Friday, November 8, 2013

Glass Notes - tack fuse

I had some tack fusing to do to stick some dots onto a background. I have only done this a few times and I decided not to go with the hotter temp at the last minute because you can't fix something that s melted too much and I just chickened out. I had notes on it but not enough experience.
The pieces are stuck but I wanted them to melt a bit more onto the background. I am trying to make some little Christmas buttons for the Glass Applique shop and dotty pendants to match my shirt fabrics.

These were done on:
ramp 1 - 200 rate, 600 temp, 30 mins hold
ramp 2 - 350 rate, 760 temp, 5 mins hold
ramp 3 - full rate, 500 temp, 15 mins hold
ramp 4 - 350 rate, 370 temp, 0 hold

I am concerned that 780 C will be a bit too hot but I don't know if 770 C will be hot enough. I have worked out from researching that the glass softens a lot between 760 and 780 and melts at 804. Does it melt at 800 too? So much experimenting left to do.

From my notebook:
Based on Bullseye tech notes.
A rate of 222 is conservative initial heating rate.
Need to heat to 540 C or 600 C and hold to make sure all the glass is over 454 C. Up to 454 C the glass can undergo thermal shock.

Ramp 1 -  200 rate, 600 temp, 30 min hold (bubble squeeze and temp equalising stage)
Ramp 2 - 350 rate, 760 or 780 or 800 temp, 5 or 10 min holds (forming stage)

The second ramp needs to be fairly rapid to take the glass through the crystal forming stage which starts at about  730 C but not so fast as to form bubbles.

After forming you need a rapid cool to prevent crystals forming.

Ramp 3 -  Full rate, 500, 15 mins hold (equalising temp)

The soak or hold time for ramp 3 depends on the size and thickness of the pieces. Pendants I will soak for 15 mins, a 2 layer coaster for 30 mins and a 3 layer coaster for 45 mins.

Larger pieces  like coasters need two more cooling steps. Slower rate of 220 down to 427 C  and hold for 10 mins (ramp 4) then a bit faster rate of 350 down to 370 C and 0 hold (ramp 5).

For pendants and buttons only one final cool.

Ramp 4 - 350 rate, 370 temp, 0 hold


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Product Update - a golden sun and a golden hopping kangaroo

It never ceases to amaze me how much detail can be achieved when cutting the glass. The latest additions to the shop are the golden sun with many curved points and the golden hopping kangaroo. Both these items are badge pins suitable as lapel brooches or summer scarf pins. They can also be used as features on various items like bags and purses.

We have priced these with only a small profit margin so they are quite affordable to give as gifts and buying two means free postage in Australia and half price postage overseas. They come presented in a black velvet gift box with a hinged lid.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Glass notes - making little squares

I spent quite a while making the squares I needed for the block I had chosen from my design book. I needed some distraction so I found a couple of cute animals to make.

The first is a cat face. I will paint the face on with black glass paint. The second is a bird. I will put little block dots on the eyes with glass paint. I have tried something similar with a dog face. With just one background layer of glass they are quite thin but will probably make good buttons or brooches to put in the Glass Applique shop. I plan to try to put some dangly legs on the bird. Will have to see how that goes. I will fire these two on a soft fuse. Maybe 760 for 5 mins. I am still deciding. I may go a bit hotter but I don't want them to shrink in too much.

The blocks I made are made up of 16 little squares. Since 3cm square is a good size I cut off a 3cm x 1.5 cm piece first,

then I cut that in half,
then I cut each little square into 4 smaller squares.

I am still struggling with colours. I have always had to work on getting my quilt colours right. It is just the same with the glass but even harder because they can change when they are fired.

This is what I settled on. I still have to wipe each piece and glue them to a background layer.

These two I will do on a full fuse 804 for 5 mins. I usually do 10 mins soak but I don't want the corners to round too much.

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Product Update - Little Letters and a Pineapple

I have made a pair of little letter earrings, a pin brooch and a pendant or charm.  The pale colour is close to the real look. It is called almond.

My partner is so good at cutting out the silhouettes. Every time he makes one I just want to have it. His latest is the pineapple. What a beauty!

Follow the blog to see new and matching items. The post title will start with 'Product Update'


Thursday, October 10, 2013

I love making things that match

I needed to do another trial with my almost full fuse. I made a cute wallet that needed a button and zipper pull so I tried to match up the colours in the fabric using the glass that I had. Even though the striker pink seems to match the red colour in the wallet I had a couple of other buttons with that pink and it didn't quite match. The only colours that came close were the yellow and orange. I so want to buy some more colours.

I am making up sample pieces for each colour.

I do love the way the yellow and orange look when fused. They are both opalescent and I put them on plain clear.

