Posts Tagged ‘Stainless Steel’

Glass and metal are next in my combining glass series.

Fused Glass on Stainless Steel Wall Art

Fused Glass on Stainless Steel Wall Art

I was recently at a metal supply store in Portland and bought a couple of scrap pieces of stainless steel.  To make my first attempt easy, I started with the smaller piece so I didn’t have to figure out how best to cut the metal.  I made my glass piece 2’ shorter than the metal on all sides.  That was the easy part.

I knew I needed to do something with the stainless steel to make it look nice. While in general stainless steel has a nice finish, it had scratches and smudge marks.  First I sanded it to remove the scratches.  Then I used an angle grinder and started playing with flap discs of various grits trying to add an artsy finish to the stainless steel.  I still wasn’t happy with my results and so my husband suggested I try a wire brush on the angle grinder and I liked the results when I stopped trying to make things perfect and just went for truly artsy.

I had grappled for weeks with how I was going to hang the finished piece.  If I hadn’t already made the glass piece the perfect size, my husband suggested we take the top edge and fold it over forming a C and then put a hole in that which then one could use to fasten to the wall.  Maybe for a future piece.  For this one, I finally decided to cut a piece of wood about the same size as the glass, paint it black, add a keyhole with the router for hanging with a screw and then attach it to the backside of the metal.

You can see a trend in my trying to get this done.  I solve one problem only to think of another.  Now how to glue the pieces together.  I looked at epoxies, silicone, liquid nails and VHB (very high bond) tapes.  If I held the glass up to the metal, I could see that the metal was not completely flat, and I was concerned in getting everything to hold together well.  I decided I needed a little bit of a give in the attachment.  I have a silicone that is made specifically for attaching metal to wood and glass (http://www.caulkyourhome.com/ge-silicone-II-aluminum-and-metal.php) and have used on plant stakes with success so decided to go with silicone.

Side view of Glass, Metal and Wood after Attaching

Side view of Glass, Metal and Wood after Attaching

The day after I attached everything together, my husband woke up remembering that different kinds of metals can react with each other and cause what is called a galvanic reaction potentially making the stainless steel rust.  This would not be a problem if the wire brush I had used had only been used on stainless steel, but alas it had not and since it was putting small tiny scratches in the surface of my metal, it could also leave other metal pieces behind from previous uses.  Hmm, I was definitely not going to sell this piece to anyone then.  I decided to hang it in my bathroom where there is the most moisture and see if over time, it did indeed develop rust.

Next dilemma, since this might only be a temporary hang in the bathroom, I didn’t want to put a screw in the wall and would rather use a picture hanger which would only be a tiny hole in the wall.  I bent the picture hangar and chiseled some wood out of the back piece trying to make the hangar fit snug in my keyhole and have the piece lie nicely on the wall, but in the end I was concerned that it was not sturdy enough and might fall on the counter.  I fell back to traditional picture hanging and attached screw eyes into the wood back, added picture wire between them and now it is hung quite sturdily.   The good part of this whole process is that it made me realize that a customer may not want to put a screw in their wall either and so perhaps my keyhole solution was not the right choice even though it is a really sturdy option.

Back of Piece for Hanging

Back of Piece for Hanging

The lessons learned on this project are numerous and I think many still to come, but I really want to do more of these.

1.  This probably goes without saying, but think about the whole process before getting started and figure out how you are going to solve each issue.  I still consider finding the right way to hang it my biggest issue and want to try the metal bending method with my next piece.

2.  Silicone moves a lot for a few minutes after applying and attaching so perhaps next time I will try VHB with the goal of having each piece stick exactly where I place it the first time.

3.  I had tried to attach the front (glass) and back (wood) to the metal in one step and then use clamps to hold them together hoping this would make it easier to get all pieces to hold together flat.  However, I had a really hard time with the silicone still moving a little to get everything lined up and stuck where I wanted it and didn’t really succeed.  Next time, I will attach them in two steps.

4.  Understand your materials and tools meaning if I am going to continue to use stainless steel, I guess I need to purchase new grinder attachments that are labeled only for use on stainless steel.

If any of my readers have suggestions for how to hang which would be appealing to most customers, I would love to hear from you.  Thanks!


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Fused Glass Holiday Ornament

Fused Glass Holiday Ornament

I mentioned in my article on using stainless steel with fused glass (https://idlecreativity.wordpress.com/2015/11/01/stainless-steel-great-for-fusing-glass/) that I wanted to try using chalk to create holes as I had seen others talking about this. I decided to use a stainless steel cookie cutter for my test.

