Archive for February, 2018

I have been playing with paint on glass for many years. My first was a gift for someone with whom I worked for several years, but he was heading back to India, so I painted a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge using Glassline Paints. 

Fused Glass Plate with Glass Paints

But I always wanted to try more with paints. Then Bullseye started selling the Color Line paints and the samples I saw had such vivid colors I had to give it a try.

Even though I bought the paints, I hadn’t had time to play until a friend who is a watercolor painter asked if she could paint on glass to make some sun catchers as gifts. Since I am definitely not a painter, the deal was she would do the painting and I would do the firing.

Participating in several Facebook groups I had read that red colors could pose issues and had experienced this myself with different paint brands, and true to form, for her sun-catchers the red either faded or turned a slight grey color. I was quite disappointed, but she graciously said she liked them. So began my testing.

I figured the variables were kilns, fiber paper, and venting. I later learned that other paint colors was also a variable. On the small samples, what seemed to work best for me was my larger kiln perhaps because it has more oxygen which is a good thing for the red colors and no fiber paper just kiln wash.

During the holiday season, I decided to try my knowledge and paint some ornaments. I painted 5 of them, put them in the my larger kiln, vented it to 1000 degrees F, and hoped the red color would stay vibrant. On those ornaments that had larger areas of red, I was disappointed. For the wreath ornament where I added the red berries on top of the green, the red berries stayed very vibrant.  And on the ornament where I first painted green and then red on top, the red stayed as well.  But you can see in the picture how others faded.

Fused Glass Ornaments where Red Paint has Faded

To remedy my faded reds and using the fact that the red worked on top of the green, I used an orange color to paint where the red was, then when dry painted over the orange with red and fired again.  The red stayed put this time.

Fused Glass Ornaments showing Vibrant Red Color

Again my trusted advisor at Bullseye, Dustin, helped me by mentioning that other colors in the kiln also affect the reds and it is best to fuse red just by itself and to also make sure I do more than just venting and create an airflow. So I tried one more time with two pieces of glass again in the larger kiln with just kiln wash, vented to 1000 degrees and left the peepholes open to create an airflow, with just red paint, no other color.  Interesting enough, one piece worked and the other didn’t.  The one that did had a much denser coverage of red which perhaps is also a factor.

Red Paint before Firing in Kiln

Red Paint After Firing in Kiln

I am not sure if I have provided enough useful information here for you to be successful with red paints, but my goal was to offer you my experiments to help you if you are trying to use red paints to achieve some success.  I definitely plan to do more with paints and so will continue to learn about how to make reds and pinks and similar colors keep their rich beautiful colors.

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Here is another simple technique I learned, but oh so valuable.  I got this tip from Dustin Sherron at Bullseye Glass in Portland.  I always had a hard time breaking the full sheets of glass and getting the glass to break straight across.  Some glass artists suggested making sure the glass was at room temperature.  Some suggested always cut glass in half and then keep dividing, but what if I only wanted 8” and then perhaps I wanted something larger next time, but I already cut it down too small.  Others, indicated that you should break it over the edge of a table by leaning the scored line on the edge and pushing down.  I am quite sure all of these have value, but they still didn’t always make me successful.

Since I am not strong enough to try to lift the full sheet on the table, I cut my large sheets on the floor and then in the past I put a stack of cardboard sheets under the scored edge to break it by pushing on the cut edge.  I have had some success with this, but still have many non-clean breaks.

Last time I was at Bullseye in Portland, I was talking with Dustin and happened to mention I had a hard time cutting the larger sheets and he asked me how I was doing this.  I explained my cardboard trick and he said first it was too soft a material and second I needed to not just push but instead drop it against the hard edge.  I have tried this many times now and so far, all successes.

Here is my process (and sorry I use the floor, but you can adapt this to what works for you):

1.  I use the glass wrapping paper as a base on my floor mostly to catch any little bits of glass, but also protect the floor.  Then place your glass sheet on the paper.

