• Art Glass Resources, and some business information
  • Helpful hints and tips that we find online, in books and from our own personal experiences
  • Lots of great information for Stained Glass (Tiffany and Leaded), Lampworking, Fusing, Slumping, Glass Painting, Sandcarving, Mosaics and more
  • Lastly, HARRACH is pronounced, Hair - wreck

Monday, December 3, 2012

Patty Gray dam mold set-up information

We were excited to open our newly shipped order from our wholesaler D & L Art Glass Supply the other day because among other things,  we also bought two Patty Gray 8" x 10" x 1/2" fusing dams!  We've been interested in Patty Gray's fused glass techniques and work for some time now especially after viewing pictures from some of her classes!  Maybe someday we will be lucky enough to attend one of her fusing classes!  Until that time, we will be on our own.

To use as our own studio's future reference and for anyone else who reads our blog and is also unsure how to set up their mold, we thought it would be helpful to share this mold's set-up information especially since it has specific sizes and layout that should be followed!

This mold is designed to produce a glass slab 8" x 10" and up to 1/2" thick with rounded edges and will require no coldworking.  The glass can be used as a finished piece or slumped to shape or even be sliced into design elements for later work.  Use cut sheets, strips, scrap, frit, rods or any form of glass that inspires you.

New mold preparation:
Use MR-97 (Boron Nitride Mold Release for Glass Casting and Slumping)
Spray mold holding can and mold upright; only spray for 3 seconds.  Wait 5 minutes and spray again for 3 seconds.  Cut ThinFire, Papyros, or comparable kiln shelf paper to 7-7/8" x 9-7/8" and put on the bottom of mold before fusing.

Filling the mold:
Cut base glass to 8" x 10" and notch the corner (about 1/8") so the glass will fit into the tray.  Design your piece to have at least two layers of glass- up to 4 layers or 1/2" thick.

Placement in kiln:
For best results, elevate your mold from the kiln floor with kiln posts, placing the posts under only the edges of the mold.

8" x 10" Patty Gray Mold Firing Schedule

Degrees                Target                  Hold time
per hour                Temperature    

150°                      1000°                  15 minutes

300°                      1225°                  15 minutes

AFAP                   1470°                  30 minutes
As fast as possible                          

AFAP                    950°                    1 1/2 hours

100°                      700°                     10 minutes


Open when room temperature

After the mold has been used:
Spray mold with MR-97 only lightly (about 2 seconds and only around the inside of mold edge).  Cut shelf paper to 7-7/8" x  9-7/8" and put on the bottom of the mold before fusing.  Cut base glass to 8" x 10" and notch the corner (like stated above) so that the glass will fit into the tray.  The design the piece as usual!

Update:  12/13/12

We think that it would be best to slow down the final ramp up temperature on thicker pieces.  We noticed that on one of our thicker finished plates that the center had indented and thinned out, it was possibly going to form a bubble in that area.

Perhaps it would help to ramp up 200°  per hour, to get to 1225°  .   Then instead of ramping up AFAP, (as fast as possible), to 1470°  we suggest the kiln be ramped up at approximately 400°  per hour instead.  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Dragon scale lampwork beads tutorial

I ran across this tutorial, made by Naos and posted on Lampworketc.com and thought fellow lampworkers would really appreciate this information!

I'm often asked for a tutorial for this style and I've posted it a few times, but it gets lost in the threads so I thought I'd post it here...

Examples of scale beads - Olive, then EDP scales and lastly, on Ivory and Copper Green as a base:

What you need:

Vetrofond Dark Ivory, Vetrofond Ochre Green or Moretti Copper Green rods

Silver Leaf

Moretti Ivory stringer

Stringer in your choice of colors: Lauscha Olive (best), Lauscha Steel Blue (little harder to work with) or EDP (purple 254 - and just as hard to keep from devitting)

Tutorial (sorry, no pics):

PREP - make the Silvered Ivory stringer before you begin - The best way to make SIS for these beads is take a full-size, pre-manufactured Ivory stringer and wrap it in silver leaf then burnish it against the stringer to adhese. Make four or five of these as you will go through them quickly. Do not pull a stringer from a rod wrapped in silver leaf - it doesn't work. 

1) Make a spacer (with your preferred base color - Vetrofond Dark Ivory, Vetrofond Ochre Green or Moretti Copper Green) with a raised ridge or line down the middle but do not round it out. The surface must be a little rough in shape before the next step.

2) Apply silvered Ivory dots. A row of 5 or 6 down the middle (yes on top of the middle ridge you created) then staggered on the sides. 

3) On top of the SIS dots, place dots of colors you know spread or bleed: Lauscha Olive, Lauscha Steel Blue, EDP (Purple 254)...there are others as well...

4) Now melt in and let the glass droop a bit as you rotate. This is very important. The scales form by the glass moving around, getting really hot, and then the applied dots spreading into position. Be patient - the process can take some time...

5) When you see nicely formed scales (tight lines between dots - see pictures), you're done. Just round out the bead and anneal!

6) They look best etched!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Lampwork, off mandrel leaves tutorial

We found this free tutorial on Lampworketc. written and posted in the forum's tutorial section by Kalera Stratton; you should check out her website, and her Etsy shop.  The pictures in this tutorial really come in useful when trying to create these off-mandrel leaves!  Meaning, making lampwork leaves without using a mandrel. 

I posted this on a now-defunct forum several years ago, and thought it was lost until today... I found a copy of it on my hard drive! So, even though many tutorials on making leaves have been posted, I thought I'd throw mine out there too just in case it's useful for someone.

Step 1: Heat about a 10mm gather
Step 2: Roll the gather in reduction frit
Step 3: Melt the frit into the gather

Step 4: Hold the leaf mashers so the mashing face is vertical, and "droop" the gather into the masher
Step 5: Mash
Step 6: this is what the mashed leaf should look like

Step 7: Gently re-heat the leaf in the outer reaches of the flame
Step 8: Attach a clear stringer to the end and pull it out to a pointier leaf shape (if desired)
Step 9: Gently reheat and mash again, to reshape (if desired)

Step 10: If you used reduction frit, flash leaf through reducing flame to bring out metallic finish
Step 11: Heat rod where it attaches to leaf
Step 12: Pull & bend into loop

Step 11: Heat bottom of loop and pull rod free
Step 12: Marver bottom end of loop to flatten

Some finished leaves:

Friday, November 16, 2012

Striped disk lampwork bead tutorial

Today I found a great Pinterest board that has some lampwork tutorials, gotta love Pinterest!  Click here to see that Pinterest. 

