Category Archives: Beadmaking-Lampworking


Tips from the Glass Academy: Reactive Glass

The color in glass comes from the chemicals it is made with.  When some two different pieces of glass are combined, or combined with metals the chemicals may react with one another. When the two elements, or ions, mix with one another, the chemistry changes where they meet.    The effects might be subtle or dramatic.  The actual result is a thin line of another color.  When you understand what will happen, you can use these affects to enhance your design.


For more in depth info and charts that tell you what glass will react, go to the link below for 96 coe colors.


Use the link below for 90 coe


A neutral flame has a perfect balance of fuel gas and oxygen as supplied through the burner.  This is precisely enough, neither oxidation nor reduction occurs.  A flame with a good balance of oxygen is clear blue.

Neutral Flame


An oxidation flame has more oxygen supplied to it than the fuel can consume.  When the amount of oxygen increases, the flame shortens, its darkens, and it hisses and roars.

Oxidation Flame


A reduction flame does not have enough oxygen supplied to it through the burner and must get the balance from the atmosphere.  The chemistry of a reduction flame can have dramatic effects on molten glass.

Reduction Flame



Leftmost:  reducing flame, rightmost: oxidizing flame



Click here to see different supplies we carry for flameworkers and glassblowers!



Tips from the Glass Academy: Is this Food Safe?!

glass spoon

The official answer from the glass manufacturers is, All tested compatible glasses have been tested by the FDA for food bearing surfaces and were determined to be suitable. However, if you add other processes or compounds to the items, for example paint, stains, decals, glazes, etc. it is important to check that these items are also approved for food bearing surfaces.  This info from the book Glass Fusing by Petra Kaiser.

The Bullseye site says if glass contains more than 1% lead of more than .5% cadmium, cap it with Bullseye clear.  Clear capping results in minimal lead and cadmium leaching—well below FDA limits.  Transparent glass leach lead/cadmium at levels below FDA limits, and much less than opalescent lead/cadmium-bearing glass.  So you can use transparent without clear capping.

Bullseye that contains more than 1% lead.


  • Cobalt Blue Opaque Rod 000014
  • Translucent White 000243
  • Pink 000301
  • Dusty Lilac 000303
  • Salmon Pink 000305
  • Dense White 000313
  • Plum 000332
  • Gold Purple 000334


  • Light Coral 001205
  • Light Pink 001215
  • Light Fuchsia 001232
  • Violet 001234
  • Gold Pink 001311
  • Sunset Coral 001305
  • Fuchsia 001332
  • Gold Purple 001334
  • Cranberry Sapphirine 001342
  • Amber Lustre 001701
  • Green Lustre 001707
  • Blue Lustre 001714
  • Copper Green Lustre 001717
  • Burnt Scarlet Tint 001823
  • Ruby Red Tint 001824
  • Ruby Pink Tint 001831


  • White, Pink Opal 002302
  • White, Salmon Pink Opal 002305
  • White, Cranberry Pink 002310
  • Cranberry Pink, White 002311
  • Petrified Wood, 002971
  • Cranberry Pink, Royal Blue, Spring Green, White 003026
  • Azure Blue Opal, Jade Green Opal, Neo-Lavender 003045
  • Cranberry Pink, Royal Blue, Spring Green 003126
  • White, Deep Royal Purple, Cranberry Pink 003328
  • Cranberry Pink, Gold Purple, White 003334
  • Cranberry Pink, Emerald Green, White 003345
  • Cranberry Pink, Azure Blue, White 003346

The following glasses contain more than 0.5% cadmium:


  • Tomato Red 000024
  • Tangerine Orange 000025
  • Canary Yellow 000120
  • Red 000124
  • Orange 000125
  • Spring Green 000126
  • Woodland Brown 000203
  • Sunflower Yellow 000220
  • Deep Red 000224
  • Pimento Red 000225
  • Golden Green 000227
  • Cinnabar 000309
  • Umber 000310
  • Marigold Yellow 000320
  • Pumpkin Orange 000321
  • Burnt Orange 000329
  • Butterscotch 000337


  • Sienna 001119
  • Yellow 001120
  • Red 001122
  • Orange 001125
  • Chartreuse 001126
  • Marigold Yellow 001320
  • Carnelian 001321
  • Garnet Red 001322
  • Red-Orange 001022 (Rod)
  • Light Orange 001025 (Rod)


