I get asked a lot by non-glass making friends about basic glass layout. Recently I had this desire to make a ruffled plate, so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to explain two basic glass layouts and show off my ruffled plate.
Quick technical detail about fusing glass: When fusing glass, it naturally wants to fuse to 1/4″ (6mm) thick. The easiest then for a glass fuser is to layer 2 sheets of 1/8″ (3mm) thick glass together which will keep their shape and fuse together nicely. If you have less than 1/4″ (6mm) stacked when you fire, it will pull in slightly as it is trying to acquire its 1/4″ (6mm) thickness and conversely if you have 3 layers of glass equal to 3/8″ (9mm) thick, it will bow out slightly on the sides as it spreads to get to 1/4″ (6mm) thickness.
To get a straight edge on a plate, often you will lay your colored pieces down on the prepared kiln shelf and then place a sheet of clear on top making the clear about 1/8″ larger so that it overlaps the edges of the colors just slightly. Then when you take your glass to a full fuse, the clear will fuse down over the edges of the color and leave a nice straight and glossy edge.
Also having the clear on top gives a depth to the piece of glass.
If however, you want ruffles like I decided I wanted to try, you should lay your clear down first onto the prepared shelf. Then place your colored pieces on top and have them actually be slightly larger than the clear. When they fuse, they will fuse down over the edge of the clear piece and leave a nice glossy edge. But where each piece meets, it will come in slightly (since that overlap isn’t actually 1/4″ (6mm) thick at that point) and so you will have a slight ruffle (or indentation) where the two pieces meet.
By having the colors on top especially opaque colors, you don’t get the depth you might see with the clear on top, but I think you get more vividness to the specific opaque colors. See if you tell the difference! Click on the picture to make it bigger and show the ruffles better.