So we decided to share a link today, from that Pinterest board, to the Chesnut Ridge Designs blog where they have an excellent striped bead tutorial.  Click here to view it!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

How to clean the mandrel hole in your lampwork beads

When our studio first started making lampwork beads we broke a lot when we were cleaning them!  We bought little brushes from our wholesaler out of desperation, but they didn't work well.  Most information that we read kept saying to use a Dremel but when we tried our electric Dremel we ended up breaking our beads too.  Finally we found out that a Dremel is the correct tool for the job!  So what were we doing wrong to break so many beads with our's?  We were using our Dremel on a high speed and that seemed to break the beads.  We ended up buying a battery powered Dremel and that is what we've used ever since with rarely any beads breaking.  The battery powered Dremel is also much safer to use around water since the bead should be cleaned in water to keep the Dremel's diamond tip in good condition.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pressing Lampwork Beads, tutorial

Below is an excellent tutorial that I found on Corina Tettinger's lampwork webpage.  Click here to view this MUST see webpage, Corinabeads.  Corina has amazing products for sale on her site, plus she really knows what she's doing, so I recommend all lampworkers bookmark her site!  

The Ten Commandments of Pressing Beads

1. Glass does NOT press sideways, only up and down (as seen from above the mold)

2. The width of the initial layer influences the shape of the bead holes. 

3. the "blob" of glass that is going to be pressed has to be balanced on the mandrel - a lopsided blob will not press into a symmetrical bead

4. Nobody has to tell you how much glass you need to fill the mold. One or two bad presses will be enough for you to know how much glass is the right amount

5. Not all glass presses the same way, even if you have the right amount. You will need more of a STIFF glass (like transparent Aqua) to fill a mold than you need of SOFT glass (like ivory) to fill the same mold

6. Shallow molds are more difficult to master than deep molds. 

7. It's okay to reheat and repress the bead if it was not right, it's okay to add more glass or take glass off. 

8. No matter how large the mandrel indentations, bead release WILL flake off, make sure that your mold is clean before you press the next bead.

9. Flame polishing is half of the success, and the other half of failure

10. Don't forget the beauty of round beads, once in a while.

So, let's look at this with some pictures. The mold I used for this demo is the shallow part of the 1 1/8 inch lentil (# 6), which is by far the most difficult mold of all offered. It will be easy for me to simulate all kinds of mistakes, I don't even have to simulate...

Remember the first commandment? Glass doesn't press sideways, only up and down. For that reason, it is very important to get the initial width perfect, and the best way to do that is TO MARK THE MANDREL.

I use a regular black sharpie - depending on the bead release you use, don't push the pen down too hard, you might hurt the bead release. Also, depending on the bead release again, don't overheat the spots you marked, or the marking will disappear.

If we take a closer look at the marking, you will see that it can be fairly wide (which is good to see it easily).

Since we want to be as precise as possible, you should make it a habit of always starting winding the glass on (and off) on the same side of the mark - either outside, or inside. It seems like a small thing, but it really makes a big difference.

Next, after preheating, wind on the first layer of glass, from marking to marking, then lay it into the mold you're going to use to check that you got the right width.

If you don't know how to lay down a long footprint like this, check page 29 of Passing The Flame and brush up on the "Winding Method".

If your footprint is WIDER than the mold, you better stop right here, and maybe turn the bead into something else. Don't waste any more time, the pressed bead will not look good.

If your footprint is NARROWER than the mold, you might be able to add a little bit of glass, but make sure that the additional glass actually touches the mandrel, otherwise it will pull back onto the main body of glass and nothing is gained.

Once you have added all the glass you think you will need (and after a few attempts, you KNOW you will need), it speeds matters up greatly if you PRE-SHAPE the bead. This can be done entirely with heat and gravity, but you might as well make use of what you already have in your hand: the top part of the mold:

Here are a few more "principles" about using the mold to pre-shape the bead: if you are using a shallow mold, this mold itself will not have the right curvature to give you the bead shape you need. If you have, use a deeper mold with the same diameter (mold # 6 and # 7 work together perfectly this way). If you don't have a mold that's deeper, TILT your bead and focus on shaping one end at the time. When you reheat the hole bead to get ready to press, you should be just fine.

How hot does the bead have to be before you can press it? Definitely glowing. If you get it so hot that the glass still moves on the way from the flame to the mold, make sure to have your eyes on the bead and rotate evenly, so it doesn't go lopsided on the way to the mold.

This picture is interesting in a couple of ways: First, you can SEE that this lentil will be lopsided (larger on one side). Also, you might wonder about the pointed ends of the bead. Chances are that at some point in your bead making career someone told you that pointed ends in beads are REALLY bad news. In general, they are. But in pressing beads, they are miraculously fantastic. I can't generalize and say "ALL" beads like pointed ends before being pressed, but a good amount do. Especially anything lentil related. Pointed ends actually make for better holes. Give it a try.

So, I actually pressed that horribly lopsided pointy-end bead in the most difficult press I offer, and this is what happened:

Pretty bad, hm?! I wish I could say I did that on purpose, but maybe my subconscious had a say in this.

In this picture you can see that my pitiful super flat lentil is lopsided in two ways: there is more glass on the lower part of the picture, and more on the left. Overall though, I got the right AMOUNT of glass, just not in the right places (and remember commandment number 6: flat lentils are more difficult to press right than fatter lentils.

Now, as long as you have NO DESIGN on your bead, you can easily fix it by melting the glass back into the original shape and in the next pressing quit looking at the TV and do it right this time:

The picture is not the clearest in the universe (try making beads and taking pictures at the same time!), but you can see that with the second press I did a fairly decent job. But CORIIIIIINA! you might yell at me, what about that little knob where the bead meets the mandrel?!

Well, excuse me, but here is a little reality check: if you press a bead (especially a thin one), the glass around the mandrel has to go SOME where. Depending on the curvature of the mold, the width of the footprint and the thickness of the bead, you have to choose between a half moon shaped indentation (which I don't like), and a little extra amount of glass right above the mandrel. So, there you have it. Actually, if you heat that area and tap it down with the Magic Wand, whispering "FLIPENDO GLASIOSUM", it should disappear.....

I have repeatedly mentioned how THIN a lentil this particular mold makes, here is a picture to make my point:

You can see the little bumps very clearly here - and you can also see WHY they have to be there. Just remember:

Why is it so difficult to make a large THIN bead? Just imagine: a thin bead is not going to need much glass. When you put that small amount of glass in the mold and press, all the little glass molecules have to run for their life to make it to the far away edge of the mold. The slightest inconsistency in this, like uneven application of glass, uneven heating, uneven pressure will make some of those little molecules give up before they get there, or overshoot their target. You get the idea....

