Category Archives: For Beginners

For Beginners

Bottle Club

FUSING GLASS BOTTLES OR “HIDING THE EVIDENCE”

Don’t you just hate to throw out those wine and liquor bottles?  They are quite nice with the graceful shapes and the beautiful colors.   Make them into fused art!

First (and most important) step is to clean them.  The labels and any glue must be completely removed to be sure that no residue is fused onto the glass.  Use very hot water with ½ cup baking soda and 1 tablespoon of dish soap.  Submerge them in the water and let them soak for 10 minutes then add 2 cups of white wine vinegar.  Roll your bottles around so the vinegar mixes in.  Let them soak until you can get the labels off.

Once the bottles are clean you have some options.  You can just lay it in the kiln and full fuse it.  This one just has a little decorative wiring and some etching.  You could add a decorative knife and have a nice little gift.

Another option is to use a bottle mold.  There are all types available.  See the full collection here.

There are textured molds.  The one above has a lovely Tree of Life motif.

Drop molds, such as the one above, make an interesting shape.

You also can use a textured flat mold, such as the one below, and then slump it into a bottle mold.

You may get devitrification with some bottles.  To prevent it, spay with a divit spray like Spray A.

 

 

No Bad Luck Here!

BROKEN MIRROR!!?

 

 

Don’t think of it as seven years bad luck, think of it as an opportunity to be creative.  If you are worried about the seven years of bad luck you can bury a piece in the garden and that will stop it. (so I have heard). Here are some ideas for broken mirrors, most of which I got from Fusing 101:  Any and Everything You Wanted to know but Were Afraid to Ask.

This from Jane Wimbury.  How sweet is that!

Another idea is to get Styrofoam balls and make garden balls.  Or use an old bowling ball:

Frame the irregular shapes for eclectic mirrors:

Just put it back together roughly for a high interest look.  Many of these ideas from dyi.

I can see this done with wine corks, as well!

Try  your own designs – Good Luck!

Glass Fusing Q&A

 

Q: When I fuse my projects, sometimes I get medium to small bubbles. What causes them and how can I prevent them?

A: Bubbles can be caused by many different things. First, uneven stacking of glass can result in air trapped between layers. To prevent this from occurring, check the placement of all the glass pieces and insure they are sitting properly on the base. Since the edges of the glass fuse before the center of the glass, cut your base glass 1/8” larger than the top layer to allow air to escape. Second, check the glass prior to fusing. Some glass may already have contained bubbles inside the glass, which may or may not affect the outcome.

Q: After I fuse my pendants, I get uneven areas around the edges. What’s happening with the glass?

A: You did not fire it long enough or to a high enough temperature for a full fuse. Try firing for a little longer time.

Q: Sometimes my glass pieces look like a porcupine with spiky edges. What causes the glass to spike?

A: Spiky edges can be caused by over-firing your piece. The spiked edges are caused by the glass grabbing as it is trying to shrink.

Q: What caused my layered glass pieces to flatten?

A: If the glass piece has flattened out too much, you have over fired the piece. To prevent this from happening, reduce your power and shorten your time. After your first firing, open the microwave and using Fireworks Hot Mitts™; carefully lift the lid to inspect the fuse piece. If the desired results have not been achieved, continue firing in 30 seconds intervals.

Q: I tried to make a 1 inch pendant with embellishments, however after I finished fusing, the glass shrunk. How can I prevent this from happening the next time?

A: Glass naturally wants to be ¼ inch thick when heated. Your glass will shrink or expand to obtain this depth. A good tip to remember is that if your piece is less than ¼ inch when you start, it will shrink up to reach this depth. If your piece is larger than ¼ inch when you start, it will want to flatten out to reach this depth.

Q: What causes two pieces of dichroic or iridized glass to blow apart in the kiln?

A: Repelling glass will occur with dichroic and iridized coatings. The coatings can’t be placed together for fusing purposes, because they repel each other. The only way to avoid this is to encase the coated glass with a non-coated glass, such as clear. This will cause the coated glass to be encased and sealed.

Q:  Yuck, this film appeared on my fused glass. What is it and how can I prevent this from happening?

A: This dull white crystalline substance on the surface of your glass is known as devitrification. This is one of the most talked about glass fusing problems around. It can occur when your glass remains in a temperature range 1000ºF-1300ºF too long. You need to minimize the time spent in this temperature range.

