So you want to learn how to fuse glass? Well, then you've come to the right place. Fusing glass can be a fun and creative outlet for both the amateur and skilled artist alike. And since people have been doing it for centuries there is a lot of information out there on the subject. The following text will outline the materials you need to gather and steps you should take to get started.
First I would recommend taking a beginners glass class in your area. Besides the obvious advantage of the one on one instruction, it can also save you a lot of time and money. This is because you won't have to go out and buy a kiln, and supplies just to get started. Also this will let you dip your toes in the water and see if you even like fusing glass in the first place.
Second you will need to purchase and become aquainted with the right glass fusing tools. This article talks more in depth about the tools available in the field and there uses. If you didn't read it then here is a quick list of the tools it talked about.
- Pencil Grip Glass Cutter
- Pistol Grip Glass Cutter
- Grozing Plier
- Breaking Pliers
- Silberschnitt glass breaking pliers
- Glass Circle Cutter
Though when it comes to equipment listed above the most important tool you need to buy and become farmiliar with is the glass cutter. Once you've purchased a cutter you will need to learn how to cut fused glass. That page talks about the equipment you will need to score and break glass as well as information to do so correctly.
Now the one thing I can not stress enough when fusing glass is taking the proper safety precautions. First never eat or drink when working around glass. The tiniest fragment colud land on your food and cause you harm if ingested. Make sure to always wear safety glasses when working. If you work with glass powders then always wear a mask. Glass powder particles are easily stirred up into the air and are dangerous when inhailed.
The following instructions are on how to flat fuse warm glass in your kiln. This is a general outline and is for our custom made kiln. When fusing your own glass you should follow the manufacturers recommendations. For example, if you purchased Bullseye glass then you should follow their instructions on times and temperatures. You should also bear in mind that the thickness of the piece will also alter the steps you should take.
Flat (full) Fuse:
Remember this is for a reasonably sized piece. If you are fusing an elephant, the program will differ considerably!
Place object(s) in kiln. You want to raise the temperature slowly so not to crack you glass ergo:
Go up to 1000 degrees F in 2 hours.
Take another hour to raise the kiln temperature to 1450 degrees.
Stay at 1450 for 45 minutes (this is called soaking).
Then you want to drop the temperature as quickly as possible to avoid devitrification (ugly crystals that forms on the surface of your glass) so if you have a computer controlled kiln you would set it to go to 980 degrees in 1 minute. It can’t of course, but in trying you go down to 980 as quickly as possible.
If you don’t have a controller on your kiln, just crack it about an inch until it goes down to about 1020 and then close the kiln.
Soak therefore a half hour.
From then on it is just a game of gradual cooling.
Go to 875 (this can be as quickly as you want, at that temp 100 degrees should not make your glass crack BUT, at each step you have to give the glass time to adjust. Sp
Soak at 875 for a half hour
Go to 775
Soak for a half hour
Do you see a pattern here? Actually, you can just turn the kiln off after the 775 soak. It should achieve room temperature gradually enough on its own then.