I clean each piece and lay it on a cardboard tray.
The glue the pieces to the base with Hotline warm glass adhesive.
I let it dry overnight.
I also had the urge to make a pendant and earrings to go with my new singlet top so I used my favourite blue and the striker pink, both transparent. I put them on a white base.

I will finish them off and wear them to the Brisbane craft and quilt show next week.

The firing schedule I used was one I used before but I think maybe it is not quite hot enough. I am trying to get as square a finish as possible for my quilt block items. Maybe I will just have to embrace the soft edge look. 780 and hold for 10 mins was not enough to make the layers meld together at the edges so it spoils the line of the pendant on the clear backing. The one on the white backing seemed fine.


  • Bullseye yellow O 0220 and orange O 0025 look great together
  • Bulleye blue T 1116 and striker pink T 1215 need yellow or green to set them off.
  • 780 hold for 10 mins fuses three layers with white base
  • 780 10 min hold doesn't fuse layers so well with plain clear base

Friday, August 30, 2013

Notes on soft fuse

The left hand items were all done on a soft fuse program that slowly ramped up to 780 and held for 10 mins.

I like the way the background square has squarer corners than the one I did on full fuse. The elements on the top right piece were soft fused at 768 for 5 mins. They are a bit too rounded so I am going to try 760 for 5 mins. Somewhere between 750 and 768 there must be a point where the glass softens. I will find it.

The blue and yellow block and the red pinwheel were formed on a full fuse. The blue and white block and the green pinwheel look pretty much the same done on the high soft fuse. The whites look different because they are different whites. The whiter one we can't get any more from our Canberra supplier.


The dog is done at 768 for 5 mins. So were the sheep elements and the letter with the stamp. I want all the elements to be a bit less rounded so similar items go in at 760 for 5 mins next time.

The finished sheep has a background made of a curved layer of white on a square layer of clear and fully fused. The one on the left I put clear triangles in the top corners and used a piece of white that I just cut the corners off. The clear triangles look like ears :(

The blank envelope I did on 780 for 10 mins. It gives a nice finish to the two layers. I will add the elements ( writing and stamp) and form at 760 for 5 mins. The one all done at 768 is pretty good though. I will try the complete envelope at 760. It is better to only have one step maybe.

A comparison between 768 and 750 with the dragon fly and the piece next to it. I want something in between these two.

The Cotten reel on the left is two layers on full fuse first. The reel on the right is three layers full fused first. Not much difference but the two layer brown is a bit darker. The stringers were done at 768 for 5 mins.

My next experiment will be similar items on the 780 fuse or the 760 fuse using nice whole numbers for the ramp rate and hold temps. I can't see the point of ramping at a rate of 139. Why not make it an even 150 or at least 140. I think it is because things are converted from Fahrenheit . I am only new to using the kiln but I think that 139 and 150 are both slow ramp rates. The original soft fuse has all sorts of odd numbers. The cooling step is 111 to 427. I think I can play with this to make it all nice round numbers.



Saturday, August 17, 2013

Working on methods

As well as experimenting with different fusing programs. I keep finding patterns I want to make that take a bit of thinking.

I really wanted to make some cotton reels but I couldn't work out a way to get the angles right for the spool and the background. I was playing around with another design when it struck me that I could draw a template with cutting lines, cut out 2 squares into the same shapes then mix and match them. Just like the stack and slash method for quilt blocks.

Here are some templates for cutting. The cardboard pieces are to trace around in my design book so I can make designs the right size. The one on the right is for the cotton reel.

The one on the left is for the wonky 9 patch. I made two in pink and purple. Nothing is fired yet. I need to make up enough pieces to fill the kiln.

We really wanted to make some transparent earrings and use plastic posts but when we put the posts on and tried to put the backs on they were pretty wobbly and the back nuts were difficult to get on. They have all gone in the give away pile. We won't be buying any more plastic earring backs or making transparent earrings. A shame, because they do look pretty.

I spent several days working on the card design to mount the earrings and pendants. It looks great and we have attached lots of earrings and some pendants and buttons. We have a business meeting most mornings at breakfast and I record all our ideas using the Inspiration app. I like using boxes and arrows rather than a simple list.

Here are some of the pendants ready to go.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Some tack fusing and new pendants

We are still trying out lots of things. Trouble is it takes a day and a night to see and touch the result. It is like we are moving in slow motion. I have tried some more complex patterns and trialled some tack fusing at 735 for 10 mins hold. It gives a smooth but crisp look.

Here are some bits and pieces waiting for the kiln. I got the idea for the dragonfly from Pinterest.

Here are some of the pendants I have been making.

