Fused Glass Instructions

How to do Fused Glass

" Way to go, fused instructions!"

What are the basic fused glass instructions? Let me walk you through a simple firing.

First let me start by saying it is not possible to layout an exact firing schedule. So much depends on the type of glass, the individual kiln and the desired outcome. This page is just a very basic fusing suggestion, designed to help with an initial firing.

You should have already prepared your kiln and kiln shelf with kiln wash and run your kiln at least once without anything inside. This first firing will:

  • Allow the bricks and elements to burn off any residue.

  • Establish an oxide coating on the heating elements, which will protect the elements from any fumes and impurities released during any further firings.

  • Remove any excess moisture inside the kiln.

  • Loosen any dust or particles. Be sure to vacuum the inside of your kiln.

  • Allows a chance to become familiar with the controls on the kiln.

    All set? Let's begin the fused glass instructions. The first piece can be a little intimidating. But, take the bull by the horns and let's get cracking. Try the following procedure for a simple beginner piece.

    fused glass instructions, firing, fusing, fused glass

    Supplies needed:

  • Firing Log
  • Timer
  • Glass cutter
  • Glass cutting oil, odorless turpenoid or turpentine
  • Two or more pieces of compatible glass
  • Embellishments
  • Thinned Elmer's glue (thin with water)
  • Glass cleaner or soap and water
  • Kiln
  • Kin wash, shelf paper or fiber paper
  • Glasses with IR and UV protection

  • Directions

    The first piece should be simple to construct. You are not really looking for a masterpiece here, but to get the feel and experience of cutting your pieces, and using your kiln.

    Before you begin, be sure you have prepared all your items. Be sure you have a prepared kiln and kiln shelf. To read more on preparing the kiln for firing, read the page on preparing your kiln .

    Begin the fused glass instructions by cutting some glass. Glass can be cut into squares, or stack different designs and shapes. Try designing a simple design or pattern. Make a small piece for the first project.

    To cut your glass, first dip your cutter in some cutting oil. An old film canister filled with odorless turpenoid or turpentine works fine. This step is important in keeping your cutting blade sharp and running smoothly.

    Run the cutter across your glass to make a score. Use firm pressure. A clear even scratchy sound will be heard as the blade moves across the glass. Make only one straight score; don't go back over the line.

    Breaking the glass can be done by using a pair of breaking pliers or use your hands. When using the breaking pliers, place one hand over the pliers and glass to prevent any flying glass from shoot up towards the face.

    Clean all the pieces to remove any oil and particles. This is an essential part of the fused glass instructions. Fingerprints can leave marks on your finished piece that will show up after firing the item.

    Grab the pieces by the edge so that you don't put new prints on the clean pieces. Arrange these pieces in your desired design on the prepared shelf. Place the base piece or largest piece of glass on the shelf first, then add any decoration or other pieces.

    Use the thinned Elmer’s glue to hold the pieces in place. Don’t try to glue pieces in awkward positions. Glue will burn off before the pieces start to fuse, and the pieces might shift and fall out of place.

    Once the pieces are all arranged, close the lid. Make sure that the peep hole plug is in place and turn on the kiln. If the kiln has a kiln sitter, program it according to the instructions. If you have a pyrometer , you will need to watch the kiln and glass carefully.

    The target temperature for a full fuse is approximately 1450 degrees Fahrenheit. You can heat your kiln at about 500 degrees Fahrenheit per hour to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the procedure. If you are using a side fired kiln then slow the heating to about 400 degrees Fahrenheit per hour. Once you reach 1000 degrees Fahrenheit, give the piece a 10 minute soak. This just means to keep the piece at this temperature for about 10 minutes.

    Then increase the setting to high, because you can fire as fast as your kiln can go up to 1450 degrees Fahrenheit. This is if you want the piece fully fused. If you want to only tack fuse the piece, you should only bring it up to about 1350 degrees Fahrenheit.

    You want to get past the 1000 degrees Fahrenheit to 1300 degrees Fahrenheit range. This range is where your glass can devitrify.

    What is devitrifying? Devitrifying is when your glass becomes crystalline and brittle. The glass will have ugly white stuff on the surface. You can hold your piece at about 1175 degrees to help relax the glass and reduce the amount of bubbles that can be between layers. Now back to the fused glass instructions.

    The first time the kiln is fired, it will need to be perpetually supervised to detect what is materializing with the temperature and the glass. A few pyrometers are not adjusted correctly, and don't always give competent readings. So for the first few firings be sure to observe the pyrometer and glass to see if the readings are right. You might even need to adjust the reading on the pyrometer for future firings. Set a timer and check the piece every 10 to 15 minutes to see what is happening. Wear eye wear with IR and UV protection. Never leave an unattended kiln during this process. This is where the timer comes in handy!

    Once you reach the desired look, either hold the kiln at that temperature, or shut if off and unplug the kiln. Remember each kiln is different, so watch your piece and make notes of your process. Don’t allow it to remain at this temperature for to long, or you might lose the shape of your piece.

    Allow the kiln to cool down to about 950 degrees Fahrenheit, and hold it there for about 1 hour to anneal the piece. At this point, if the kiln has thick fire bricks and seems to cool slowly, you can turn off the kiln, unplug it and allow it to cool to room temperature. If the kiln is a ceramic fiber kiln, you should cool it down at a rate of no faster than about 300 degrees per hour. Any piece that is up to eight inches across and anywhere from two to three layers thick, you should allow about six to eight hours of cool down time. Always be sure to anneal your glass. If in doubt of the annealing process or times, do a shotgun annealing .

    Never take your glass out of the kiln until it has reached room temperature. Doing so could cause thermal shock and the piece could break. Allow the air inside the kiln to reach below 100 degrees Fahrenheit before opening the lid.

    An important part of these fused glass instructions...Always remember and make a habit of unplugging your kiln when not is use.

    If your piece is small enough, you can turn it into a piece of jewelry. Before you go and show off your first piece, be sure to sign and date the piece. Get in the habit of doing this with each piece you produce.

    I hope these fused glass instructions were not too complicate to follow and that you have achieved your first piece without any problems. Be sure to read the fused glass instructions a couple of times before attempting the first firing.

    For a list of some of the common glass fusing problems that are not listed in the fused glass instructions, click here.

    Return from this page to one of the following pages:

    Fusing and Slumping

    Fused Glass Instructions to Glass Fusing Made Easy

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