  • Clear, Sunflower Yellow Opal 002020
  • Yellow, Deep Forest Green 002121
  • Clear, Red Opal 002024
  • Clear, Spring Green Opal 002026
  • White, Orange Opal 002123
  • Red Opal, White 002124
  • Yellow, Red 002125
  • White, Orange Opal, Deep Forest Green 003123
  • Woodland Brown Opal, Ivory, Black 003203

Some Collage sheet glass styles include streamers made with styles in the cadmium lists above

This from Spectrum Glass

“Spectrum products have been tested for chemical leaching as required by the FDA for food bearing surfaces. Allof our products passed and were determined to be suitable. However, when you use Spectrum glass to produce a product of your own (slump it, fuse it, foil it, lead it, etc.), it’s not Spectrum glass anymore. It’s your product now, and as such, must pass all tests before being sold or used as a food bearing surface. It is possible that the processes you use to make your product alter the composition of the raw materials (the glass) in such a way that they may no longer meet the required standards. Either way, the regulations are clear: You must have your own finished products tested and approved. For more information about health and safety issues for food bearing surfaces you should contact The Society of Glass Ceramic Decorators, 888 17th Street NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC (202) 728-4132.” This statement is from Uroboros Glass: “An accredited testing lab performed ‘leachate tests’ which is a widely used standardized test to measure the rate of leaching of metals from glazes and glasses into an acidic solution, on a variety of our colors. All of our colors passed at that time. Despite the above, we recommend against positioning colored glass on any food contact surface. Best practice is to place a clear layer, whether it be sheet or a fused layer of clear frit, on the food contract surface.”

Tips from the Glass Academy: Trautman Glass Rods

Paul Trautman’s Contributions to Modern Boro Color Production

The following information is from

There was a time when American artistic lamp workers only worked with clear borosilicate glass; these were the guys making little glass menagerie animals at the carnival or Disneyland. The Italian soft-glass sculptors had color but the Pyrex glass workers used paint, or, if so inclined, mixed chemicals into some of their clear glass by hand to make a little bit of color for their sculptures. Then came Paul Trautman.

Immersed in both the arts and sciences, Paul worked with neon and played with the artistic side of lampworking, including the art of hand mixing color. At one point in his career, he even made lab equipment, but Paul was thinking big. By the mid-1980’s, Paul Trautman had conceived, designed, and built the world’s first commercial operation to manufacture colored borosilicate rod glass. Northstar Glassworks set the standard for modern boro color production, and now several small companies are using Paul’s techniques to manufacture colored glass. These companies also use recipes pioneered by Paul, which expanded the borosilicate glass palette from a few red and blue transparent colors into bright opaque jewel tones and highly reactive metallic colors that shift their hue depending on the atmosphere of the flame.

Paul sold Northstar in 2002, intending to return to art and his own lab, but the urge to mix color (and requests from his fans) lured Paul back to manufacturing on a smaller scale. After perfecting his recipe for a self-striking ruby red – the hugely popular Red Elvis – Paul started working on both a new palette and on improving some old favorites.

Dark Red Black Elvis


To view our inventory of Trautman Art Glass, click here



Time for Plan B

Who Else Manufactures Glass?

Time for Plan B. The Spectrum plant has now ceased production of glass. They are continuing to sell what is left in the warehouse but we are expecting the warehouse to close by year end. Then it will be just what the distributors have left in their warehouses for us to stock.

This list is US manufacturers only.

Art Glass

  • Armstrong**
  • Kokomo**
  • Uroboros**
  • Van Gogh**
  • Wissmach**
  • Youghiogheny**

Fusible Glass +/-82 COE

  • Youghiogheny

Fusible Glass 90 COE

  • Bullseye Glass Company (Note: Bullseye does not say they are 90. They say they are compatible with themselves.)**
  • Uroboros*
  • Wissmach*

Fusible Glass 96 COE

  • Spectrum (the factory that is closing)**
  • Uroboros**
  • Wissmach***

Rods & Frit for Glassblowing and Flameworking

  • Glass Alchemy**
  • Momka**
  • Northstar**
  • Origin*
  • Trautman*


These companies coat glass. They do not manufacture the glass the coating is on. They will be affected by Spectrum closing.