I have been searching with lots of different search words to try to find quilt related pendants or jewellery. There is some mosaic sort of patchwork out there but nothing complex. I also found a gift shop in the US that sells several different simple block patterns but they look like he used his scrap glass to make them. They didn't seem very colourful.

We hope to buy the shopping cart software beginning of September and have our shop operating by middle of September. The website will be
It is all such fun :)


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

More experimentation

I was really pleased with the boat.

This was done on program 1 forming at 804 C. The stringer has doubled in width and the shapes have stayed fairly true.

The heart on top of the cover glass moved apart like continental drift. It would be better to put it on the cat with a glass paint outline perhaps. Where the pieces touch for the head and ears there was a distinct line left. I thought they would blend more like the lines between the blue and the yellow. The size is too big. 4 cm x 5cm. 3cm x 4cm might be OK.

The top row is program 1 (804). The bottom row is program 3 (825).
In the top row we like the red and white button and the crystal button. In the bottom row we like the green button and the eye. The stringers are 3 times wider and would probably look better at 804 C. The white glass square held it shape at 825 C. It seems much harder to melt than the other colours.

We have been making lots of 9 patch pendants to see which colours look best.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Making buttons

We seem to have a good firing schedule with a bubble squeeze, an equalizing step and after forming a fast cool and a slow cool before turning off to cool completely overnight. It is the same as the original program 1 but we turn off at 371 C.

We did another batch of buttons once we decided we liked them.

I have started making some designs to fit on small pieces without getting too small. Though my sailing boat was pretty tiny. It is 2cm square.

It is in the kiln now, cooling down. I am very excited that it seems to have kept all its details after fusing.

I made this cat using glue to hold it in place and some glassline paint for the face. I will fuse it tomorrow. I am experimenting with the heart on top of the overlay layer. I am hoping it won't cause too much distortion  on the vertical edges. The bit of extra volume in that one place may cause a bit of a bulge to the left and right of the heart.

Here are some drawings I made.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Dichroic Earrings

We love the dichroic earrings. Clear dichroic and dichroic on black both give wonderful affects with different coloured bases or tops.

We are wondering if they are meant to have a weird looking ring of foil around the edge. Even the black or dark ones have it but it is less noticeable. Today we tried a hotter firing to see if it had an effect.

We have been tossing around some ideas for using what we make. Sets of the 1cm buttons fit in the button holes of bought shirts so it would be nice to replace the plain buttons with coloured dichroic buttons.
We have been thinking about what shapes to cut out to put on buttons like applique and how we will apply them.
Earrings are the simplest option. We have ordered some clear plastic posts to go on the clear earrings. The steel posts showed through quite a bit.
We also bought the domain name and plan to set up an online shop. It is all quite a good adventure.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

More buttons test

This was done on program 1 full fuse.

Neville tried 3 layers of 2mm all one colour with the corners all skew. The plan was to make a circle but there were little bumps all around.

The dichro buttons had the corners ground off one set and the other three were just squares set square.

The little earrings had 3mm cover set skew. They did not turn out circular.

The black blob was a white base with 4 little black squares with a narrow space between them and a clear top. The black squares just melded together.

We plan to test the earrings with the 3mm top square on and the dichro ones as squares placed squarely and the top a bit bigger than the dichro base.

Test firing on contour fuse

Program 2 Contour fuse (in google docs)
Segment Rate C/HourTemp CHoldSee notes
113956630 minreduces bubbles
213967720 minequalizes temps
316772010 mins
4AFAP51060 minsanneal 1
511142710anneal 2
6167380cool down

Focusing was difficult but this black and white with stringers came out barely polished. The white still has point corners and the stringers are still quite round. Everything was stuck together well. It looks a bit like plastic. This was formed at 720 C for 10 mins.

Neville did some fine cat shapes and they held their shape well but got some devit on the cut edges and the layers were too separate to look good.

We plan to try forming at 750 C for 10 mins for another test.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Program 1 - Full Fuse

From page 21 Kiln Formed Glass

Segment Rate C/HourTemp CHold
122267730 min
233380410 min
3AFAP51630 mins

This program seems to work OK. The only changes we might make will be to add in some more segments.

Dichroic samples, buttons

Scrap dichroic 1.5cm square with a clear top. Offset squares did not make a nice circle. Probably a bit too big.
Program 1, full fuse

Scrap dichroic. 1.5cm square off set on a black base square. Maybe we got this upside down. The foil seems to be on top.
Program 1, full fuse

dichroic scraps cut in a 1.5 cm square layered on a black base. Maybe we got the dichroic upside down. The large squares off set did not make a circle.
Program 1, full fuse firing

scrap dichroic in 1.5cm square with clear top. Layered squarely.
Perhaps the top could overlap a bit more so the line around the edge does not happen.
Program 1, full fuse