Draping

Draping takes time and patience. You can use a round piece of glass, a square shape, or any shape you desire. What ever look you are going for will determine the shape of the glass.

This method makes an amazing decorative fused glass art piece. This is similar to glass slumping, but instead of folding into a mold, the glass melts and slumps around the outside of an object.

To find out what size of glass to use for your particular mold, set the mold open side down on the shelf and measure up one side, across the top and down the other side. This represents the maximum dimension of the glass. You can make it longer, if you want it to touch the shelf when it is slumped. Your diagonal measurement should not exceed this amount and if using a circle, your diameter should not exceed this amount.

To achieve a uniform drape, it does require that the glass is evenly heated. To achieve this uniform heating, slow down the ramp up time. Allow all of the glass to slowly reach an even temperature. This is especially important if the glass is only an inch from the heating elements.

Please note:

Using a stainless steel mold is best when trying this method. Although the picture clearly shows a ceramic mold being used, the clay will contract less than the glass as it cools and can trap, crack or even break the glass. If you are using a clay mold or ceramic floral former, use fiber paper and not thinfire between the glass and the kiln washed mold. Thinfire will not provide enough of a buffer to keep the glass from sticking. Do not allow the piece to slump all the way down tight to the mold. If you do happen to have a piece that has adhered to the mold, try to prop the piece upside down inside the kiln. Heat up the glass enough so that it will come lose and fall off. Hopefully it will come lose before it changes shape and you have lost your design.

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draping, thermal shock, fused glass art, glass slumping

Glass is most likely to break due to thermal shock between 500 F and 700F. The internal pressures are beginning to build up because of the increased molecular motion caused by the heat.

Anywhere tension is building up can cause the glass to fracture. This is called thermal shock.

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When you are trying to slump a piece of glass over an object, some of the glass is resting on the mold or form, while other parts are suspended in air.

By using a method where you go slowly through the ramp time, will help to avoid this tension from building.

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Start by cleaning your glass, and putting your form and glass into the kiln. Take the glass up slowly to about 500 degrees Fahrenheit and then soaking for about 20 minutes. Now increase your heat and move up slowly to 700 degrees Fahrenheit and soak again for 20 minutes. Then slowly increase your heat up 1020 degrees Fahrenheit and soaking for 20 minutes. Finally heat your glass up to about 1350 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Start peeking at your piece when it is around 1200 degrees Fahrenheit. Viewing the glass during this time period is extremely important. Glass will begin to move at around this temperature. Lift the lid just enough so that you can see your piece. Wear your safety glasses whenever looking inside the kiln while it is hot. Keep looking at your piece every ten minutes. You decide when your piece has draped enough for your liking.

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When your piece has draped enough and you like the look of the piece, open the lid and allow the kiln to cool down to 1100 degrees Fahrenheit. Then follow the anneal instructions. Once your kiln reaches 500 degrees Fahrenheit, you can turn it off and allow it to cool down by itself.

Once your piece is cooled, it might be a little tight to remove. Running it under a little water and twisting the piece seems to loosen it enough for it to be removed from the mold.






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