Safety and Tips for Using Powder Frit in Your Fused Glass Art
The following information is from Bullseye Glass Co.
Working with fine-grade glass frit achieves a unique hazy effect that melts beautifully on virtually any fused glass project. By painting with glass powder on sheet glass you can achieve a unique, multifaceted shadow or glow, delicate patterns, and fascinating organic etchings on your sheet glass.
Step 1: Taking Proper Safety Measures for Working with Glass Powder
Glass frit can be extremely dangerous and should be used with caution, especially when working in fine grade frit and in large quantities. Dust from glass frit can irritate and damage the lungs, so you should always wear a Niosh approved P100 or N95 respirator.
Step 2: Prepare Your Workspace
Make sure you line your workspace with paper to collect any glass powder overspill. As with any fused glass project, you’ll want to make sure your materials are ready and that you know the appropriate firing temperatures for your fused glass project.
Step 3: Set Your Stencils or Templates
A stencil or template can be purchased or can be hand-made. If you’re making your own template, be sure to use paper board or a heavy paper weight. Keep in mind that glass powder will weigh down the paper and ruin the stencil when you remove it, so you’ll want something that will stay flat when you pick it up.
Step 4: Sift Your Glass and Layer Accordingly
You can use a sifter to create smooth and even glass layers. The higher you hold your sifter, the more evenly the glass frit will fall. When you sift initially, you want to be sure that the powder layer is sufficient for your desired effect. Thicker layers can allow for deeper textures to be etched into the surface of your sheet glass.
Step 5: Sculpt Lines and Shapes into Your Glass
Various tools can be used to help you achieve crisp or rugged lines and textures. Opt for hard, sharp points and edges to create detailed textures with your powder frit, and use paint brushes for soft, blurred, or blunt edges and sides. For perfectly acute edges you can use a razor blade, which scoops the powder into a sharp, crisp line. We recommend experimenting with different brush, blending stumps, and blending tools to see what works best.
Step 6: Sift Again for Shadows
Sifters can be used closer or further from your lines to develop layered, shadow effects on your surface. Coupled with fine and rough edges, you can create a beautiful 3-dimensional work of fused glass art likened to charcoal sketches.