Back to Back Issues Page
Issue #74 - Ruling Pen
October 01, 2014

Hot Out of the Kiln

September 2014

This has been an eventful beginning for fall.

I have been taking a few non-glass related classes through a junior college and learning some interesting processes.

One of the classes I am taking is watercolor painting.

Now you might be wondering how this even relates to glass fusing, but you never know what you might learn that can be adapted to fused glass.

Low and behold in watercolor, they use an instrument called a ruling pen.

This tool is used to apply masking fluid in areas of your painting that you want to remain white while adding color the other areas.

Of course, the first thing I thought was how wonderful this would be for applying paint to glass.

Most of us have used Glassline paints and everyone knows what a pain those bulky bottles can be and how the paint gets clogged in the thin needles.

I have also purchased the air-pen and still can’t seem to control the flow to achieve even lines and designs.

Even the enamel paints are hard to achieve an even flow through the tips.

Although the magic outlining pen or Kemper fluid writing pen does allow you to achieve an even line, you are limited to the two sizes available and the little funnel is hard to fill and only holds so much fluid.

In this issue, I am going to share a simple project I made using the ruling pen to paint on glass.

I have also been working on the Winter 2014 issue of the e-magazine and it should be available around the end of November.

The Fall 2014 Fused Glass Projects magazine is currently available on CD or downloadable from the website.

Until next month…keep it hot!


1. Feature Article

2. Quote of the Month

3. Glass Fusing Books and DVDs

4. Reader Question

5. Tips and Tricks

6. Share the Site

7. What's New

8. Product Review

Ruling Pen

A ruling pen is generally used to apply masking fluid to a watercolor painting, or writing with ink in calligraphy. It makes a fantastic tool for applying paint to glass in glass fusing.

Formerly these pens were used for mechanical illustrations in engineering and cartography, because of the ease of use and application, it also makes a fantastic tool for glass painting.

Any type of glass paint can be used for this project, including enamel paints.

Material List

  • Image
  • Clear Fusible Glass
  • Glass Cutter
  • Glass Cleaner or Soap and Water
  • Lint Free Towel
  • Ruling Pen
  • Paint
  • Paper Towel
  • Kiln
  • Select an image you would like to outline. I used a free graphic from one of my Dover books.

    Clean glass and dry with lint free towel.

    Place clear glass over image to be painted.

    I used a pre-mixed blue color from Unique Glass Colors.

    Adjust the ruling pen, depending on the size line you would like to draw.

    This can be done by screwing or unscrewing the tiny knob on the side of the instrument.

    Dip the pointed end of the ruling pen into the paint.

    If needed use a paper towel to remove any paint on the outside of the ruling pen.

    Turn the pen so that the slots are on the sides and both points of the pen are touching the glass.

    Gently place the pointed tip of the ruling pen on an area you would like to paint.

    The paint will flow from the ruling pen onto the glass.

    Trace the lines and refill the pen when needed.

    Allow the paint to dry before firing.

    This can be fired to a full fuse or tack fuse depending on the desired outcome.

    Anneal and bring to room temperature before opening the kiln lid.

    "Just because it didn't last forever, doesn't mean it wasn't worth your while."-- Author Unknown

    Have you been wanting to learn the hot craft of glass fusing, but don't know where to begin?

    Whether you enjoy watching movies to learn the techniques, or having a book to refer to as you learn, these learning tools will assist you in your progress.

    If you don't have access to glass fusing classes, or want to learn some of the techniques that are not generally taught at these instructional settings, look no further.

    I am trying to add new and exciting information all the time, and these learning materials are the newest items added to the site to help others learn glass fusing procedures.

    To view or purchase any of the DVDs, Books, E-books or Downloadable Movies, click here.

    TIP - If downloading any of the downloadable movies, keep in mind that they are very large files.

    If you purchase and want to download any of these large files, you might consider using a product like the Free Download Manager.

    It is a free product that needs to be downloaded and installed on your computer.

    It will increase the download speed and decrease the time required to download the product.



    Hi! I am firing 12 inch square bowls using system 96. Been using close to the same firing schedule (at least I think) for 12 years. On my square bowls, I used to get nice straight edges. Now I get saggy edges so that my square bowls almost look star shaped. Using same time frames as previous successful firings. Kiln temps appear to be same - can't figure out what's going on. I think temps are too high and soaking too long but I haven't changed the time frames and no noticeable temp differences in the kiln so it has me stumped. Any ideas?..



    What would you suggest to Danny? Write and let us know!

    Responses help others in finding answers to their fusing questions. Do you have any other suggestions or hints that would benefit other glass fusing explorers? Share your comments and suggestions with our readers. Thank you!

    High temperature wire, also known as Nichrome, comes in several different gauges. For hanging purposed don’t go any bigger than 18 gauge or smaller than 24 gauge..

    Clicking on the "Share this page" button at the bottom of your favorite pages will enable you to come back to your preferred pages and help others find interesting and exciting information.

    Please help share the site with others!


    Do you have an upcoming event or new product that you would like others to know about? Drop us a quick e-mail and once approved, it will be place in the next e-zine.


  • New Classes at Bullseye

  • Delphi Glass

  • New Fusing Supplies

  • Coatings by Sandberg

  • New Dichroic Glass Products

  • Slumpy”s

  • Slumpy’s What’s New

  • Ruling Pen

    A ruling pen holds paint or ink in a slot between two flexible metal jaws.

    These metal jaws are tapered to a point and the paint or ink is held in the empty slot.

    The width of the line can be adjusted by tightening or loosening the adjustment screw.

    The pen is held vertically with the gaps on either side so that both tips of the pen contact the glass at the same time.

    Dipping the pen into paint will allow the empty slot to fill with the liquid.

    Try not to overfill the empty area with paint as this can cause a faster flow of paint.

    Do not fill to the adjustment screw area as this can make clean up harder and could jam the mechanism.

    Make sure there is no paint on the outside of the metal jaws before beginning your project.

    These can be found on e-bay or on Amazon.

    Check the internet for the best pricing including shipping.

    The flow of the paint was easy to manage and did not tire out my hand like squeeze bottle paints.

    I achieved even controlled lines in my design.

    Clean-up was simple and quick.

    Just imagine the possibilities! You could paint pictures, sign your artwork, draw lines, do detailed work!

    For a video on using the ruling pen, click here.

    Feel free to spread the word about "Hot Out Of The Kiln" on your own blogs, Twitter, Facebook or any of your social bookmarking sites.

    And, thank you for signing up for the newsletter. If you know anyone else that might like to receive it please let them know. They can either visit the site and sign up, or send me an email at

    Comments? Ideas? Feedback? I would love to hear from you. Just reply to this e-zine and tell me what you think!

    See you next month…


    Back to Back Issues Page