Gray or Scummy Edges – Gray or scummy edges can occur on pieces that have been fired once and then cold worked before refiring. Cold working involves using either a grinder or glass saw on a piece of glass. These can be avoided by thoroughly cleaning the glass before refiring the piece. Keep a bowl of clean water near your work area and soak the glass right after doing the cold work procedure. This will keep the edges damp and allow the piece to be cleaned easier. Scrub completely and let dry before proceeding with the refiring process.

Q:  My glass cracked! What happened?

A: Cracking glass either during or after firing can be caused by a several things: thermal shock, heating up the glass too fast and compatibility.

Thermal shock occurs either by taking the piece out of the kiln too soon, or by opening the kiln and exposing the hot glass to cool air.

If the glass cracked in the kiln and it has an “S” shaped crack, the piece has heated too quickly. Slow down!

Finally, if the crack occurs along the line where the two pieces of glass meet, then the two touching pieces are not compatible. Make sure the glass you are using have the same COE (coefficient of expansion).

Q: How can I prevent my glass from shattering?

A: Glass Shattering in pieces over 1” with more than 1 layer may sometimes shatter. To prevent this from occurring, reduce the power. This will allow the glass to heat slower and will be less likely to shatter. Next, make sure your glass is clean and dry before firing.

Q: My fusing instructions say to clean my glass before firing, can I use a glass cleaning spray or detergent?

A: We don’t recommend it. Detergents, dish soaps, multi-purpose cleaners, some window cleaners, ammonia and even denatured alcohol should NOT be used to clean glass. These can actually promote devitrification. We suggest diluted white vinegar or rinsing your glass with distilled water.

Q: Every time I put my fuse glass project together, the pieces roll off before I can get it to the microwave. What can I do to prevent this from happening?

A: To hold your fusing project together, mix one drop of glue.   Apply a very thin amount on the back of the glass using a brush and allow the glue to dry thoroughly before firing.

JUST FOR FUN MEANS “JUST FOR FUN”

A rewrite of the 2017 blog “AM I GOOD ENOUGH”

Right after the holiday season we start encouraging all of you to get your entry ready for the Just For Fun Contest.  We often hear, “I am just not good enough.”  I just want to say, “YES, YOU ARE!”

The variety of work and the different skill levels are what make the contest wonderful.  Each piece draws out comments of appreciation for something.  It might be choice of color, or choice or glass.  Some little quirky things someone might have done.  Some little creative touch.  It might be that someone just likes it.

NEVER, NEVER, have we heard— “that doesn’t belong—it is not good enough.”

 

The name “Just for Fun” may sound trite but we put a lot of thought into it.  We did not want the contest to have rules that we have to monitor, and we do not want to limit it in any way.  (we do limit size because we don’t want the ceiling to fall).  We just want it to be Fun.  You can enter to win or you can enter just for fun.

This contest is in celebration of National Stained-Glass Month.  In addition to seeing just an awesome collection of entries, you will get to come to Invite Night celebration.  You get to vote.  You get to enjoy refreshments.  You get a swag bag.  You get to shop the very best sale we have all year on different items that you see in the store all the time.  Thinks we found on sale, things we find on close outs, things suppliers offer us at special pricing.  We usually throw in some introductory products are introductory prices.  All in all it is just a great time.

Get your contest piece ready and help us celebrate National Stained Glass Month!

How to use the Color of the Year – Ultra Violet

This info is all from the Pantone website

We have created eight different color palettes that feature PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet to help you bring this year’s special shade into your designs. All color bases are covered; brights, deeper hues, pastels, mid-tones, and metallics. With Ultra Violet as a versatile trans-seasonal and gender-neutral anchor in every palette, each of the eight palettes conveys its own distinctive feeling and mood and can easily cross-over fashion and accessories, beauty, home interiors, and graphic design applications.

To further inspire your creative juices, within each of these eight color stories we have also included three suggested color harmonies. The color harmonies provide you with examples of how individual colors in the palette can be mixed together and in what proportion or measure. The uniquely developed color bars which make up the color harmony accompany each highlighted color story.

