Drop Ring Mold

How to do drop vases made in glass kiln? To do this process, you will need a drop ring mold. You can purchase one made out of vitreous clay or make one out of fiberboard. This procedure requires patience and carefully watching the piece during firing.

If you have purchased a clay mold for this drop ring procedure, you will need to prepare it with kiln wash. Coat the piece thoroughly, being sure to get around all the edges. Allow the wash to dry before proceeding. You can speed up the drying time by either putting your mold in the oven at about 500 degrees Fahrenheit, or using a blow dryer. I used a blow dryer for this mold.

drop ring

Cut two circles of glass just a tad bit shorter than the outside of your mold. If you make your glass much smaller than the outside of the mold, it might fuse unevenly.

When heating the glass, the inside will begin to slump down. If the rim is too small, the glass that is drooping inside the center of the ring will start to pull the outside rim down with it. So, it is important to cut your glass just a little smaller than the outside rim of your mold.

Fuse these two pieces together ahead of time if you like, but it is not necessary. Adorn your glass with pieces of frit, stringer, confetti, or scrap glass. Design a pattern that is appealing to you. Because of the long soak time involved with this procedure, it is advised to apply a devit spray to the glass.

Place all of the glass on top of your mold, making sure it is centered. Place your mold on kiln posts inside of your kiln.

The kiln posts will determine the height of your finished product. Taller posts will produce a longer vase; with shorter posts it will be a bowl shape.

Place your project so that you can observe your glass through your peep hole. You will be looking through the peep hole during the final stages, so be sure you can observe the entire project through the peep hole.

You can tack fuse and slump in one firing. Heat your kiln up at about 500 degrees Fahrenheit per hour to about 1200 degrees Fahrenheit. Remember the faster you go, the less control you will have with your glass.

Hold or soak for about thirty minutes at this temperature. This will tack fuse the adornments to the glass and allow the glass to equally reach the same temperature. Now raise your temperature up slowly to about 1330 degrees and carefully watch the glass.

It will start to sag through the hole in the mold. This slumping process will go pretty fast, so keep watching the glass through the peep hole. Once it melts to the shelf below and has an even flat base, you can start cooling off your piece.

Flash vent the piece to about 1100 degrees Fahrenheit to stop the sagging process. Now anneal and finally cool the piece.

Drop ring molds don't have to have a round opening. Try using some Kaiser Lee Boards and make your opening rectangular. You are only limited by your imagination on the effects you can produce using this method.

Depending on the size of the kiln posts you use to support the drop ring mold will determine the end product. If you use taller kiln posts, you will end up with a fused glass vase. Using shorter kiln posts will give you more of a bowl shape.

Slippage off a homemade mold can become a problem. Try using a commercial mold that has a very slight bevel. Using a beveled edge will help eliminate this dilemma. This will help, especially if you are desiring a narrower rim.

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