Pate de Verre

Pate de Verre became popular about a century ago, but actually began with the ancient Egyptians. When translated, it means “glass paste”. This process involves making a paste out of glass and a liquid binder or adhesive. Once the right texture is achieved, the mixture is placed inside a mold and then fired inside a kiln. It is a form of casting glass.

Because the glass is mixed with a liquid or adhesive it remains where placed inside the mold. This allows for the precise placement of various colors inside the mold. Normally the glass would shift during the firing process, but the adhesive keeps it in place.

pate de verre, glass paste, casting glass, glass powder

Traditionally glass powder or small frit is used to make the paste. Large pieces of glass or frit would not mix and hold as well as smaller pieces.

A mold is coated with several layers of kiln wash or release and allowed to dry. Then the paste is prepared for the process. If using powder for your paste be sure to wear a dust mask or use a respirator to prevent inhaling the tiny minute particles.

Special glues can be purchased to mix with the powder or frit. Some alternatives would be watered down white glue, Aloe Vera or gelatin that has been diluted with distilled water.

Apply the freshly mixed glass paste to the mold with either a palette knife or brush. The initial coating can be fired to a tack fuse or just allowed to air dry. Use a hair dryer to dry the paste faster. Once the first layer has dried a second layer can be added. The thickness of the two layers should be about 1/8 inch in depth. Be sure to pack the second layer down lightly. Repeat process until desired areas are filled.

Pate de Verre Firing Schedule

  • Heat kiln up at about 400 degrees Fahrenheit per hour to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit and hold for 15 minutes.
  • Ramp up the kiln at 100 degrees Fahrenheit per hour until it reaches 1200 degrees Fahrenheit. No hold at this point.
  • Ramp up the kiln at about 600 degrees per hour until it reaches 1635 degrees Fahrenheit and hold for 15 minutes.
  • Ramp down as fast as possible to 950 degrees Fahrenheit and hold for 30 minutes.
  • Bring down the piece at about 150 degrees Fahrenheit per hour to 750 degrees Fahrenheit and no hold.
  • Allow the piece to return to room temperature before opening kiln.

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