Category Archives: Beadmaking-Lampworking


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.


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!




For a few years now, Stained Glass Express has been offering 33 coe glass.  We are still learning and still adding product.  One of the growing stock is our 33 coe tubes and rods.  We stock Simax tubes and rods made by Schott.  This is a high- quality borosilicate glass.  The main ingredients are silica and boron.  Boro has a high heat resistance and a low thermal expansion.  (thus the low coe number).

Simax works best in high heat and is commonly used in lab equipment, industrial equipment and cookware.  However, in our art world it is a favorite because it creates smoot, transparent and strong beautiful pieces.

For Simax to work at it’s full potential it must be annealed properly.  Annealing is the process of eliminating internal thermal stress.  This stress comes from one area of the glass getting hotter than a neighboring area and will later develop cracks.  Usually it is annealed at 1050 F for about one hour and then cooled slowly.  If you cool too quickly it will crack.  Of course, this can vary depending on the thickness of the glass and other variables.

You can use Simax glass with other 33 coe glass like Glass Alchemy, Golden Gate, imported, Momkas, Northstar, Tautman and others.

We have not put simax on our website but if you talk to us and allow us to cut it to fit a box (or are willing to pay for oversized we will ship it.  Our colored rods are on the site.


In the art world the top item made is tobacco pipes, but also ornaments, pendants and other wonderful works of art!







Sign up for one of our torch room classes and learn this art!




Info from Glass Art Magazine and Wikipedia

Japanese legend is that if you fold 1000 cranes you will be granted a wish by the gods.  The crane is a symbol of happiness and eternal youth so some believe that the 1000 origami paper cranes will bring you long life or recovery from illness or injury.  In Japan the cranes which are strung together are very popular as wedding themes.


Jeremy Grant-Levine (aka Germ) in  2018 is glass blowing 1000 cranes.  Jeremy is being back by $92,000 Kickstarter campaign.  This project will take 250 pounds of glass and approximately two miles of wire, totaling $20,000 in materials.  When complete the work will on display at the Arch Enemy Arts gallery in Philadelphia.

Jeremy is based in Philadelphia and has been flameworking glass pipes for over 13 years.  He has exhibited at galleries in Philadelphia, Seattle, New York, Miami and Tel Aviv.




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.


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


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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


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: 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.


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!



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



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!

Tips from the Glass Academy: How To Cut Murrini Without Having Flying Glass

How To Cut Murrini Without Having Flying Glass

This great idea comes from Glacial Art Glass


How do you cut murrini without hearing these sounds? The very simple method you are about to learn will show you how to:

  • Cut murrini without chasing your glass slices across the room.
  • Avoid breathing the dust created when cutting.
  • Keep all those tiny shards and chips of glass from getting everywhere.
  • Have your cane and cutting tool clearly visible and freely mobile so that you can get consistently good quality murrini slices.

Note that this method is very cheap, easy to set up, and can be used to cut other small pieces of glass with a pair of mosaic cutters or ceramic tile nippers.

Here we go:
You’ll need a few things besides your murrine cane and cutters.

– A cheap snap and seal plastic baggie.
– 4 Safety pins or Binder clips.
– Scissors


When it comes to plastic bags, go for the cheapest, thinnest sandwich bags, at about 6 ½ inches by 5 7/8 inches. Of course, whatever you have on hand will probably work, but the cheap sandwich bags are the right size, and thinner plastic (think generic store-brand vs. the sturdier ziplock brand) seems to stay clear longer. Over time any bag will lose clarity due to dust, abrasions, and wrinkles, so that you will unfortunately have to throw them away and start with a new one occasionally. But you can cut a lot of murrini with just one bag.

Step one: Put the cutting end of your tool into the bag, with the handles sticking out, and seal the bag around the handles. It’s not necessary to get a complete seal, just try to keep the two sides of the bag lined up to reduce gaps. You don’t need a lot of the tool in the bag, it’s more important to keep as much of the handles sticking out as possible.

Step two: Secure the seal, including between the handles, with safety pins or binder clips. If you are using safety pins, run each pin along the edge of the bag, not perpendicular to it. Binder clips need to be sufficiently small that they don’t impede the cutting motion. The one securing the section between handles is most likely to get in the way, so opt for the smallest one you can get here. While cutting you’ll notice that there is still a slight gap around each handle. This is fine as long as murrine slices wont readily work out of the bag.

Step three: Cut a slit in the bag where you will need to insert the murrine cane. Cut a corner off the bag from where you will be able to pour your slices out. You will have more control over short pieces of murrine cane or other small pieces of glass if you can hold them with your fingers directly, even though they might not be protruding from the bag. The most effective way to enable this is to make the holes big enough to fit a forefinger and thumb through with the glass.

A few final tips:
While cutting, keep the corner hole clipped or pinned shut. If murrini slices begin to get in the way of the cutting tool movement, shake them into the corner, away from the tool.  When you get ready to pour the murrine out of the bag, dust, though you may not see it, will be coming out too. Take care not to breath this in.

This great idea comes from Glacial Art Glass


We hear this a lot around March and April when we chat with folks about them entering the “Just for Fun Contest” that is due in March and is on display in April.

We do have some very skilled, extremely talented people enter this contest.  We have artists who have professional studios set up and sell their work.   We also have some total beginners and for past few years we have had a least one entry by a child.  We have different styles of work, some original/some from a pattern.  We get flat, 3-d, pictorial and abstract.


All the entries have two things in common.  First, they are all made of glass.  Second, they are all worthy entries.

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 of glass.  Some little quirky thing someone might have done.  The high skill, the original design, a favorite pattern or topic.  NEVER, NEVER have we heard— “that doesn’t belong”.

Remember the name is “Just for Fun”.  That may sound trite but we put a lot of thought into it.  We did not want the contest to have rules we had to monitor and we did not want to limit it in any way.

So–YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH.   I will say I do have a lot of admiration for people willing to put their work on display.  There is a bit of bravery involved.  So be brave.  Start working on next year’s piece.


Color of the Year 2017 – Greenery!

I am always very excited to see what Pantone comes with for color of the year.  It is always so fun.

If you are not familiar with the Pantone colors, here is a bit of an explanation.  First of all, when you see color charts at the paint store, the numbers are pantone colors.  They select a color of the year as a symbolic color selection.  It represents what they see taking place in our global culture and serves as an expression of a mood and attitude.

This is what Leatrrce Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute says out this year’s selection.  “Greenery bursts forth in 2017 to provide us with the reassurance we yearn for amid a tumultuous social and political environment.  Satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate and revitalize, Greenery symbolizes the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose.”



The institute writes this:  “A refreshing and revitalizing shade, Greenery is symbolic of new beginnings.

Greenery is a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when natures’s greens revive, restore and renew.  Illustrative of flourishing foliage and the lushness of the great outdoors, the fortifying attributes of Greenery signals consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate.

Greenery is nature’s neutral.  The more submerged people are in modern life, the greater their innate craving to immerse themselves in the physical beauty and inherent unity of the natural world.  This shift is reflected by the proliferation of all things expressive of Greenery in daily lives through urban planning, architecture, lifestyle and design choices globally.  A constant on the periphery, Greenery is now being pulled to the forefront—it is an omnipresent hue around the world.

Alife-affirming shade, Greenery is also emblematic of the pursuit of personal passions and vitality.



Stay tuned for our stained glass picks in February!