So, if it's so difficult, why bother? Thin beads are incredibly attractive to wear - this particular size (1 1/8") is very comfortable to wear as a bracelet  - a good customer of mine who buys a new bracelet every few month has three of these, and they are her favorites. They make a bold statement without the weight of a thicker bead. Not that I'm trying to talk you into this, but I just had to mention it!

Okay, you have seen the nicely pressed bead, but we're not done yet! There are plenty of chances to ruin this bead from here on!

The magic word is: FLAME POLISHING!

Take a closer look at the concentric circles on this bead (the side view gave a better picture of this bead, although the circles are on the flat surfaces.

If you have ever pressed a bead, whether with a brass mold or a metal masher, you will be more than familiar with these guys. We all know how to deal with them: Flame Polishing ("INCENDIO CIRCULORUM")

But I am always amazing when I watch students in a class: without trying to be arrogant here, but a lot of people don't know HOW to flame polish properly.

Rule # 1:   Flame polish one side at a time
Rule # 2:   Stay away from the edge
Rule # 3:   Don't rotate the bead while flame polishing (which is really a variation on rule # 1)

I added to picture to show a very important point: when you flame polish, make sure that the flat surface of the bead is perpendicular to the flame! Often times people kind of assume that the flame is right there where they are looking at. In reality, it's far from there: the flame usually comes from underneath, not from the front. It depends a little on the angle the torch is set at, but generally, the flame hits the bead from below, so you have to point the flat surface DOWN at the flame.

"Lick the flame" in a slow circling motion along the bead surface, make sure that the bead glows all the way to the edge. No, that doesn't contradict rule # 2: "to the edge" doesn't equal "the edge".... Stay away from the edge, but get as close to it as you dare.

Once the side of the bead is nice and smooth, take the bead out of the flame, and WAIT until the glow fades. Then go back into the flame and repeat the whole procedure with the opposite side.

As long as the BACKSIDE of the bead you are polishing stays cold, you can heat the other side (almost) as much as you want, the shape of the bead will not go back to round. But if you rotate the bead in the flame and both sides get hot at the same time you'll lose the nice crisp edge and worse, the shape of the bead.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention the 8th commandment: Check for bead release!

Some bead releases are a little more "press-friendly" than others (wish I could give you a list, but it all seems hit or miss....I personally use Bucket o'mud, with a little bit of Blue Sludge mixed in for strength), but it's not unusual for the bead release to flake off, especially when pressing a bead more than once.

To be on the safe side, check your mold (AND the mandrel indentations) before pressing. I have a little cosmetic brush on my table to brush tiny bits and pieces away.

Hope this little tutorial helps, no matter which press you are using - email me if you still have questions. VIDEO tutorial is almost on the way....

Here's what I do, 

Corinna used a marker to show how to know what size to make the outer edges of your bead, when using a bead press.  I personally never did this, being that I am self taught.  I make a small round bead on one side of the mandrel then make another small bead on the mandrel where I think that the press will end.  These small round beads that I make will be in the same area as where Corinna drew her marker lines on her mandrel.  

Once done I take my mandrel and hold it over the bead press to make sure that the small beads are just at the inside edges of the mold.  I don't do any pressing at this time.  I just take a quick look to make sure all is good.  If the beads are not spaced wide enough to fit neatly inside the press, I might add more glass to the outer edge of a bead, on one side only.  Never fear though, if you screwed up doing this part, you can always add more glass to a pressed bead if the edges aren't filled in all of the way!

Then I fill in the interior section on the mandrel between the little "edge" beads that I made.  Once done I heat it all up and then proceed to wind glass around the glass on the mandrel until it seems big enough to fill the mold.  I actually do this by feeling the weight of the mandrel with the glass on it.  As you get used to making beads in a press, you will be able to guess how much glass you will need to fill the cavity this way.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Microwave kiln tutorial

This is a nice tutorial for making fused glass draw pulls using a microwave kiln created by delphiglass.com!
Click here to view the tutorial.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Yes, you can make lampwork beads from glass bottles!

The other day I found this thread on the site, Lampwork Etc., discussing how glass artists are making lampwork beads with recycled bottle glass, click here to view the thread.  It is full of interesting information, pictures and other links.  You might have to become a member of the forum to read the thread, but it is highly recommended since Lampwork Etc. is excellent for all glass artists.

I see that some people use chunks of broken bottles to create their beads by using them as glass rod.  You need to hold the piece of glass with something like a punty or other tool.  I also think that people with access to a tile saw can slice bottles lengthwise and then into thin strips and use those strips just like glass rod.

There is still a compatibility issue when using recycled glass bottles, sometimes bottles used by one company may still have different COE's.  For that reason it is best not to mix the glass with other glass, although if used sparingly, it is possible to add dots and decorations to the beads without them breaking.  A small amount of frit and powders can also be used to color the bottle glass beads as well, but keep in mind the fact that you will be mixing COE's and the beads may break.  It would be easier to make single color beads when using recycled glass from one bottle when lampworking (or fusing), but it is always fun to experiment.  You might discover that you can do some mixing without any breakage.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

COE's for different types of glass

Type of GlassCoefficient of expansion
Bullseye tested compatible
(Also Uroboros 90)
Effetre (Moretti) sheets and rods
(some variation; should test)
Spectrum System 96
(also Uroboros 96)
Borosilicate (Pyrex)32.5
Window (float) glass
(Also includes most bottles) 
83 to 87 (depends on manufacturer)
May be even higher or lower

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Repairing a cracked or broken glass mold

#1. Magic Mender - 4 oz. container is for sale on the Slumpy's website. Use Magic Mender to repair chipped or broken slump molds. Use magic Mender to fuse two molds together. Fix hairline cracks in molds. Just apply magic mender to area to be fixed and fire at 1700 degrees F. 

Helpful Hints for Magic Mender:

While the mender is still moist, the joint will be fairly delicate, so be careful when cleaning the mold. The Menders must be fired to become permanent. Keep unused portion in jar tightly closed. The mender has a long shelf life and will not spoil! After firing, the repaired area is stronger than the rest of the mold. If you clean well before firing you’ll never know the break was there.

How to fix hairline cracks:

Use a knife tool or dermal to open the crack. (You must get the mender deep into the crack for it to work, otherwise the crack will reappear.) Dip a brush in the mender and in some water so that you have a flowing consistency. Allow the mender to flow into the cracks, then let dry. If you need a second application, do so, then clean the mold and fire.