Similar to before, I put my cookie cutter on a prepared kiln shelf, cut Bullseye Thin Fire shelf paper into thin strips to line the cookie cutter and then cut small pieces of glass layering them inside the cutter.  I wish I could tell you how to calculate the exact amount of glass to fill out your mold, but I can’t.  What works for me is to do two layers of colored and clear glass and then add a third level of all clear glass on the top.

I wasn’t too concerned about the exact shape and hence I wasn’t worried that my shelf paper did not fit snugly into the corners. If you want your glass to be the exact shape, spend time to make it fit and perhaps even use some white glue to attach the paper to the cookie cutter.

Mold Set-up Using Chalk to Create Hole

Mold Set-up Using Chalk to Create Hole

I borrowed a piece of chalk from my husband and since I had the best of intentions to return it, I actually used the whole length. In hindsight, after fusing it became pretty brittle and broke off, so I highly recommend that you cut the chalk to a little higher than the depth of your piece and then you can use the remainder piece another time.  Also, make sure you line the chalk with fiber paper so the glass doesn’t stick to the chalk.

Fused Glass Ornament After Firing

Fused Glass Ornament After Firing

I fired this to a full fire at 1460 degrees F and the chalk came out quite easily. Well, it sort of disintegrated so hold it over a trash can!

Happy Holidays!

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Recently my husband was placing an eBay order for some electronic components from China and noticed if he got to a certain amount, he got a discount. He looked to see what else was available on their store and noticed some stainless steel cookie cutters. He is always on the lookout for stainless steel for me as it works so well with kilns.  They were three small different size circles and were just a couple of dollars for all three.  Awesome!

It was hard to be completely confident that they really were 100% stainless steel, so when they arrived I fired one to 1400 degrees F to see if is flaked and it came out the same as it went in with a little less shine to the metal. Now ready to test with glass.

I decided to use each of the three rings differently. First I lined each ring with Bullseye Thin Fire. And yes, if you look closely at the picture you will notice I had the wrong side facing the glass. I was surprised, but it didn’t seem to matter.

I had made some pattern bars with one color being steel blue opalescent and I wanted to see how the pattern bar would melt, so I added one rectangular slice of the pattern bar to one of the rings. For the second ring I nipped some rods into 3/8″ pieces and set them on end with pieces of clear Tekta on top. The third ring was comprised of pieces of Tekta mixed with green and red confetti and green, red and white stringers and some small pieces of dichroic course frit for effect.

Stainless Steel Rings with Glass Before Firing

Stainless Steel Rings with Glass Before Firing

  • The glass in the smallest ring flowed all the way to the ring and came out very nice and for the purposes of testing how to use the ring worked out quite well. After some smoothing of the edges, fire polishing and a bail, it will be ready to be worn as a necklace.
  • The second mostly filled out the ring, but I wish I had added more color and covered the dichroic pieces with Tekta as they didn’t flow as well.
  • The pattern bar melt did not fill out the largest ring, but it was still a good way to contain the glass melt.
Glass after Firing in the Stainless Steel Rings

Glass after Firing in the Stainless Steel Rings

Since I have a very hard time getting circles for jewelry and wine stoppers to end up both the right size and a perfect circle, I think finding stainless steel circles the right size is the best way to go.

Over the years I have bought shaped cookie cutters and was planning to use them as templates to contain frit and then remove them before firing. However, now I that I know these circles work so well, I might give them a try for say Christmas ornaments. If you do give this a try, make sure you test your cutters first to ensure they are really stainless steel.

As a side note, I have read that using chalk with thin fire around it works well to create holes in glass, so I think a Holiday shaped cutter with chalk will be a great next test and will make a nice ornament.  Stay tuned for the results of my tests!

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I love wandering through kitchen stores looking for stainless steel items I might use as molds for my glass.  Last week, I was in Bed Bath and Beyond and came across a large spoon rest and thought – maybe!  $20 bucks and it was mine to give it a try.

Stainless Steel Spoon Rest (picture taken after being in kiln hence why darkened)

I don’t usually make something where the base is not a square or a circle, so it took me awhile to cut out (using many different tools!) both a clear base and the individual stripes.  I eventually got the pieces to all work out and fused it flat.

I then had to decide whether to fuse into the spoon rest or over the back of it and decided I would probably have the best luck over the back of it.  I had also made my fused glass spoon base larger than the mold which reinforced my decision to fuse over the mold.  If I fused into the mold and the overhang ended up fusing outside the mold, I may not be able to get the slumped glass off the stainless steel mold and this would not be good – both ruined glass and maybe ruined mold.

