How NOT to hang your glass & holes vs wire

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I was recently asked what I’d recommend to hang glass on a window and I realised I’ve never talked about this before so thought I’d write a blog post.

In the past I’ve had a customer contact me to order a replacement suncatcher because theirs broke. I enquired what happened and they were honest and said they’d used window suction hooks/cups to hang the suncatcher from the window. I know many, many people do this, and I can’t stress enough – they will fail at some point! Your beautiful suncatcher will come crashing down and probably split into lots of little pieces….which is a sad sight no one wants to see!

My face when people use suction hooks.

A broken suncatcher as a result of a suction hook failing.

Why shouldn’t I use suction cups?

Firstly, unless they’re super heavy-duty clamp-based ones, they will likely fail at some point. I’ve had people say they’ve hung a suncatcher for years with no problems…. that might be the case with a plastic suncatcher, but glass is heavier than plastic. Even if some have stood the test of time, I cannot recommend using them.

Temperature changes, moisture, a bump on the window, a breeze – these can all cause the suction hook method to fail.

I’ve had some less than honest people in the past try to claim their suncatcher arrived damaged – on closer inspection, I can see it has been hung and fallen off. The break or the way the glass splits/cracks is completely different, depending on how it is broken. I’ve broken enough of my own glass in the past to tell the difference! Because I like to give good customer service, I replaced them but it is costly for me to do this, so please don’t try this trick! 😉

How should I hang it then?

I recommend hanging your glass suncatcher from a wall with a drilled screw or hook. If you want it in front of a window, use some sturdy wire, wrap it around a curtain pole/track and secure with a double knot, with the other end of the wire securely attached to the suncatcher. Alternatively you can drill a screw or hook into the ceiling or the wall above the window and hang from there.

Remember also that when windows are open, your glass will move around in the breeze and may bash against the window. Using the alternative methods above will ensure a safe distance away from the window where it won’t bash the window glass.

So, in summary, please don’t use window suction hooks for glass suncatchers! 

Suncatcher hanging from a curtain pole – I used black tiger tail wire which is very thin but strong. I wrapped the wire around the pole and the ribbon on the suncatcher and knotted it 3 times.

Suncatcher hanging from a screw drilled into the wall above the window – Again, I used black tiger tail wire which is very thin but strong.

You can barely see the wire – I attached the wire to the metal loops on the suncatcher, rather than the ribbon.

Drilling Holes in Glass vs Embedding Wire

I always drill holes in my glass. I learned very early on that fusing metal within glass comes with downsides. For one, it generally looks ugly. Secondly inserting the metal straight down into the glass is an almost guarantee of failure over time. A piece of fusible metal (usually nichrome or copper wire) is placed between two pieces of glass, basically trapping the wire within the glass when heated to high temperatures. If the wire is straight, it is likely to fall out as the glass doesn’t fuse to the metal, the layers of glass just hold it in place. There is a little more success when the wire is curled or bent, but again, there is a chance of the wire slipping out. It doesn’t always happen though!

Also, any movement in the glass can cause the wire to grind away the glass, making it weak in places and liable to break. Who wants to take the chance though?

Drilling holes is time consuming, sometimes it’s a complete failure so you must start again from scratch (ugh). It’s more expensive as you need to use diamond coated drill bits which add up in cost over time. It’s a learning curve too. I struggled with a handheld dremel for years but then I bought the drill press attachment stand and drilling holes is now so much easier! There’s also a safety consideration – you need to drill the glass under water and as we should all know, electricity and water should not mix! I use a shallow water bath and ensure the water doesn’t ever reach further than 8mm on the drill bit.

It is a much better method to ensure glass can be hung safely, and it looks much nicer!

I much prefer the look of glass pieces with holes drilled. It does come with its disadvantages as explained above but none of those are a huge hurdle to overcome to make the glass look the best it can be and ensure a long life.

I hope you’ve found this helpful!

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