I can tell from my readers that Crackle glass is very popular, so I wanted to start by letting everyone know that there are two great online resources to learn more about making crackle glass. The first is an ebook from Lena Beckéus called, “Glass Fusing Design Techniques with Powders on Fiber Paper” available on Amazon and the second is a new ebook from Bob Leatherbarrow called, “Introduction to Kilnformed Glass Powders: Basic Crackle Texture, Micro and Backed Wafers” available on Bob’s website. They are both excellent reads with wonderful instructions and firing schedules.
Since I started to try to figure out crackle before either of these books was available, my technique is a modified version of both as I wasn’t measuring my powder thickness or worrying about depth of color. However, I have come to love my method. After reading Lena’s book, I wanted to try something different and explore the options. I had always before sifted the powder onto the fiber, and then covered the powder with a sheet of glass before firing. This method truly makes the piece look like the glass has cracked.
After reading Lena’s book and also getting feedback from readers of this blog, I wanted to explore creating crackle where the first firing is done without adding the piece of sheet glass and then adding that glass later. I also decided to see if I could make my “crackles” be larger or smaller by modifying the thickness of powder I put down. Time to make test samples.
For the samples, I put the powder on the fiber, sprayed with water and moved the fiber like I normally do. I then fired the powder to my normal 1410 degrees F (the book suggests higher, but I stuck with what I know).
After the first firing, I added powder in a different color to fill in between the cracks, added a sheet of clear on top and re-fired to 1450 degrees F.
I discovered that the thicker the depth of powder, I ended up with more crackles closer together. The thinner the depth of powder, the more the powder tied to pull in and hence fewer larger crackles. You can also see that the crackle now looks like round blobs rather than “cracked” glass.
Last, Bob’s book has a section on powder wafers that I decided to try. Following his instructions, I created the dragonfly and sailboat powder wafers. I read the caution that sometimes with darker colors of crackle glass, the background shows through the lighter powder sample, but I decided to go for it anyway with the sailboat. If I left this sample on a table (as in the picture), the sailboat shows okay, but using it as a night light, the sailboat does not show up well when backlit. Something to think about next time. I am also not sure I quite got the right process for attaching the powder wafer to the night light base as even though I added the wetted powder to the back of the wafer, I still have curled edges of the wafer, but I am okay with this look.
Interesting how you can get different looks by just varying the powder or adding decor. If you love crackle fused glass, I strongly encourage you to get either or both of the two books mentioned at the beginning as they are a wonderful resource with lots of suggestions and options to try.