  • Austin Thin Films**
  • Coatings by Sandberg**
  • Profusion**

Dalle Glass and Rondels


* indicates that Stained Glass Express stocks some

** indicates that Stained Glass Express stocks a lot

*** indicates that Stained Glass Express will be aggressively increasing their stock



Tips from the Glass Academy: Bethlehem Burners

Bethlehem Burners

Stained Glass Express is a distributor for Bethlehem Burners. Why? Because they let us! Many manufacturers are still in the manufacturer to distributor to retailer way of doing business. There certainly is a place for this and I am glad it exists. When I want two of these and one of those, I am very grateful that I have a distributor to go to.

However, with something like a kiln or a burner, that number of mark-ups just makes it too expensive to the end users. Stained Glass Express has worked hard to convince some manufacturers that we are capable of being a distributor. So, Bethlehem took us on and we are thrilled. We ended up with a top of the line torch that everyone who has used it, loves.

If you are used to other names, this is how our burners compare:

We stock two different Bethlehem burners and can get the larger ones. We stock the Alpha and the Bravo. Champion and Grand are also available.


Alpha (click image to view product)

The Alpha compares to:

  • GTT – Lynx
  • Carlisle – Mini CC
  • Nortel – Mega Minor

Bravo (click image to view product)

The Bravo compares to:

  • GTT – Phantom
  • Carlisle – CC, Black Widow
  • Nortel – Red Max

The Champion compares to:

  • GTT – Mirage
  • Carlisle – CC+
  • Nortel – Red Rocket

The Grand compares to:

  • GTT – Kabuki
  • GTT – Delta Mag

According to Bethlehem’s flow tests, Bethlehem burners are capable of flowing more oxygen than any other torch comparable to its size.

Shop all glassblowing & flameworking supplies here

~ Janet




Tips from the Glass Academy: US Glass Manufacturers


Art Glass Manufacturers in the US

Since Spectrum Glass announced it was closing, there has been an increased interest in where glass comes from and what we will be stocking our bins with. So I have been making a list. I am not sure my list is complete and I would be very happy if someone would like to send me more info or correct anything I have done.



  • Now manufactured by Wissmach and Kokomo. Transparent by Wissmach and Opals by Kokomo.


  • This company started in 1893!  It is located in Milton, West Virginia. They make hand-blown glass as well as glassware, art glass, sheet glass, Dalle De Verre slab glass and Rondels.


  • Manufacturers what some call 90 COE. Bullseye says it is compatible with itself. Their main headquarters is in Portland, Oregon but they also have opened locations in Santa Fe, New York, Los Angeles and the Bay Area.


  • Started in 1980 making antique glass in the old-word method of hand-blown sheets. Located in Seattle, Washington.


  • Full name is Kokomo Opalescent Glass. Make art glass and blown glass. America’s oldest glass factory. Located in Kokomo, Indiana.


  • Machine made glass and fusible 96 COE glass. Located in Woodinville, Washington. Will stop manufacturing art glass in July 2016 and stop manufacturing studio nuggets in September 2016.


  • Manufactures over 105 color combinations in many styles and textures. They have two fusible lines, System 96 and FX90. They also have a 104 COE line. They are located in Portland, Oregon.

Van Gogh

  • It is very difficult to find info on this company. However, it seems that they take already manufactured glass and paint and coat it with a backing to get a wonderful unique look that is great for mosaics.


  • Makes hot and cold! Art glass, 96 and 90 COE glass. Also makes a temperable line. They are located in Paden City, West Virginia.

Youghiogheny Opalescent Glass Company

  • Specializes in glass for lamps, panels, windows and other arts and crafts.Their lines include Stipple, Virtuoso, Reproduction, Oceana and Easy Fuse. Located in Connellsville, Pennsylvania.

Glass Rods

Glass Alchemy

  • Started in 2000, manufacturing colored borosilicate. 33 COE. A pioneer in their industry. They are located in Portland, Oregon.

Momka’s Glass

  • Manufacture borosilicate glass. 33 COE. Located In Arlington, Washington. Company was started by a Bulgarian glass chemist, Momka Peeva

Northstar Glassworks

  • Manufacture colored borosilicate. 33 COE. Their brand is called Borocolour. They are also considered a pioneer in this emerging market. Located in Portland, Oregon.

Dichroic Glass

All of these companies take already manufactured glass by Spectrum, Uroboros or Bullseye and use it as a substrate for their dichroic coatings.

