What is a Suncatcher and How to Hang It

Suncatchers are decorative pieces that hang either from a window via suction cup or from a hook drilled into the top of the frame. They are both decorative and endlessly changing, because the intensity of the color of the glass in a suncatcher is impacted by the angle and intensity of the sunlight.

Single or multiple pieces

The ability to buy single pendants of glass means that you can design an endless variety of suncatcher layouts. Start with a single piece in the center and build around it until your center suncatcher is perfectly framed.

You can work with a variety of colored, painted and prismatic glass. No matter your favorite shade, the changing sunlight will create new colors inside your home for your enjoyment.

Sources of colored glass

The ability to make sheet glass has been around for over 800 years. Colored glass can either be painted or tinted in its liquid form. Glass suncatchers are generally made of stained glass, and are both heavy and fragile.

You can build a beautiful glass suncatcher that will offer endless variety with crystal or glass prism beads. These beads can be strung in a chain or hung as a single pendant. You can also intersperse these with other colored glass beads that will brighten and beautify your home.

Other suncatcher materials

There are many plastic products that work well as suncatchers. These pieces are much lighter and offer the user more flexibility. Some of these products can be designed and made at home, and there are many plastics that can be shaped and baked in your oven.

How to hang a suncatcher

For small window suncatchers that aren’t too heavy, a suction cup mounted hook can work. Make sure you get a larger suction cup than you think you’ll need, because the window will heat up as the sun acts on it. This heat is a side effect of making your suncatcher look beautiful, but it can also cause the hook to release and fall.

To hang a suncatcher with a suction-cup hook on the glass,

  • start with a plastic suncatcher or other lightweight object
  • clean the window
  • get the inside of the suction cup slightly damp
  • press it hard into the glass
  • hang your suncatcher
  • place a towel or cushion under the suncatcher to catch it if the hook fails.

This testing process is critical. If the hook won’t stick to the glass with something lightweight attached to it, you may break your glass suncatcher.

If you’re going to have a stained glass suncatcher in a window, your best bet is screw a hook or other hanging tool into the frame at the top of the window. You can also screw a hook, hidden under curtain hardware or a valance, and loop the suncatcher string over the screw. This will mean the suncatcher is a bit further away from the glass, but it will keep your suncatcher safe.

When you insert your mounting hook, take care to get the screw into the frame, not just the trim board at the top. A short-screwed coffee cup hook will likely not go deep enough. Trim boards are nailed in place with finishing nails, and eventually your hook may cause the board to pull away.

What kind of string should I use?

Depending on the weight of your suncatcher, you can use

  • picture wire
  • a fine chain
  • fishing line

Both wire and chain will be visible, while fishing line is clear. Wire and chain will need to be crimped to the suncatcher. Fishing line can be looped and tied before looping it over the hook.

Suncatchers are a beautiful way to enjoy any view out of your window. You can hang a single prism for endless variety, or a particular piece of stained glass for your enjoyment. If you hang it on a suction-cup hook, monitor the hook as the seasons change. If you know there’s a chance of frost, take the hook down. If you can’t, place something soft under the suncatcher to catch it if the suncatcher falls.

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