#2. You can also use a resin based cement that is used in kiln building called "Sairset". It should be available in all ceramic suppliers.  Make the edges to be joined wet. Spread some Sairset on the joint. Wipe all of it off the working surface with a wet cloth or sponge. Back up the repair with more Sairset on the back. Wash all tools used immediately or the Sairset will never come off. When dry, fire to about 800C. , then wash the mold and you are ready to go.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

How to cut a bottle with a tile saw, video

Click here to see this little video showing how to cut bottles with a wet tile saw!  Wear protective eye wear, gloves and be careful.  Always have water in the saw so that the glass dust does not become air born and inhaled.  And have fun creating!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Kokomo Glass kiln firing schedule

Some General Information about Fusing with Kokomo Glass

Annealing Temperature for Cathedral Colors:

Anneal: 945 F
Strain Point: 872 F

COE: Generally in the neighborhood of 92-94, but you will need to test each sheet if they are from different runs. Even different runs of the same color can have significantly different fusing properties.

Annealing Temperatures for Opals:

Opal D Anneal: 891 F Strain Pt. 833 F
Opal M Anneal: 914 F Strain Pt. 851 F
Opal ML Anneal: 930 F Strain Pt. 862 F
Opal L Anneal: 936 F Strain Pt. 867 F

Typical Ramping Up?Allow 1 hour per ¼? of thickness. All kilns behave differently. Test in your kiln to adjust for faster or slower times. Projects with more surface area may require slower ramping.

Typical glasses will begin to sag at around 1050 F.
Annealing:Soak 1 hour per ¼? of thickness @ 945F
Ramp to strain point 872 F

(1/4" thick piece should take 2-3 hours)

Soak @ strain point 15 minutes per ¼? thickness
Ramp down to room temperature.
For ¼" thick piece, turn kiln off and do not vent until 250 F.

If you are fusing Kokomo glass, Experiment, Experiment, Experiment and Test, Test, Test. Some colors devitrify more than others. Reds and yellows hate to be fused.

Finally as to whether the ring mottles can be used in fusing: 
As far as slumping our glass, Kokomo has experimented with slumping our glass & have found that on the opals it is critical to catch the glass right when it falls then vent the kiln down to 1050F as quickly as possible, then follow your normal ramp down.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Youghiogheny Glass full fuse firing schedule

From room temperature to 800F at 300 degrees per hour, hold for 10 minutes
From 800F to1120F degrees at 300 degrees per hour, hold for 10 minutes
From 1120F to1250F degrees at 200 degrees per hour, hold for 10 minutes
From 1250F to 1560F fairly quickly, hold for 10 minutes
Crash from1560F to1020F and hold for 45 minutes
From 1020F to 800F at 60 degrees per hour hold for 30 minutes
From 800F to 300F at 100 degrees per hour hold for 5 minutes

Monday, October 1, 2012

Uroboros and Spectrum System 96 glass full fuse firing schedule

Today I thought I'd share my favorite firing schedule for Uroboros glass (it works great for Spectrum 96 COE too).  This is for full fusing two layer pieces.

300° - 1150°  hold 30 minutes
200° - 1370° hold 20 minutes
400° - 1470° hold 5 minutes
9999° - 950° hold 60 minutes
150° - 800° hold 10 minutes
300° - 500° no hold

You will notice that when fusing transparent glass you will not need as much heat as firing opaque glass.  It is only a matter of a few degrees.  You can tell if you need to turn down the heat used on your highest full fuse temperature segment if you have small glass burrs sticking out on the sides of your finished piece.

It is advised to try this schedule with your kiln on a test piece first to make sure it is good for your kiln!  Kilns don't always heat up to the same temperatures as other kilns do.  If your finished fused product seems slightly indented or distorted on the side edges, you need to turn down the high temperature.  Mine is 1470° (hold 5 minutes).  You might want to program your kiln to heat up to 1450 instead and perhaps hold longer.  Again test your glass sample first before firing your good piece!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Wasser glass fusing schedule

I have found this schedule works when I am fusing two and three layers of Wasser glass.

My schedule is in Fahrenheit, you can convert it to Celsius here. 

400° - 1335°, hold 15 minutes
9999° - 940°, hold 30 minutes
100° - 700°, no hold
200° - 500°, no hold

If you want to fuse very small pieces of Wasser glass together while keeping a defined shape, you will need to either not heat up your kiln all of the way to 1335° and/or not hold your kiln at that high temperature for the full 15 minutes.  

Thursday, September 27, 2012


So I'm running out of ideas about what to write about, so I'm asking my readers for suggestions.  Should I go back to giving stained glass window fabrication tips or glass fusing help?  Please leave your comments!  Thanks

Friday, September 21, 2012

How to prepare silver stain for glass painting.

If you've tried to mix silver stain with water, to paint on a piece of glass and discovered it didn't mix well and then didn't actually stick to the piece of glass that you were trying to paint, then you've probably wondered what the trick is to get it to work.

What you can use is Sandalwood Amyris Oil, and a small amount of Lavender Oil.  Once thoroughly mixed, wait a day or two before applying to your glass.  You do not use water to mix silver stain, just the essential oils.  Other essential oils can probably work and get the same results but you must experiment to see which ones will work for you.

Once you have applied the stain to the glass, you will need to fire your piece so that the silver stain is laying on your shelf paper or kiln shelf.  Fire your piece at about 200 degrees per hour Fahrenheit until you reach 1040 degrees F and hold for 10 minutes.  Then shut off your kiln and let it cool.  Later, after the piece is done cooling off, you will need to wash the stain residue off of the piece with mild soap and water.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Yes, you can melt glass seed beads in your kiln!

Lately we've noticed a few people writing online wondering about recycling seed beads by melting them in their kilns.  We haven't tried it ourselves at Harrach Glass but it sounds like a great idea!  What a great way to recycle old glass beads and create a new form of glass art!

We recommend that when melting the seed beads, glass artists should stick to using all of the same color and brand beads.  That way you will probably have beads with the same COE.  You can crush them like frit and put them in a mold or melt them together to form glass globs.  To fuse seed beads onto another type of glass, it would be best to do compatibility tests first.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Flux can ruin hand painted kiln fired glass...

I read this somewhere on the internet in the past but couldn't find the information again.  So what I know is that when using flux on or near a piece of glass that has been hand painted and fired, stay away from flux that is only made of muriatic acid.   That type of acid will make make some painted glass haze.

It is best to research what ingredients are used in your flux.  The common soldering fluxes, which contain acid, usually contain zinc chloride and/or ammonium chloride.  They may also contain some free hydrochloric acid.  Killed acid, is just muriatic acid to which zinc metal has been dissolved in, to produce a solution of zinc chloride.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tools needed to melt wine bottle and other glass

Occasionally someone will ask me how I melt my wine bottles and other art glass projects.  As crazy as this sounds, I have seen, from looking around online, that some people are actually trying to melt bottles in things like barbecue grills and fireplaces.  And of course that won't really work!  It may be possible to somewhat melt the glass but it will probably permanently stick to where ever it was melted and ruin things.  And that process is never precise.  So I found this information on WarmGlass.com with great information on how to really get started properly!  I hope this helps. 

