Category Archives: Tips

Glass art tips from Stained Glass Express

That’s Pretty Shifty!

Shifty and CFL are two terms to describe the same thing — a pallet of glass that changes color based on the light that it is under. CFL stands for “compact fluorescent light.” The glass changes its apparent color in fluorescent lighting.

The first CFL/shifty glass was done by Glass Alchemy in 2014, with the color Serum. Next, came Terps.

Serum by Glass Alchemy

Terps by Glass Alchemy

 

These are a bit tough to get, but other CFLs are available:

Potion by Glass Alchemy

 

Gemini by Northstar

 

Hydra by Northstar

 

Siriusly by Northstar

Check our hot glass section for availability.

 

Wissmach Luminescent Glass

Luminescent glass is different than iridescent glass. It is low-fire—not high-fire like iridescent—and is intended for reverse fusing.

What is reverse fusing?

Reverse fusing means placing your piece facedown on the kiln shelf and building backwards, fire-coated side down.

If you are firing on a textured mold, place a piece of ThinFire between your boron-treated mold and the glass. If you fire your piece with the coated side up or cover it with another piece of glass, you will lose the coating.

If you are slumping and do not go over 1,200 degrees, you can place the luminescent side up and not lose the coating.

Luminescent glass is food-safe and has been tested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. However, please note that once the piece has been fired in your kiln, it is no longer a Wissmach product; it is your product. If you have been firing glass that could leave lead or cadmium traces in your kiln, that could get on the product, which would render it unsafe for serving food or beverages.

 

 

 

 

LEFT: Luminescent glass fired with ThinFire in between, with the coating facedown.

RIGHT:  Luminescent glass fired facedown, directly on the mold.

 

Firing Schedules: Courtesy of Petra Kaiser and Wissmach Glass

Standard Fusing Schedule – 2 Layers Thick

Segment 1: 600°F/hr up to 1,000°F, hold for 10 minutes

Segment 2: Full/9,999 up to 1,410°F, hold for 10 minutes

Segment 3: Full/9,999 down to 950°F, hold for 60 minutes

Segment 4: 100°F down to 700°F, hold for 1 minute

Tack Fuse, Polishing and/or Slumping into a Mold

Segment 1: 300°F/hr up to 1,000°F, hold for 10 minutes

Segment 2: Full/9,999 up to 1,300°F or 1,350°F
(depending on your desired results), hold for 10 minutes

Segment 3: Full/9,999 down to 950°F, hold for 60 minutes

Segment 4: 100°F down to 700°F, hold for 1 minute

Draping over a Mold and/or Polishing

Segment 1: 300°F/hr up to 1,000°F, hold for 10 minutes

Segment 2: Full/9,999 up to 1,200°F or 1,220°F (depending on your desired results),
hold for 10 minutes

Segment 3: Full/9,999 down to 950°F, hold for 60 minutes

Segment 4: 100°F down to 700°F, hold for 1 minute

NOTE: Not all kilns are alike. Your kiln size, controller type and individual project may require some alteration to the schedule for best results.

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.

WHICH SIDE IS THE COATED SIDE OF DICHROIC

Some Info from The Frog Blog

Dichroic glass is so beautiful and there are so many uses, it is just delightful.  However, there are a few problems that knowledge can help deal with.

One is that it is impossible to tell 96 from 90 COE if you get them mixed up.  The answer to this one is—DON’T mix them up.  Keep them labeled.  If you keep scrap, keep it in a well-marked box.

It is often important to know which side the dichroic coated side is to get the look you are going for.  If it has a dark base, no problem—you can see it.  However, on a transparent base, it can look the same on both sides!  Reasons you may want to know this?

Cutting.  Always cut on the non-coated side of the glass.  It will help prevent chipping, especially on textured glass.  It also saves your cutter.

Coated Side Down.  When using the coated side down or capped with clear glass, the dichroic glass will have a smooth glossy surface and sparkle like glitter.  It will also change colors between the transmitted color and a completely different reflective color, depending of the angle of view.

Coated Side Up.   If you use the dichroic glass with the coated side up or uncapped, the dichroic surface will have a highly metallic sheen.  The piece may additional be rough and textured depending on the type of dichroic glass you are using.

This is what to do.  Place the glass over a dark background.  Look at the glass at an angle so that you are seeing the reflection of the dichroic.  Touch the surface with a paperclip (don’t scratch it).  The paperclip will reflect.

To know your answer.  Does the reflection meet the paper clip, or there a gap between the clip and its reflection?

Tips from the Glass Academy: Art Rules!

I stumbled upon a website that listed some art rules.  They really were for painting, but they sure could be adapted to any area of art including glass art.  The name of the site is www.thoughtco.com.

  1. RULE OF THIRDS

Divide your surface into thirds and place your focus either one-third across or one-third up or down.  Where the lines intersect.

To see the difference, look at the lions.  The one on the left your eye is drawn into the center and you tend to ignore the rest.  On the right example, where the lion’s face is using the rules of thirds your eye is drawn to the lion face and around the painting following the curve of the body.

 

2. RULE OF ODDS

When designing you should first decide how many elements will be in the piece.  One way to make the piece more dynamic is have odd numbers.  Having an odd number does not allow your brain to pair and group which keeps your eyes moving.  In the top picture below your eye/brain pairs up the tress but in the lower examples it shows a more dynamic picture.

Tips from the Glass Academy: Double Helix – Reduction Guide

Info from Double Helix

The Reducing Sequence:

Work in a neutral flame

Cool until the glow is gone

Create a reduction flame by reducing the oxygen, increasing the propane, or both

Gently reheat in the reduction flame

Experiment with the length of the reduction time and/or repeating the sequence to create different effects.

An oxidizing flame can be used to “erase” some of the reduction effects.

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.