I recently was asked to make a picture frame for someone’s parent’s 50th Anniversary. (Congrats to the wonderful couple!) The only requirement was to use gold in the design. I decided to use both black glass with gold iridescence from Bullseye as well as gold mica powder.
True to any project I do, I learn a lot and usually have to do things twice before I am happy. I started by making the corners of the frame. I cut templates for the 50th, Hearts and Wedding Bells out of cardboard and taped them to 2 inch squares of black glass. Then I lightly brushed on a glass glue and sifted the mica onto the glue. After they dried, I removed the cardboard templates. Some spots were well, “spotty”, so I mixed some mica with the glue and used a paint brush to touch things up.
In order to remove extraneous mica powder I used Q-tips and water and basically cleaned up the edges of my design and removed excess mica that had fallen anywhere on the black glass it didn’t belong. I then fired the squares to 1275 degrees F. I guess I didn’t examine them carefully enough as they looked fine at a quick glance, and in general the squares looked good although the mica was somewhat muted. Since my client said her parents were not flashy, muted was fine.
I put all the remaining pieces together for the frame (clear as the base, black glass on top with strips of the black gold iridescence) and fired it to a full fuse. Unfortunately, the corners ended up with streaks of a haze basically where I had done the cleaning. In hindsight I realized that I should not have used tap water (or in my case lake water) to do the cleaning as who knows what chemicals are in the water. So what to do.
I decided to sandblast the frame and of course, since the mica only sticks to the glass it touches and it is really only on the surface, the mica disappeared. Therefore after sandblasting and religiously cleaning the frame, I reapplied the corner designs. This time though I just used a paintbrush rather than sifting to apply the mica and did my clean up of the excess mica powder with Bullseye’s Spartan glass cleaner.
I re-fired to an almost full fuse. The mica corners are actually vibrant where before they had been muted. If I had to guess it is because mica got down into the tiny holes of the sandblasted glass and so there was more mica remaining after the fuse to sparkle.
- For a more vibrant Mica look, apply the mica to sandblasted glass.
- Use distilled water or glass cleaner for the mica clean-up step.
In the end, it turned out very well and I hope her parent’s really love the frame!