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Events and contests from Stained Glass Express.

Circles from Squares

Courtesy of Bullseye Glass

These beautiful cabochons were made from square pieces of glass.

You can create nicely rounded cabochons from stacks of 0.75(20 x 20 mm) squares, thanks to heat, gravity, and the 6 Millimeter Rule. But be careful…they’re addictive!

Some Design Layer Possibilities

  • Blue/Vanilla part sheet: Scatter Steel Blue Opalescent coarse frit (000146-0003) onto a base of 3-mm Clear sheet glass, then sift a heavy layer of French Vanilla powder (000137-0008) over the top to cover. Fire to a full fuse. Maximize depth by arranging the Clear side toward the top of the stack.


  • River Rock Reaction (See Quick Tip: River Rock Reaction)


  • Pieces of Citronelle Opalescent (000221-0030) and


  • Turquoise Blue Opalescent (000116-0030).


The Stack

Top (6 mm): A “lensing” layer of Clear. This layer will stretch considerably. 

Middle (3-4 mm): This “design” layer will stretch and be visible through the top layer. Use part sheets or pieces of 3-mm sheet glass.

Bottom (6 mm): Typically not visible from the front. This layer will stretch the least. 


  • 6-mm Tekta Clear is a natural for this project. It’s more efficient, with fewer pieces to cut, clean and assemble!


  • Measure and score a grid of 0.75″ squares, then run them using the Rule of Halves. Two layers of 3 mm will also work.


  • A dab of GlasTac Gel will keep the stack together before firing.


  • The stacks flow out to about 1.25″ (32 mm) in diameter, so give them room.


  • For the cleanest release, we recommend firing on ThinFire.


Cabochon Firing Schedule


Rate Temperature Hold


1 400°F (222°C) 1225°F (662°C) :30

2 600°F (333°C) 1525°F (829°C) :30

3 AFAP 900°F (482°C) 1:00

4 100°F (56°C) 700°F (371°C) :00

5 AFAP 70°F (21°C) :00


Note: This heatwork goes beyond what the glass is tested for. Some styles

may opalize and/or shift in compatibility. Test before making multiples.

Happy Birthday, Marc Chagall!

Marc Chagall, one of the great artists of our time, would have been 132 on July 7 this year. He was born in the Russian Empire and worked with paint and stained glass.

But he was a bit of a late bloomer in the stained glass medium — he did not start working with stained glass until he was in his 70s!

This blue window is in The Collegiate Church of St. Stephan in Mainz, Germany. Chagall completed it just before he died.

The red window shown is in Chichester Cathedral, Chichester, England.

One of Chagall’s most beloved works is America Windows at the Art Institute in Chicago.

America Windows, Art Institute of Chicago

It is believed that Chagall put lots of emotion into his work.

There are many famous Chagall quotes, which I think explain a lot about him:


If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.

Marc Chagall


Art seems to me to be, above all, a state of soul.

Marc Chagall


For me, a stained glass window is a transparent partition between my heart and the heart of the world.

Marc Chagall


Gallery of Excellence 2019

The largest glass and bead expo in America, Glass Craft & Bead Expo, is held every year at the fabulous South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event is not on the strip, but you can take a shuttle to the strip, if you wish. If you just want to focus on the show, you do not have to leave the hotel — the facility has everything there you need.

There are product exhibits, classes, demos — and my favorite —The Gallery of Excellence.

I am showing my favorites below. If you want to see all of the winners for 2019, click here:

Lewis Wilson: Envoyer Les Clowns (Send in the Clowns)

Anna Souder: Curiosity

Christine Curtis Wilson: Plains Zebras

Laura Dawson: Dragonfly Garden

Harish Dewani: Angelina

Stephanie Rose: The Brothers

If you want info on the 2020 Glass Craft & Bead Expo, click here:

Y96 Firing Schedule Guidelines

Please adjust hold times for the size of your project.

Remember, this is only a guide.

 Full Fuse

  • From room temp to 1,000F at 300 degrees per hour, hold 10 minutes
  • From 1,000F to 1,250F at 300 degrees per hour, hold 20 minutes
  • From 1,250F to 1,425F at 300 degrees per hour, hold 15 minutes
  • Crash from 1,425F to 950F, hold 60 minutes
  • From 950F to 800F at 200 degrees per hour, hold 10 minutes
  • From 800F to 150F at 300 degrees per hour
  • Natural cooling to room temperature

Tack Fuse

  • From room temp to 1,000F at 300 degrees per hour, hold 10 minutes
  • From 1,000F to 1,250F at 300 degrees per hour, hold 20 minutes
  • From 1,250F to 1,350F at 300 degrees per hour, hold 10 minutes
  • From 1,350F to 950F AFAP, hold for 60 mins
  • From 950F to 800F at 200 degrees per hour, hold 10 minutes
  • From 800F to 150F at 300 degrees per hour
  • Natural cooling to room temperature

Slump Fuse

  • From room temp to 1,000F at 300 degrees per hour, hold 30 minutes
  • From 1,000F to 1,225F at 200 degrees per hour, hold 10 minutes
  • From 1,225F to 950F fairly quickly, hold for 60 mins
  • From 950F to 800F at 200 degrees per hour, hold 30 minutes
  • From 800F to 150F at 300 degrees per hour
  • Natural cooling to room temperature



Oxygen Concentrators

When we set up our flame room in our new location, we put a lot of thought into how we would get gas and oxygen to the burners. We ended up with piped-in gas and oxygen concentrators and think it is a great system.

We started with hot head torches and MAPP gas.

Hot Head Torch

MAPP Gas Canister Holder and Clamp

This was a great beginner setup and we had a great time with it.

