I find nature to be very calming and hence decided to add a little nature to a few fused glass night lights. A night light is that little extra something that sits unobtrusively on the wall, and yet you see it regularly as you walk by both in daylight and in darkness. Why not enjoy a beautiful scene with glass and colors that sparkle and reflect the light and maybe you will smile and relax each time you see it.
These night lights are also a great beginner project for glass fusing as they are small and creative allowing that taste of creating glass art without being overwhelming.
I have made night lights using two layers of glass (each layer is 3mm) and also a single 3mm sheet of glass and I personally think the single layer looks better as it not so heavy. However, with a single layer of glass it is harder to get a variety of color and depth, so I decided to try using glass powder and glass frit to paint on the color and add depth. You can do the whole process in a single firing, however because I do not have a lot of experience with “glass painting” I decided to do it in two firings.
For the first firing, I started with a single piece of 3mm clear glass and added powder. My final night lights were going to feature a frog, hummingbird, rooster and stork, so for each character I needed to decide on the background. Were they flying in the air, sitting among the weeds, playing in the water and then which glass colors best exhibited this scene.
But let me back up a step. As I am not that familiar with powder colors once they are fired, I did a first step of creating some samples using clear glass and just laying strips of different blue and green powders, then firing so I would have this sample when trying to choose the sky and grass and water colors.
If you haven’t heard this mantra before, “if you think you have enough powder on your piece, add more!” remember it now. I didn’t use nearly enough on my samples, but it was enough for me to get the idea.
Now back to the night lights, after deciding what scene I wanted for each animal, I applied the different glass powders to create the background and then fired each piece to 1400 degrees F. I was glad I was doing a second firing because I didn’t follow the mantra above and did not have enough color. So before adding the animals to each sheet, I added some more powder to the background and in some cases I added some other sizes of frit to give the piece dimension. I then took the stencil of the animal and carefully laid it on the background and first added a layer of glass powder inside the template and then topped it with a layer of fine frit sometimes in the same color and sometimes in a different color. I then fired them a second time taking the kiln to only 1350 degrees as I wanted the top layer of frit to not completely fuse in.
Sometimes I curve the night lights with an additional firing on a stainless steel form and sometimes I decide I like them to remain flat which is what I decided for these nature night lights to better show off the animals.
The last step is to glue the night light metal backs to the glass using E6000 glue. 24 hours later I put the glass with the metal back (but not the plastic night light base or bulb) in the oven, heat the oven to 200 degrees and then let it cool to room temperature before removing the pieces. This helps the E6000 glue adhere better.
These night lights were that easy! If you are just getting started in glass or perhaps teaching some newbies, give this project a try.