Quick Fire Fusing

I’ve been doing hot glass crafts for the past few years. I started with making beads on a torch, then began to do some fusing and slumping of glass since I had the kilns (beads must be annealed in a kiln before using them). I made these pendants (and coordinating earrings and a ring) for a jewelry special-interest magazine last year. I wanted to share them with you. >>Maria

One lucky person who posts a comment for this blog post will win one of my pendants that was published in Jewelry Creations II! Deadline to leave a comment is Dec. 1 at midnight ET.

Quick Fire Fusing

By Bo and Mo Given

Note: Who are Bo and Mo Given? This is a byline I often use when a design of mine gets published. It’s a tribute to my dogs and I know that’s a bit silly, but as a designer and writer I enjoy using several bylines that pay homage to my family and friends!

This beginner fusing project uses a quick firing kiln for speedy glass fusing.  The abstract design makes each piece a one of a kind.

Materials

Diamond International Wasser Glass: yellow, brown, light brown, tiger’s eye, gold, butterscotch, weathered, red flash, surprise, and heavy gold

Glasscutter

Nippers

Safety glasses for glasswork

Quik-Fire kiln

Kiln shelf primed with release

Timer

Rubbing alcohol

Lint free paper towels

Pin back, earring posts, pendant bails

Optional:  Thinned white glue or fusing glue

Instructions

Firing Temperatures:

Wasser glass has a COE 90
(~±5°F and are dependent upon glass color and thickness)
Softening Point :1240°F (677°C)
Tack Fuse :1285°F (696°C) Orton std. lg. cone 18 (r/r 108°F)
Full Fuse :1340°F (727°C) Orton std. lg. cone 17 (r/r 108°F)
Annealing Temperature : 940°F (482°C)
Shrinkage Initiation Point :1360°F (738°C)
Balling Formation Starts : 1450°F (788°C)
Glass Lost / Shelf Intrusion : 1550°F (843°C)

1. If you do not have a kiln, check out your local stained glass or glass working studios as they often have fusing classes or offer kiln time. If you do not have a quick firing kiln, use the firing temperatures above. When cutting glass use caution and care. You are working with hot glass so be careful and consider all surfaces hot.

2. Cut glass into thin strips in various widths and lengths.  Most strips are no more than 1/4 wide and 3” long. As you design you might want to nip strips shorter. Remember that edges of cut glass can be very sharp.  Handle glass carefully.

3. Work on a clean surface and once cut clean all glass pieces with rubbing alcohol.  It’s important that the glass be oil and lint free when fired (heated).  Once happy with design, place glass onto kiln shelf that has been prepared with release (following manufacturer’s instructions for applying release).  It’s also important that glass be completely dry before setting on the kiln shelf or fusing (firing).

4. As you design your pieces make sure you include some small sets that can be turned into earrings.  You may want to leave some openings to turn the piece into a pendant or leave a place where a pendant bail can be glued.  As I made my pieces, I was thinking pins so I made sure there was a space that a pin back could be adhered. I do not use any type of adhesive as I design abstract pieces.  If a piece of glass moves as fired I consider it part of the abstract look, however, you can apply a watered down white glue or fusing glue to the back of glass to avoid glass moving.  Remember that glue must dry completely before you fire your piece(s).  Any moisture when firing may cause the glass to crack.

5. Place shelf into kiln, close kiln, and turn on. The quick firing kiln will get to full fusing temperature (Wasser 1340 degrees F) within five minutes so it’s important that you never leave a kiln unsupervised.  As the temperature rises to full fuse, put on your safety glasses and check glass. Never look into a kiln or torch without safety glasses designed for hot glasswork. If fused (fully melted together), turn off kiln and keep open until temperature is around 1200 degrees F.  You may have to vent several times to keep temperature below full fuse.  Allow kiln to cool completely.  Allow glass to cool completely. Your glass should be annealed (kept at a temperature for 20+ minutes so the glass is at its strongest, least likely to break or crack) if you didn’t open the kiln after you brought the temperature down to 1200 degrees F. If working in a studio, staff will most likely compute a sequence for the kiln.

6. Once completely cooled clean pieces with rubbing alcohol. Add pin back, earring posts, or pendant bails as you prefer.

Fusing is a great way to use small pieces of glass and a wonderful way to design pins, pendants, and other jewelry components for unique and personalized jewelry. Find a stained glass or glass studio in your local area for fusing classes.

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