Austin Thin Films

  • “DichroMagic”. Founded in 1992 and located in Austin, Texas.

CBS (Coatings by Sandberg)

  • In business just over 10 years and located in Orange, California.

Profusion Studio

  • Located in Glendale, Arizona. Make Dichroic and decals. Specialize in patterns.

~ Janet

Tips from the Glass Academy: Mica Powder


Mica Powder

So guess what Mica powder is made from? I am not sure why this was a surprise to me, but it is made from Mica!


Mica is a sparkly, transparent silicate mineral that is very flaky.  I have seen Mica used in lamps using the Tiffany method of foiling it in. It is usually a beautiful amber color. It has also been used in Jacquard Products homemade cosmetics and in furnace viewing ports. Today, it is used in everything from electronics to eye shadow.

Mica will stick to glass when fired. It will not stick to itself, so don’t overlap unless you are using the Satin Shimmer decals. You cannot even layer it very thick.

These absolutely beautiful feathers where made by Lois Manno. I got this picture from the Bullseye blog. These are done with Mica powder. You can see Lois’ work on her Glass Bird Studios website.

Mica feathers

Mica is compatible with all COEs so is very versatile. You can even roll a bead in it.

Copper Mica Powder


Gold Mica Powder


Russet Mica Powder


Silver Mica Powder


~ Janet


Tips from the Glass Academy: What is Borosilicate Glass?


Borosilicate – What is it?

(thanks to Northstar Glassworks for the info)

We have a relatively new addition to our product line up. It is called Boro! It’s new to us with the addition of larger bench burners in our classroom and with customers asking for it. We now stock clear rods and tubes, lots of colored rods and a few colored tubes.

Starting back in ancient Egyptian times, glass artists worked predominately with soda-lime glass.  Soda-lime, also referred to as “soft glass” is comprised of silica, soda and lime as denoted by its name. These ingredients make an easily malleable glass that has a long work time and a relative low melting point. Because of these properties, the glass became known as soft glass. In the late 19th century, scientists began experimenting with different glass compositions. This yielded borosilicate which is made of silica and boron. It melts at a higher temperature and has a shorter working time. It is extremely versatile and is less dense than soda-lime and because of its molecular structure is also more durable.

Another thing that makes boro different is its thermal expansion. Thermal expansion is a measurement of linear expansion which denotes how much the glass contracts as it is cooled.  Soda-lime glasses are at the highest end of the scale and expand the most as they are heated.  This means that as they cool, they contract or shrink at the greatest rate. To prevent cracking, this rate of cooling must be carefully controlled using an annealing oven. Borosilicate glass, however, is on the lower end of the thermal expansion scale. It expands and contracts at a much lower rate than soda-lime glass and is not as susceptible to cracking problems, even when cooled quickly without kilning. This is why borosilicate is used in the scientific industry as well as for cookware.

What this means to the artist is when placing boro glass in the flame, a rod can be directly inserted into the heat without having to be slowly warmed, as in the case with soda-lime glass. Because of this unique property, borosilicate can be used for large sculptures in which a small section can be worked without the entire piece being hot. It also allows the artist to selectively heat sections of a work or reheat portions without cracking. With soda-lime glass, a large sculptural piece can be very challenging, especially when multiple reheats are required.

~ Janet

To view our extensive inventory of boro glass (33 COE), please click here.

Tips from the Glass Academy: Glow Pigments


Glow Pigment

By CBS & Earth Glow, Inc

Glow pigment is glow-in-the-dark colors of yellow and aqua. They will be a bright, luminescent addition to any art glass.

It will work with any COE and can be used in glassblowing, fusing, casting, flameworking and with borosilicate artwork.

To activate the glow, you just expose the glow pigment to a light source for at least one minute for a short term glow. For an extended glow time, expose the pigment to sunlight.

Just take a plastic spoon and sprinkle it on a piece of glass. For example, take a piece of texture dichroic and the pigment will go into the texture. Then put a clear cap on it. A powder vibe would work great!

You can mix pigment with glass powder. CBS recommends 80% powder and 20% glow. You can put this into a casting mold such as a jewelry mold or the wonderful snowflake mold. Put some powder/pigment in and then put frit on top of that. Add dichroic flakes for a special effect. If you use flakes, put some frit on top of that to keep them in place.

To purchase Glow Pigment, please click here.

~ Janet

CBS Glow Pigment