We also strongly encourage you to explore each of these eight palettes on your own. Create your own combinations. Develop your own individualized color mixes. Imagine and invent. Experiment and express. And most importantly, have fun. There has never been a better time to be original and leave your very own colorful mark on the world.

PURPLE HAZE COLOR HARMONIES

Embodying calmness, a palette of hazy and smoky hues effortlessly commingle to create subtle blends and harmonies that are both timeless and time-honored.

KINDRED SPIRITS COLOR HARMONIES

Sitting side by side on the color wheel, this palette of like-minded hues with their spirited good humor and playful exuberance makes for easy and engaging color mixes.

DRAMA QUEEN COLOR HARMONIES

An unusual combination of show-stopping saturated color with rich and elegant earth tones creates an adventurous mood full of excitement and drama.

INTRIGUE COLOR HARMONIES

Invoking a sense of mystery, a palette of nature’s blues and greens, combined with the unconventional Ultra Violet and a Silver and Pale Gold metallic, exudes a quiet strength.

QUIETUDE COLOR HARMONIES

Soft and warm, a subtle palette of natural and organic shades accented by a Frosted Almond metallic evokes reassurance and conveys a sense of calm and quiet.

ATTITUDE COLOR HARMONIES

Exploding with zest and energy, this palette of pure, unadulterated color which screams “look at me” comes together to create a bold statement with feelings of excitement and high voltage effects.

DESERT SUNSET COLOR HARMONIES

Emulating a desert sunset, this is a dramatic palette of brilliantly heightened warm shades that radiate resplendently across the early evening sky.

FLORAL FANTASIES COLOR HARMONIES

Inspired by the colors we see in our surroundings, a combination of soft and sweet pastels with an enchanting Ultra Violet and a deep, dark navy Astral Aura conjures up a summer garden in full bloom.

Tips from the Glass Academy: Cleaning Tips – Dichro

Cleaning is always major.  This tip is from Profusion Glass one of the manufacturers of Dichroic glass that we stock.

Their tip is to wipe the glass with a 50/50 solution of pure ammonia and distilled water followed by a wipe down with denatured alcohol.

 

There are other products out there also.  Our preference in our studio is The Solution Flux Solution Flux Remover.  It is a concentrate, so it goes a long way.

Probably right up there with a favorite with our customers and staff is Kwik clean.   It does a good job and is very convenient because of the spray bottle.

Tips from the Glass Academy: Trouble with Bubbles

The May/June 2017 Glass Art Magazine has a great article called Ending Bubble Trouble.  It was written by Paul Turlow.

I am going to do just a little summary here, but if you are interested in the complete article, you can go to www.glassartmagazine.com and buy the issue.

Causes of trapped air:

  1. This is a very common one.  Something goes wrong with your shelf.  It might be warped or get a gouge in it.  It is difficult to sand out gouges but maybe.  If warped you might be able to flip it over. A down warp won’t create bubbles.  An up warp will.
  2. Design elements on the bottom that can trap air.
  3. Design elements that create extra weight on the edge. Since glass heats up and sags under it’s own weight this can caused trapped air.
  4. Large Projects. The wider the project the farther the air has to travel to escape.  To prevent you can provide a path for the air to escape.  You can do with fibre paper.  The porous helps.  There is a lot in the article about this.  Also if you are using side heat you can baffle the heat with kiln furniture.  The method we use is the “bubble squeeze firing schedule to allow the air to escape.

Another prevention is not going hotter than you need to.

 

Then there are the time when you just love the trapped air!

Tips from the Glass Academy: WHAT TO DO—WHAT TO DO???? TEMPERATURE CONTROL

 

We often get the question which way to do.  Buy a less expensive soldering iron and put it on a temperature controller or go with a more expensive iron that has the temperature control already there?

One thing to know that the built-in temperature controller is like a thermostat.  There is a probe up near the tip monitoring the temperature and doing its best to keep the tip at the temperature you have it set up.

The separate add on controller are controlling the amount of electricity going to your iron. It is called a rheostat.  It is like a dimmer switch.  It will not give you even heat.  It will stop your iron from spitting flux at you and burning up from overheating all the time.

So here are some things to consider.

How much more are you paying once you add the controller and the iron together compared to the iron with the built-in controller?

How much are you willing to invest at this point in you craft?

You might have been using an iron with a separate controller in a class.  How did that work for you?