Aside from the glass, the most important item you need is a kiln. Most kilns used are electric and are capable of reaching temperatures of around 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. Kilns are available in sizes ranging from less than a cubic foot to big enough to fill a room. Kilns made specifically for ceramics can be used, but it's better to have one that's specifically engineered for firing glass.

Your kiln must have the capability to accurately monitor and display the inside temperature. This is usually done with a pyrometer, a precise thermometer that is often coupled with a controller, a device that helps manage the firing of the kiln. A controller can greatly simplify the task of precisely directing and monitoring the temperature changes inside the kiln. You can get by without a controller if you're willing to keep a closer eye on the kiln, but a pyrometer that can accurately measure the temperature inside the kiln is essential.

In addition to the kiln, you need a shelf to set the glass on and (if you want to slump) a mold to help shape the glass. Shelves are generally made of clay or a lightweight refractory material, while molds can be made of clay, stainless steel, or various kinds of cements and plaster mixtures. The key is that both the shelf and the mold can withstand heating up to a temperature of 1700 degrees Fahrenheit or so and then cooling back to room temperature.

You'll also need some sort of glass separator to keep the glass from sticking to the kiln shelf and the mold. The separator can be a special kind of paper that glass won't stick to at high temperatures (called fiber paper) or it can be an emulsion that you apply to the shelf, then allow to dry (commonly called a shelf primer or kiln wash). Without this separator, glass will stick to the shelf or mold when it gets hot and your piece of artwork will be ruined.  
That's it. If you have some glass, a kiln, a shelf or mold, and something to keep the glass from sticking, you have the basic ingredients to begin fusing and slumping. Add some tools to help cut and the glass and a few essential pieces of safety equipment, and you're ready to begin.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Glass grinder tutorial, video

We like this glass grinding video because it actually instructs viewers about using water in the grinder and wearing safety glasses!

We also like to use the Morton System Mr. Splash to surround our grinders so that the ground glass doesn't fly all over the place!  We place a Morton board under our grinder to catch water that always seems to fly and/or drip out when grinding onto our work bench.  And we have a Morton face shield to keep a lot of the ground glass from flying up into our faces.  This video didn't show using any of those Morton items but we strongly recommend using them!

All grinders are pretty much the same as far as set up so you can watch the video and follow it for different grinder types.  Be sure to add a tiny bit of sewing machine oil inside of the grinder bit before attaching it to the grinders bit post.  It seems to keep the bit from freezing onto that post, thus ruining your grinder.  No need to buy grinder sponges either, we cut up a regular kitchen sponge and it works great.  You must always use a sponge against the grinding bit when grinding!  It wicks up water from in the grinder's water reservoir to keep the diamond bit wet and to keep glass dust from becoming airborne and inhaled.  We have never put glass coolant in our water reservoirs, we just make sure that our grinder always has water in that section.  Once done grinding, we immediately clean our grinder.  It seems that once ground glass has dried inside the water reservoir and top surfaces, including the Morton parts mentioned above, it becomes almost cement like and is hard to completely remove.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Using glass nippers for glass mosaics, video

Along with using a regular glass cutter, you can also cut glass with glass nippers to make glass mosaics.  This video shows what glass nippers look like and what you can do with them.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Easy (beginner) fused glass earring tutorial, video

This is a nice video for anyone that is wanting to learn how to make easy fused glass earrings in a kiln. It has some good information for people new to kiln glass.  Video made by Mark Lauckner.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Celsius / Fahreheit converter for glass kiln users

This temperature converter works both ways (either Celsius to Fahrenheit, or Fahrenheit to Celsius), just type in the temperature that you have in either desired box below and get the corresponding converted temperature.

Insert a number into one of the input fields below:

degrees Celsius


degrees Fahrenheit

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Kiln wash your kiln!

This is a MUST DO maintenance tip for anyone that is melting glass in a kiln, or annealing lampwork beads as well.  Make sure that you have thoroughly kiln washed the interior sides of your kiln also the floor of the kiln, kiln lid, and any kiln posts and shelves that will be inside your kiln when firing!  The reason for this is to keep any molten glass from permanently adhering to your kiln and perhaps ruining it!  Without kiln wash, molten glass will permanently stick to your firebrick and kiln shelves.  And when that happens, you will have to remove all firebrick that has been contaminated with melted glass since subsequent firings will make that glass only melt deeper and further into the firebrick.

I just mix up Primo Primer Kiln Wash in a little plastic bucket and paint it on my kiln with a Hake brush.  It can last many firings!  My kiln shelf is done the same way but occasionally I have to scrape the old kiln wash off it and then reapply.  I put about three coats on the shelf, waiting for the kiln wash to completely dry between coats.  When applying to the kiln walls and lid, be sure to keep the wash off of the elements.  

Below is a picture of what I found inside my kiln this morning.  As you can see, the top green bottle rolled off of my kiln shelf and ended up on the kiln floor and partially up the wall.  Since I had all firebrick and kiln furniture kiln washed, I could just pick up the bottle without it sticking anywhere!


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Soldering problems and tips, chart

Solder falls through seams to other side when soldering copper foiled pieces.Soldering iron is too hot or you are holding the iron in one area too long. Put a damp rag or sponge under the area you are soldering.
Beading of seams is too flat.Not enough solder.
Beading is lumpy -- peaks instead of flowing.Iron is too cold.
Can't seam to get beading smooth.Wrong kind of solder for job. Did you flux? Iron too cold or too hot. Too much or not enough solder.
Solder won't stick to copper foil or lead.Did you flux? Copper foil may be oxidized; clean with vinegar, salt, and water solution. Lead may be oxidized; wipe clean, dry, and rub with fine steel wool or wire brush.
Solder splatters into little balls all over the glass.Iron too hot; purchase rheostat for your iron. This will control the current to your iron and control the heat output.
Lead came melts and disappears before your eyes.Directly touching the lead came with a very hot iron. Position solder at joint, iron on top. Let solder flow down on lead came.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Making sheet glass video

This is a short video from Jay Redington Glass showing how their glass company makes their own sheet glass.  It is pretty interesting to watch the artisan get the glass ready, roll it flat and then place it in his kiln.
Click here to view this video!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Making Opalescent Glass video

This video, from the Science Channel is fun to watch and is full of information.

