I’ve been fusing glass for about 5 years now and it’s a craft that is always fascinating. Glass fusing is basically layering several pieces of glass with the same COE and then fusing the pieces together in a kiln or heat source. The layers of glass create a new single piece of glass. You can then go on to slump the fused glass using a mold to create bowls, plates, and all kinds of art.
The process is time consuming. You must create a design or use a pattern. You need to cut the pieces of glass. Clean all the pieces to remove any oils or dust. You then layer your pieces onto a kiln shelf (that is either prepared with kiln wash to prevent sticking or with a piece of shelf paper). You then must fire or bake the glass in a kiln for a timed process. You can’t just super heat glass because it will shatter so you slowly ramp up the heat in the kiln until the glass melts and then slowly ramp the heat down. There are schedules prepared by the manufacturers of the glass to help you time the firing. Once fired, the glass must cool before you can continue. Fused pieces can take several hours or several days to create. The end result is worth it!
Diamond Tech has created a product kit that turns glass fusing into a very do-able, easy to understand process with its Fuseworks Beginner’s Fusing Kit. Imagine fusing glass in your microwave in minutes! I have to be very honest, I couldn’t believe fusing could be done so quickly, but all my doubts were gone after my first fusing with the kit and its mini Fuseworks Microwave Kiln!!!
You get a ton of stuff in the kit: an assortment of 90 COE glass, Dichroic bits and pieces (beautiful patterned glass), millefiori glass (small discs that have patterns like flowers and such), confetti glass (thin shards of glass), kiln paper, glass cutter, hot mitts, and jewelry findings (earring sets and bails), plus very well written instructions. You can make many fused jewelry pieces with the supplies included in the kit.
And it really is as easy as cutting your glass, laying down the kiln paper, stacking your glass, putting the top on the kiln, placing the kiln in your microwave and microwaving for a few minutes!!! I was thrilled with my pieces and I didn’t have to fire up my kiln… all I needed was my microwave. Your piece is even annealed during the 40-50 minute cool down.
A few words to know when fusing:
Anneal: this is a process where the glass becomes its strongest, all glass pieces should be annealed or there is a good chance of the glass cracking over time.
COE: Coeffcient of Expansion, this is usually given to you as a number: 90 COE, 104 COE. All glass has a COE number and you can only fuse glass pieces that have the same COE number. In other words you can’t mix a piece of glass with a 90 COE with a piece of glass with a 104 COE. Manufacturers will give you the COE of their glass.
Dichroic Glass: A glass with multiple micro-layers of metal oxides which give the glass optical properties.
Millefiori: A glass work technique where rods of patterned glass are formed and then cut into small discs.
Check out my next blog when guest blogger Jeanne Baruth goes into detail about using this new Fuseworks Microwave Kiln!