avoid excessive handling of foil to limit oil from skin deterioration. Standard duct tape applied to finger tips in thin workable strips aid in crimping, minimal deterioration of copper and scarring of finger tips from sharp foil.

Myth: Thinner copper foil is all you need to use and is easier on the finger tips. Fact: The latter half of this statement is true but surely is not a reasonable compromise where a heavier stable foil is needed.

Pro Tip: When choosing the thickness of foil consider the structural needs of the finished project. Considerable weakness is noticed on larger projects and lamps using thinner gauge foil.