Click here to view the video!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Skutt kiln programming tutorial, video

This video explains in easy to understand terms how to program your Skutt kiln.

Click here to watch the video!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Calla Lily lampwork bead video

This is a fun lampworking video, showing how to make Calla Lily beads,  uploaded by JerseyGirlBeads.

Watch the video here!

Friday, July 20, 2012

How to apply glass paint to a rubber stamp, for kiln glass stamping

Using propylene glycol as your paint medium allows you to add texture to your paint, or to use stamps.

Simply create a heavy paste using only propylene glycol, and mix with a painting knife on a smooth surface like a piece of float glass. With a paint brush, spread this mixture flat and even. Pick up with the stamp, and stamp your piece. Here, I have used RP7852MB "strong blue." Wipe off any areas where the stamped image is unwanted. Owing to the viscous nature of the propylene glycol mixture, the stamped pattern will not be smooth, but with fun, random ripples and waves. Stamps with delicate designs should be avoided.

enameled glass 

This information was found on the webpage Art of Stained Glass, click on the link to go to that page where you will find a lot more helpful stained glass information!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Glass blowing video

This is a fun glass blowing video that we think our readers will like watching. 
Click here to watch the video!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Preparing a kiln shelf for fusing glass, video

This video shows Erwin Timmers, the co-founder and co-director of the Washington Glass School where he teaches glass, lighting, sculpture, and metal work.  The video is great reference material for new glass artists wanting to fuse glass in a kiln!  

Click HERE to view this video.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Bullseye box casting tutorial

To view the original article and pictures follow this link Bullseye Glass Tips Sheet 5.

This Tip Sheet will introduce you to ways to create a reverse relief cast 
glass object with the optical clarity of a furnace casting, using plaster silica 
design elements in an open face mold assembled from vermiculite board and 
other refractory materials. In this process, there will be less waste than with 
traditional kilncasting processes and the majority of the mold will be reusable. 
The molds themselves will be of uniform thickness, allowing for even heating and 
cooling. Furthermore, the molds will not fail at casting temperature, which is 
among the most common concerns in kilncasting and one of the reasons that there 
is such a boggling array of mold recipes in use. The results are typically much 
cleaner and more predictable than kilncasting in most of the traditional methods, 
and the process is extremely easy to repeat for the purposes of making editions or 
production work.

Origins of the Method
This method of kilncasting developed as an outgrowth of an artist exchange project
in our Research & Education department with Mexican artist Rafael Cauduro. Cauduro 
had originally come to the factory to work in methods known as Painting With Light, 
but quickly became intrigued with kilncasting processes and began to make large-scale 
cast glass sculptures using traditional “monolithic” or one-piece refractory molds. 
The fabrication, handling, and technical challenges posed by making and firing 
these molds ultimately led the R&E team, assisted by Ray Ahlgren,* to begin researching 
other ways of building the molds. After the conclusion of the project, this research 
continued. TipSheet 5 will lead you through the processes that were subsequently 

Where you are going:  The finished piece
The end result will be a solid block of glass with relief imagery in the back of the 
piece that when viewed through the flat front creates a nearly holographic image. 
The top surface of the piece will be glossy and smooth. If carefully planned and 
executed, the top perimeter will have a soft, bullnosed edge. Occasionally, some 
cold work may be necessary or may be a tremendous advantage in the finished work. 
The finished block will measure about 19.5 x 19.5 x 4cm. These dimensions may be 
enlarged by adapting the general guidelines and adjusting the firing schedule.

Materials Needed
Glass: Because clarity is essential to creating a reverse-relief casting, we recommend 
using any of Bullseye’s 1800 series casting tints in billet form. Because they have 
smoother surfaces and less surface area by weight than other forms of glass, billets 
will trap less air than frit, powders, or sheet glass, and therefore create fewer bubbles
in the final piece. Billets are preferable not only for the clarity they produce 
in the finished casting, but also because they are easy to handle, cut, and load into the 
mold. The 1800 series glasses are formulated to gradually transition in color saturation 
as they go from thick to thin, making them ideal for this and other casting processes.
Other materials:
Clay and tools for modeling design elements
Metric scale
Metric ruler
Bullseye Hydrogel N (8242), or similar moldmaking material
Mixing containers
Bucket of water for initial clean-up
Bucket of water for rinse
Bullseye Vermiculite Board (8240)
Stainless steel (deck) screws
Bullseye Investment (Plaster-Silica) (8244), or similar refractory investment material 
Fiber paper (7036)
Vaseline/petroleum jelly
Murphy Oil Soap
946 ml Ziploc food storage box, or equivalent
Garbage can with liner
Self-lubricating glass cutter

Notes on Metric measurements
For the sake of simplicity, all units of measure in this TipSheet are Metric. 
The decimal format of the metric system and its direct and simple translation from 
length to volume to weight in water makes it a superior system for laboratory work.
in the metric system: 1 cubic centimeter (cm3) of water = 1 milliliter (ml) of water = 
1 gram (g) of water.  If the interior of an empty box measures 20 x 20 x 2.5 cm, 
then this interior has a volume of 1000 cm3. 1000 cm3 of water is equal to 
1000 ml of water, which is equal to 1000 g of water. Bullseye glass is 2.5 times denser 
than water, so it would take 2,500 grams of Bullseye glass to fill this same volume.

Making a mold for multiple copies of a model
preparing a model using clay or a found object:
Prepare a model no larger than 5 x 5 x 3 cm using either water- or oil-based clay. 
This model will be used to make the design elements that will create the reverse 
relief imagery in the final casting. Water-based clay is usually softer than oil-based
clay, can be modeled very quickly, and can be reused and recycled. However, it 
will dry out over time and will shrink as it does so. Oilbased clay is usually firmer,
does not dry out, holds fine detail very well, is reusable, and releases very easily 
from most mold materials such as alginate, rubber, and silicone. Found objects 
may need to be coated with a release, such as Vaseline or Murphy Oil Soap.

For this particular process, the model itself should have minimal undercuts. 
Undercuts on found objects can be filled in with clay. The very bottom portion of 
these design elements will end up being submerged in investment material to 
hold them in place in the final casting process, so plan accordingly.

Preparing to pour a mold:
Place the model into a box with a minimum of 15 mm
of space all around it; a 10.5 x 10.5 x 9 cm flexible plastic food storage box (Ziploc)
with a slight draft to the sides works well. The box serves as a coddle system, or 
a set of dams, into which you will pour the alginate to make the mold. Use something 
like petroleum jelly to secure the model to the bottom of the box to keep it from 
moving or floating once you have poured in the mold material.

