Right I have been meaning to put up some how to sections so this is the first of hopefully many J
Basic tools, glass cutter, set quare, running pliers and grozing pliers
Safety warning first! Glass is sharp! You will most likely cut yourself, don’t be silly! Be very very careful and always wear goggles when cutting glass! All glass should be the same coefficient of expansion COE for fusing.
Each of my glass pendants begins life as a sheet of glass about 30cm x 15cm. I’m working in my kitchen so to protect my table I place the glass inside a shallow cardboard box (actually the lid of an old get set kit) this also means that the majority of the little slivers of glass that will break off, end up in the box not all over my floor. I always wear shoes and goggles and Hoover the entire room straight after I finish glass cutting, and often several times during!
To cut glass use a glass cutter (obviously) in a standing position, it’s your shoulder that does most of the work, the score needs to be made in one movement, if cutting straight lines use the edge of a ruler and make a definite score. Practice with some cheap glass first till you get used to how much pressure to use. The pressure with different glasses will vary, but you get a feel for it, some glass is easy to cut some shatters nearly every time! For a great how to check out
Once you have scored it use the end of your cutter to tap (gently) the underside of the score mark, or use a running pliers for straight lines. With dichroic glass I always score on the black side not the shiny side so that I don’t damage the actual finish of the glass and I always use a a running pliers to snap the piece off.
Each pendant is going to need two pieces of glass at least, of the same size, at least one of which will be transparent. Remember that the cutting is done by the little wheel in the middle of the glass cutter not at the side, and it really is easier to cut the correct size the first time. Trying to slice off just a little piece will be very difficult and require a grozing pliers a lot of broken glass and probably cut fingers.
Once you have cut your glass into the desired shape and size, it needs to be cleaned. I use a mixture of water and vinegar, about 50/50, just the normal stuff you put on your chips, and clean it off with some kitchen towel making sure it’s dry. Be careful with any cuts on your hand and the vinegar, it’s very very easy to cut yourself with the glass, it is sharp! And the vinegar will sting like crazy!
Now it’s time to draw!
I design my pictures on my comp or a sketch on a piece of paper first, then place my transparent glass over the drawing, with as steady a hand as you can manage trace the image with glassline paints. You can use a paintbrush or the tips. Let it dry, don’t put it in the kiln wet and don’t smudge the picture with the other piece of glass.
Once the picture is dry place it with the image down on top of the base piece of glass, how exactly they line up will make a huge difference, make it symmetrical! Here are a few examples of different effects depending on if the two pieces were the same size or one was slightly bigger than the other. I quite often will wait until I have drawn the picture to cut the base glass, maybe the picture would better suit a silver of a green background, maybe it should have a dichroic border or not?
Then it’s kiln time! Very gently place the shelf into the kiln trying not to move the objects and use a full fuse schedule, I’m not going to try tell you what to do here, it really depends on your kiln. Don’t forget to use shelf wash or thin fire paper.
About 800 degrees
In my case this takes about 7 hours before I can turn off the kiln and another 4-5 hours before I can actually touch anything! This is not a quick project!
Once it’s all cooled, have a look! This is my favourite part! Sometimes they are perfect, more often there will be rough edges and the pieces will require a second firing, if you have used a smaller top piece over a background dichroic piece you may have to use a corundum stone to file off rough edges.
Finished and ready to take out
These corners will need to be filed
You can see the dichroic border where the top glass was a little smaller then the bottom, a nice effect I think.
Once you’re happy with the piece, it’s time to attach the bail. I only use sterling silver, but you can get cheaper silver plated or gold plated bails if you want, that’s really your call.
To attach the bail I first roughen the area to be attached on both the glass and the bail, I use a drill attachment for this I then clean them with nail varnish remover, and mix the epoxy, you have about 5mins to work with this stuff and by the way it stinks! Make sure to hold the pieces together well or they will pull apart after the glue sets.
Leave them for a few days, then clean them up with a craft knife and some nail varnish remover and finally you have a wonderful wearable piece of jewellery!
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