We then took a big step and became Bethlehem dealers! Below are the Alpha and Bravo glassworking torch models.

Bethlehem Burner Alpha Glassworking Torch

Bethlehem Burner Bravo Glassworking Torch

With this system, we used 3-gallon propane tanks and some used medical oxygen generators. An issue we encountered with this system was having to make frequent runs to get more propane — and, of course, the propane would run out at the worst times. Another issue we encountered was that the used medical generators did not last. People tend to give up on these generators when they have a lot of hours on them.

When we moved, we looked at oxygen tanks. That solution sounded like a nightmare to me — the tanks must be allowed to bleed, so you are losing oxygen all the time. It is a time-consuming process to get the tanks refilled, and just having oxygen under pressure seemed to be a scary concept.

We went the concentrator route and have not regretted it. These rebuilt machines are like new and have enough power to run the Bravos — and that is a lot!

We sell oxygen generators but only for store pickup as they are difficult to ship.

A concentrator works by taking air from the room and compresses it. It then delivers air to where you direct it — in our case, to a bench burner. In a five-step process, the concentrator:

  1. takes air from the room
  2. compresses the oxygen
  3. takes out the nitrogen
  4. adjusts the way the air is delivered and
  5. delivers it.

The concentrator takes oxygen out of the room, so you must allow air to get back in by means of some sort of ventilation. We have our vented out through the ceiling and also have a door on each end as well as a vent toward the floor into the next room so there are plenty of ways to get air in.

I posed the question on the Facebook group Lampwork Tips, Techniques, & Questions. One person said the removal of the oxygen from the room is about as problematic as all the people in the room using up oxygen by breathing!



Mind the Gap!

How close should your glass pieces be?

They should be close enough so that you are comfortable with how heavy a solder line you will end up with.

To help prevent uneven spaces, here are some hints:

  • Use push pins or jigs to hold your glass in place while building and checking the fit. That way, you won’t get one piece fitting perfectly as you are pushing another one out.
  • Make sure you have not flipped any glass over. Label your pieces to avoid this.

Before you say “good enough,” think about any holes or uneven spaces you are filling with solder. When your piece is held up to the light, those places will not let light through. They will become part of the design.

Another problem is overheating the glass due to reworking it with a hot soldering iron. You don’t want to crack your glass with thermal shock because you are adding so much solder to fill the gap. Often when you are doing this, one side looks good and then you turn the piece over and there is a gob of solder. So you fuss with that, going back and forth, heating and heating, and then you hear the dreaded tink—the sound of glass cracking and your heart breaking!

The best fix—sorry to say—is to recut.

Be patient with yourself. This is a skill—so practice and don’t give up.

Photo courtesy of Inland.


Tiffany Aventurine – A Celebration!


This vase was made c. 1910.  It is Aventurine Lava Blown Glass by Tiffany Studios.  This is currently on display in the new exhibition at the Morse Museum called “Iridescence—A Celebration”.

This vase was among Tiffany’s treasured A-Coll (Artist Collection) pieces exhibited at Laurelton Hall.  It is a striking vase and was made by draping lava like aventurine glass over iridescent gold glass.  The name aventurine references the quartz-like glass with sparkling particles developed in Murano, Italy around 1910 when this was made.

You can use aventurine glass for your treasures also.  Available from Bullseye and Oceanside in flat glass and frit.   Usually available in black, blue or green.  It has been a little tough to get lately but we have some.  Click here to order.



Always Need More

So, so true! And mostly it is glass.  You just can’t stop.  Sometimes it is for a project, sometimes because it is a basic color that you always use, and sometimes it is just because it is too beautiful or unusual to resist.

Thank you for that. You keep the industry going!

We have a great stock of heads and tails in for our annual Invite Night sale April 6th. They will be available to one and all after the sale.


This was fun!  A customer came in with a stainless bowl that she had slump a thick piece of glass over.  It stuck! She broke the ruined bowl off, but a very thin layer of glass remained on the mold.  That prompted a discussion on how to get the rest of the glass off the mold and why it stuck anyway.

First to get it off.  She was first going to try fusing it off and if that did not work, she was going to sandblast the stainless.  One or the other should work.

Then she said she posted a picture of it on a facebook fusing group and prompted a discussion about prep of the stainless.  Here is the surprise!  Some people do not prep it AT ALL!

I went to Facebooks Fusing 101: Any and Everything you Wanted to Know But Where Afraid to Ask. I said “Recently I heard that some people do not kiln wash stainless molds.  I would be interested to hear what people think of this.”

There were some differences of opinion to be sure..

  • Cover with fiber paper or ZYP
  • Spray with Boron Nitride (ZYP)
  • If you use ZYP you rarely have to do it again
  • I don’t use anything on stainless steel. As long as the glass is NOT an opal glass in contact with stainless steel and it is good quality, it is fine.  You get a real shiny finish on the surface in contact with the stainless steel.
  • It is minimal work to use a barrier. I would rather be sure instead of concerned.

My own fusing teacher was emphatic about using something.  She suggested Slide because it is cheaper than most boron nitride products and it is easier than kiln washing.

More inexpensive, but more labor, is to use kiln wash.  The problem is that it slides off the mold easily.  Here is the trick.  Wash the mold with alcohol and then heat it in your kiln to 1200 degrees F  for about ½ hour.  Cool it.  Then heat again to just under 500 degrees F and brush or spray on the wash in thin even coats.  Allow the coating to dry completely between each application.  Coat it until covered.  After the first time this is done (and it does last a long time) we will just coat it put it on top of a hot kiln.  Seems to work fine.