Types of flexible mold material 
for casting multiple copies:
Hydrogel N mold compound is a type of alginate that is fairly easy to mix and sets in 
5-10 minutes. It is somewhat weak with a short working life and will dry out 
and shrink over a couple of days, but if kept in a sealed container and treated carefully, 
it will usually last a few weeks.

RTV Rubber (Room Temperature Vulcanizing) is activated at room temperature but can have long set times and often takes 24 hours to cure into a very durable, very strong material.
For the sake of expediency, we have used Hydrogel N to illustrate this TipSheet.

Mixing hydrogel N mold compound:
Measure box/coddle system—including 1.5 cm above the model in the calculation. 
For our specific box and model, this is 10.5 x 10.5 x 4.5 cm, which equals 496 
cubic cm, which means that it will take 496 grams of water to fill the box to the 
appropriate level. The manufacturer of Hydrogel N mold compound recommends 

mixing it 3 parts water to 1 part Hydrogel N by weight and adding the mold 
compound to the water, but we have had good success mixing it 4 parts water to 1 
part Hydrogel N by weight and adding the water to the Hydrogel. For our project, 
then, we will need 496 grams of water and 124 grams of Hydrogel. We have 
had the best success mixing this with a spatula in a bowl using a folding, not a beating 
motion, to avoid creating bubbles in the mix. Work in a well-ventilated area and 
wear a NIOSH-approved respirator whenever working with powdered materials 
or dusts.

Pouring the hydrogel:
Be certain that you are working on a flat and level surface. Pour to one side of the object
in a flowing motion to keep air from getting trapped on the surface of the model. 
Vibrate the worktable so that the air bubbles don’t get stuck to the model.

Using water immediately makes a mess. Allow remaining Hydrogel to dry in the
container and then immerse in bucket of water for initial clean up. Once cured, it is 
possible to peel the Hydrogel out as a skin. Never pour into a sink.

Removing the mold from the coddle box:
Turn the coddle box upside down on the work table and squeeze and push the flexible 
walls to let air into the sides until the mold drops out. Turn the mold over 
again and squeeze it and push carefully to force the clay model out. You now have a 
flexible mold for pouring multiple copies of your model in another material.

Making design elements out of refractory mold material
Many different refractory mold (or “investment”) materials and recipes exist. In our 
factory Research & Education department, we use a simple mixture of 50% #1 Casting 
Plaster and 50% silica flour (295 mesh) mixed by weight.

Measuring mold material:
Measure the original model and overestimate its size; it is better to discard some 
inexpensive investment than to run out and have to quickly mix more. Our model is 
roughly 5 x 5 x 5 cm = 125 cubic cm. Referring to the Investment Ratio chart on page 8, 
we can add together the amounts of material needed for voids of 100, 20, and 5 
cubic centimeters to get the proper quantities of water and investment required for 
our 125 cubic centimeter void. This means that we will need 79.99 grams of water 
and 139.98 grams of investment. Weigh these materials in clean, dry buckets. Remember 
to work in a well-ventilated area and wear a NIOSH-approved respirator whenever 
working with powdered materials.

Mixing investment material:
Steadily sift all of the required investment into the water. An island of dry material 
will begin to form once you have sifted most of the material into the water. Allow 
the investment to fully hydrate/become saturated. If left alone, the investment can 
sit for quite some time. Once the mixture is saturated, dip your hand in and 
break up any chunks. Feel the consistency. You want a creamy texture. Mix the 
investment by hand for 3–5 minutes or with an electric mixer/drill for 1–2 minutes. 
This will cause the plaster to begin to work so that it will subsequently set.

Pouring the mixed investment into the mold:
Be certain that you are working on a flat and level surface. If you have a lot of fine detail,
begin by brushing some investment mix into the details in the mold, which will 
break the surface tension so the mix can go into the details. Aim for one place in 
the mold and pour in a flowing motion to avoid creating bubbles. Once 
you have finished pouring, vibrate the work surface to make certain that no air is 
trapped within the details of the mold.

Clean investment mixing buckets right away. Old plaster in mixing buckets, on hands
and/or on tools will cause subsequent batches of investment to set before 
you have a chance to pour them. It is good to use black
or colored buckets so that you can easily spot old plaster in them. Never pour
investment into a normal sink as this will clog your pipes. Pour excess investment into 

a garbage can that has a liner in it. From there, have two buckets of water to use in your 
cleaning operation: one bucket for cleaning and scrubbing the mixing buckets and one 
bucket for rinsing them. When these buckets become too filled with waste investment to 
continue using them, allow them to settle, then pour off the excess water and dispose 
of the waste investment in garbage bags.

After investment has set up:
It usually takes 5-20 minutes for the investment to set. Lightly touch the surface of the 
investment to test its hardness. Once it has set, the plaster/silica design element can be 
removed in the same fashion that the clay model was. Immediately after setting, the 
design element will still be a little soft, which means that it can be easily modified 
with simple clay tools at this point. After the design element hardens, it can still be 
modified, but you may need to use power tools for the sake of speed.  Store the 
alginate/Hydrogel mold in a closed container for later use, being careful to keep 
it from drying out.

Building the box mold with vermiculite board

Vermiculite board:
Vermiculite has a bad reputation because it is often mined in the same places as 
asbestos, which can contaminate the vermiculite. Bullseye Vermiculite Board comes 
from a mine that is certified asbestos free. It is stronger, more durable, and less 
expensive than most fiberboard and can be cut and tooled like wood or particle board. 
Work in a well-ventilated area and wear a NIOSH-approved respirator whenever 
generating dusts.  If you want your finished piece to be level and square, it is 
important to cut the vermiculite boards accurately. Also, pre-drill and countersink 
screw holes so the board does not bloat or blow out when you screw it together. Use 
stainless steel screws to put the mold together as they will hold up to repeated firings 
without flaking. Do not use galvanized steel screws because upon firing, the galvanization 
will release toxic fumes and the screws will flake and cause contamination in your kiln.
Cut two long side boards at 25.5 x 9 x 2.5 cm, two short side boards at 20 x 9 x 2.5 cm, 
and one base board at 25.5 x 25.5 x 2.5 cm. Lay the boards out as an open box 
and pre-drill holes in the flat surface of the long side boards to connect them to the ends 
of the short side boards using a bit that has a diameter slightly smaller than the diameter 
of the stainless steel screws. Be sure to drill your holes on center to avoid blowing out the 
side of the board. Then screw the sidewalls together. Next, set the base board on top of the 
assembled side boards and pre-drill holes to join it to the sides, and then screw it together. 
Then take the entire box apart and fire the vermiculite board at a rate of 500°F (278°C) 
per hour to a temperature of 1580°F (860°C) or about 55°F (30°C) higher than the temperature 
at which you will cast the glass. Hold at that temperature for half an 
hour, and then crash cool the kiln.Once the boards are cool, take them out and 
reassemble the sides using the stainless steel screws. Cut a piece of 3 mm fiber paper at 
25.5 x 25.5 cm and set it on the base board, then set the assembled sides on top of the fiber 
paper, and screw the box together. Line the side walls with 3 mm fiber paper, making sure 
that it fits tightly, without bowing or leaving gaps in the corners.