As you get better at soldering and go faster your iron will cool down quicker.  An iron with a separate controller might start to annoy you at that point.

Tips from the Glass Academy: DID YOU KNOW

DID YOU KNOW

This about Stained Glass Express

 

If you take a class anywhere, you are eligible for a 10% discount during that class at Stained Glass Express.  We don’t have enough staff to enter these to happen automatically so please remind the cashier that you are taking a class.

If you take a class at Stained Glass Express, you are eligible for a 20% discount at Stained Glass Express.  Please remind the cashier you are in a class.  You also can work in the Glass Academy whenever we are open and there is space.

If you are a veteran, you are eligible for our “Thanks for Serving the USA” discount.

http://www.stainedglassexpress.com/veterans.html

 

If you are eligible for a discount, it is good for almost everything in the store.  If you want to buy a gift your discount applies.  Just remember to tell the cashier.  We have even added some of these gifts to our on-line store and will begin featuring some for the holiday season.  Exceptions are labor, class tuition, things in The Gallery (they don’t belong to SGE) and just a couple of products (that we try to keep marked) because we don’t have a markup on them to discount.

If you are an art teacher in either a private or public setting you are eligible to take beginner classes at The Glass Academy for free!

http://www.stainedglassexpress.com/teach_the_teacher.html

 

 

We are a distributor of Olympic Kilns and Bethlehem Burners.  Big items for a small company like us to sell so competitively.  If you have a class or veteran or wholesale discount, the discount applies.  When buying a kiln you also get a free class to you how to program it and run it.  We stock several different kilns but can special order a different one for you.  You can view the selection at www.greatkilns.com

http://www.stainedglassexpress.com/flameworking_glassblowing/annealers-bench-burners-

accessories

 

 

http://www.stainedglassexpress.com/fusing_supplies/kilns-and-accessories

 

Did you know you can rent time in our Glass Academy to work on project and you can pay for kiln space.   You can rent by the day or the month.

We sponsor two contests per year.  One the Just For Fun contest in April that celebrates National Stained Glass Month.  There is a special sale that goes along with this even.  The second is a themed contest called The Amazing Glass Challenge and it is in October.

 

Stained Glass Express has other events and monthly sales.  Please sign up for our e newsletter to stay in the loop on those.

 

We have different types of class.  Classes where you want to learn the skill so you can do it on your own after in Stained Glass Copper Foil Method, Lead Method, Mosaics, Fusing, Glass Blowing and Bead Making.  We have Friends Night Out where you can just come for an evening and drink wine, eat appetizers and with no experience make something wonderful!  We have an Art & Healing Program where the classes lend themselves to people healing from an experience.  Special classes for special skills, private parties –you just name it!

http://www.stainedglassexpress.com/stained_glass_classes_and_events.html

You Mean I Can Use Them ‘Over n Over’ Again!?

You Mean I Can Use Them ‘Over n Over’ Again!? By Melissa Bardsley

Armour Etch has a new line of etching stencils called ‘Over n Over’ that is quickly growing and we didn’t want you to be left out of the loop.

This new type of stencil is called ‘Over n Over’ which just like the name says can be used over and over again. Anyone who has ever used etching stencils can appreciate the struggle of using that one design you really like and then wanting to use it again but there are no more in the package and are now faced with the tough decision of do you buy another package to just use that one stencil again or suck it up and make do with the ones you have left. This problem has been solved ( Woooo!) these new stencils are more durable and are able to be used multiple times by both those that sandblast and those that use the etching cream. The amounts of times you can reuse them is dependent on how intense you are sandblasting and how well you take care of them but it is safe to say you should be able to get 15-20 uses out of them. This is fantastic news for those that struggle with making decisions and chronically has use regret when etching.

This new line of etching stencils makes it easier and more cost efficient t o do etching at events! One fun activity that you can do at a party is have everyone decorate their own drinking glass using the ‘Over n Over’ stencils and etch cream, your guest now won’t confuse their glass with someone else’s  and they have a unique party favor.

There are tons of stencils available on our website and if you can’t find what you are looking for there is blank stencil material available so that you can create your own unique designs.

 Click here to see our supply of Over ‘n’ Over stencils!

Don’t forget to share pictures of your creations on our Facebook page and social media!