2.  I use a carpenter square where the long side is perfect for the width of the full sheets to score the line I want.

3.  Then I place the glass on a piece of particle board or plywood (something with a hard straight edge) putting the score line on the edge of the wood and letting one end hang over the edge.

4.  Lift the side of the glass not on the board about 2 inches and then let it drop.  The glass breaks on the score line and falls onto the paper and I have a nice clean straight edge.

Breaking Full Sheets of Fused Glass

Breaking Full Sheets of Fused Glass

I have read that whites are one of the hardest to score clean and straight and it even worked with white!  Give it a try.

Thanks, Dustin!  I learn something new every time I visit Bullseye!  My favorite candy shop.  🙂

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Happy Valentine’s Day Cards

Sometimes you have to put something temporarily away to reduce frustration and perhaps later have success.  At Christmastime, I tried to make holiday cards using Christmas Ornaments and then adding them to the cards.  I bought red cards and envelopes at Michael’s and then some white card stock.  My goal was to use my Cricut to cut out everything like the holes on the front, print something on the front, print something on the inside card and then print on the back, Created by IdleCreativity.  Maybe it was the hecticness of the holidays but getting exactly what I wanted on the Cricut wasn’t working.  So I boxed everything up and put it away.

Two weeks ago, I realized Valentine’s Day was fast approaching and thought, perhaps I will try again.  This time, I decided to go simpler.  I used the red cards as I bought them with no writing, used a hole punch for the holes on the front, and used the Cricut to create the inside card.  Some inside cards I left blank, but others I added “Be Mine” and I cut a heart out on the opposite side.  I created a small card to add to the cellophane bag to indicate it was Created by IdleCreativity, the price and a message indicating to only send through the mail if it was placed in a padded envelope.  Much simpler project and it worked great.

They have flown off the shelf at the gallery where I sell them.  Give it a try!

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So many ideas and so little time.  I first must apologize that it has been so long since I posted anything new.  Life has definitely gotten in the way of both my blog and in some ways my creativity.  What keeps me going is trying new things for this blog.  While I haven’t had time lately to write-up my experiments, I have at least stashed ideas, tried new things and taken notes and pictures.

I am going to start this year with a short post but a very important concept and simply put, it involves clear powder between sheets of glass.  Sometimes you find a post where someone mentions for a certain piece that they sprinkled clear powder between two sheets of glass, but I am here to tell you that you should make this a standard practice if you want to have fewer bubbles.   I don’t have a lot of pictures showing you the difference, but for this most recent set of coasters pictured below, you can see the bubbles in the blue coasters where I forgot to use clear powder and very few in the clear irid ones where I did add the powder.

Backside of Irid Coasters Showing Bubbles

Clear Irid Coaster with few Bubbles

Blue Coaster with Bubbles

1) Often when fusing two opaque glass colors together, it seems like the finished piece has “lumps.”  Not sure the best way to describe it except as lumpy.  Since bubbles in glass are common, I assumed that these lumps were just part of fusing together opaque glass.  However, when I sprinkle clear powder on the base sheet before adding the second sheet on top, I eliminate these lumps.  So much nicer.

2) When fusing transparent glasses together, I could see the bubbles, some small, some large and wanted to eliminate as many as possible.  Again, it seems like this is acceptable, but often you really want a cleaner look.  Sprinkling powder between the sheets seems to eliminates all but the smallest bubbles.

How to do it?

1) Clean your bottom sheet of glass. 

2) I used a small lazy susan to elevate the glass so it is easier to then move to the kiln.  Using a sifter, sift just a small amount of powder across the surface.  It does not need to cover it, however I do make sure I get the edges.

I am not sure technically what is happening, but I believe that the clear powder is creating a small gap that allows the air to escape rather than getting trapped and causing bubbles.  Since you want the edges to be the last to fuse so more air can escape, I just make sure that the edges are powdered.

3) Clean your top sheet of glass and place it on top of the bottom sheet and start the kiln.

Very simple.  It adds an extra step and I do go through clear powder faster now, but definitely worth the effort!

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