Affixing design elements within the box
The design elements must be held firmly in place for the glass casting process. To hold 
them, a shallow layer (or “bed”) of investment is poured into the bottom of 
the box around the design elements.  Hydrate the plaster/silica design elements by soaking 
them in water until the bubbles quit rising (5-10 minutes). This helps to keep the
plaster/silica bed from sucking in around the design elements due to differences in 
humidity. Arrange design elements on the interior base of the box. Check once again to make 
certain that your work surface is flat and level.

Measure the inside of the box to determine the appropriate amount of investment
material needed. Our box is 19.5 x 19.5 cm, and we need enough investment to 
fill it about 0.5 cm deep. Thus, the investment needs to fill a void that is 190 cubic 
centimeters. Referring to our investment (plaster/silica) mixing table you will see 
that there is a batch listed for 200 cubic cm, which will be more than enough.
Mix the investment according to the previous directions and pour it quickly and
evenly. Avoid pouring the mix directly onto the design elements or the side walls. 
Vibrate the work surface to make the investment level out.Set aside the box mold 
for 24 hours to make sure that all of the plaster/silica components of the mold have 
cured to an adequate hardness. As with the design elements, you may choose to
modify the affixing layer of investment.

Selecting glass
You may select any form of Bullseye glass to fill the mold (billet, cullet, sheet, frit, etc.), 
but the form that you select will have a direct impact on the clarity of the 
casting. The smaller the form of the glass, the more air bubbles in the finished piece, 
the less optical clarity. Powders and fine frits will create so many air bubbles 
that even our Crystal Clear 1401 will appear milky white and opalescent when used 
at this 4 cm thickness.Because this is a reverse-relief casting and the intention is to see 
the imagery created by the design elements through the surface of the finished piece, using 
billets will give you the desired clarity.

Calculating glass to fill the mold:
Measure the inside of the box mold. Then figure out the cubic volume. Use a specific 
gravity of 2.5 for Bullseye glass to calculate how much glass will be needed to 
fill the mold to the desired thickness. (Bullseye glass is approximately 2.5 times 
heavier than water.) 

Our box mold:
19.5 x 19.5 x 4 cm (desired thickness of casting) = 1521 cm3
1521 x 2.5 = 3802.5 (grams of glass needed)
This does not account for the displacement of glass caused by the design elements.
If you would like to account for the displacement caused by the design elements or if you 
have an irregularly shaped mold, you can use rice for a more precise measurement. 
Fill your mold with rice to the desired thickness of the casting. Then remove the rice 
and decant it into a container. Level the rice, and then mark the level. Remove the rice 
from the container, and weigh the container. Then fill the container with water 
up to the former level of the rice, and weigh it again. Subtract the weight of the container 
to get the weight of the water. It will take 2.5 grams of Bullseye for every 
gram of water.Use a reliable scale to weigh out the amount of glass you will need.

Cutting the billet:
Use a self-lubricating glass cutter to score glass and about the same amount of pressure 
required to score 3 mm sheet glass. It is always easiest to break the score if it is made 
along the centerline of the piece of glass. In other words, cut the billet in half, then in 
half again, to get the appropriate sizes to fill the mold.

Find the score line and break with big running pliers. Or hold the billet in a gloved hand 
and use a hammer to open the score by tapping on the back of the glass underneath the score 
line. (This does not take a lot of force; a tap exactly under the score line will cause the 
score to open cleanly.) Hold the billet low and over the table so it does not fall on your 
foot. Remember to wear eye protection.

Loading the glass into the mold:
Clean and dry the glass thoroughly, making sure to remove stickers. Any glass that is 
going to be lower than the thickness of final piece can be against the mold wall, but 
be careful not to indent the fiber paper because it will create a bump on 
the finished glass piece. Stack the rest of the glass into the center of the mold.

Loading the mold into the kiln:
Make sure the kiln is level and make sure the mold is level. Set the box mold on kiln 
furniture/posts, establishing three points of contact at least 2.5 cm from the floor of the 
kiln. This will allow heat to circulate all around the mold. If you would like to
intentionally create a wedge shape, you may set up the mold on an angle; but make 
certain that you have enough glass to cover the design elements, and that you adjust your 

annealing schedule to accommodate for the thicker area in the casting. If, for example, 
you would like a wedge that is 5 cm on the bottom and 2.5 cm on top, you will want to 
support the end that will be thicker on 2.5 cm kiln furniture, and the end that will be thinner 
on 5 cm kiln furniture, and then calculate the glass as if you were casting a rectilinear 
volume with a thickness of 3.75 cm.

Firing the piece
Vent the kiln at least up to 1100°F (593°C) to make certain that all of the moisture has
escaped the kiln. Plan to be present when the kiln is at casting temperature, and visually 
inspect the piece to make sure the casting is going as planned. If unwanted bubbles 
are present on the surface or just below the surface of the piece, plan to extend the hold 
at casting temperature until the bubbles have burst and healed.  Firing schedules provided
are specific to the Paragon GL24AD kilns that we use in our factory Research & 
Education department. All kilns fire differently. You may need to adjust the firing 
schedule for your specific kiln and project.  After the entire firing cycle is complete, we 
recommend leaving the piece in the kiln at room temperature for at least a day before taking 
it out to divest it.

Cleaning the finished piece
Remove the piece from the kiln and disassemble the box mold. Remember to wear an 
approved mask while handling the fired fiber paper and investment materials. Watch 
out for any sharp points if the glass has clung to the side walls of the mold.
The investment can be removed from the glass with a variety of tools, such as dental 
instruments, wooden picks, nylon brushes, and wood carving tools. Wooden 
tools are ideal for carefully removing broad areas of investment, and metal tools should 
be used delicately to clean fine details. A nylon bristle brush and forced air are also 
great tools for cleaning areas of residual investment. Most of the investment should be removed 
from the glass before submerging it in or scrubbing it with water. While water can be 
used to rinse away residual investment, we have found that scrubbing the glass with 
vinegar and/or CLR* breaks down the investment material.  Remember that you can create
a very different effect if you decide to coldwork and/or polish your piece. The optical 
qualities can change substantially, especially with coldworking on the edges.



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