I also debated on how to prepare the mold.  You can use boron nitride but sometimes on stainless steel it sticks to my glass and leaves a cloudy residue.  I could use kiln paper which I sometimes do on vases.  Or I could use kiln wash but this takes extra time because you have to heat the mold to 500 degrees then carefully remove from the kiln and add kiln wash; then put back in to the kiln and reheat to 500 degrees and remove and add kiln wash.  Typically this takes me like 3-4 cycles to get all the stainless steel covered with the kiln wash.  In my opinion, kiln wash is the best for stainless steel, however for this first attempt, I decided to be lazy and careful and so I used the boron nitrate and the kiln paper.

It slumped nicely at 1235 degrees F.  Where the kiln paper wrinkled at the corners left dents in the final glass piece, but overall a nice and useful spoon rest.

Completed Fused Glass Spoon Rest

And another picture!

Fused Glass Spoon Rest in Use

For my next attempt, I decided to just use the boron nitride (and not the shelf paper) and to use a single layer of glass (3mm rather than 6mm) to see if this was sturdy enough for real use as a spoon rest.  The base was clear glass with glass confetti* to give it some color.

Since it was a single layer, I took the kiln only to 1220 degrees F for the slump and it was perfect.  I can’t decide if I like the bulk and solidness of the 6mm glass for a spoon rest or the more dainty and subtle 3mm version, but both are functional and would make a nice addition to the kitchen!

Second Fused Glass Spoon Rest

* Confetti Definition:  Small, thin pieces of glass.

NOTE:  I noticed another blogger offering a disclaimer that she is just sharing information that she may have found other places and I decided this is a great disclaimer as it is true for me as well.  So I will be adding something like the following to all of my posts.

I learn much of what I know from reading other website and blogs and hence, I haven’t really invented anything new here.  But I am sharing what I found to work and not work.  If you have found other ways to do something similar to this, please share! 

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I finally got around to using my Grill Pan to do a pot melt or some might call it a mesh melt.  I had to cut a kiln shelf down so I had some sides to bound the glass and prepare the grill pan by washing it to remove any oils.    I also put fiber paper on the shelf and sides to prevent sticking.  Check out the set up.

Grill Pan Set Up Before Firing

I also found a pot melt calculator on the net and used it to estimate the amount of glass (I used 470 grams).   Because you have to go to a higher temperature (1550 degrees F in my kiln) and take it very slowly, this took almost 2 days in my kiln rather than the one day of most pieces.  This is a painful process for me as I can never wait to see what I am going to get!   I pulled the piece out this morning and check it out!

Grill Pan Melt

This is a very different effect than if you did a plain pot melt as with flower pot melts where the glass is streaming out of a hole (or several depending on the pot) you get a few areas of circular action rather than drops all over.  Very cool and different.  Now to figure out what to do with this!


1.  I think I had too little glass and later found some weights for screen melts on the Delphi website and think I could have tried more glass to get a larger piece.

2.  Some say not to use the fiber cloth on the shelf because it leaves a very rough edge on the bottom.  But I have tried several pot melts without this and they stuck to the shelf so badly that the shelf was ruined.  I think because the kiln shelf heats off before the glass ever gets to touch it.   I also tried at my husband’s suggestion a sheet of clear glass on the shelf and this worked to not stick, but left me with a very chunky piece.  I have now learned the value of the 2mm Bullseye thin sheets for other projects and so I think that might be worth a try to use this on the shelf.

3.  I also read somewhere that some stainless steels will flake and so you should preheat your metal before using with the glass to find out.  These grill pans don’t flake, but I use some stainless steel rods to hold the pots or grill pans up and these do so I just have to make sure they are well away from where the glass will fall.

4.  Once you use a pot or grill pan or whatever for your melt, there will be some residual glass left on the pan.  This means that if you want to use that pan again, you have already chosen a color scheme to use.  For this one, I chose black, white and a little yellow and assumed that next time, I could then introduce another color but still use the same pan.

5.  Last note, dark colors tend to take over, so use them sparingly.  I think I used a little too much black in the above.  If I ever figure out a ratio, I will let you all know.

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I have a new obsession – yes, I know I have lots.  Finding objects that I can use in my kiln with glass.  Whether I am shopping at a flea market, craft store, cooking store or even Ikea, I am looking for objects that can be used to create interesting effects.  Ceramic and stainless steel are the best possibilities as you don’t have to worry about whether they can take the high temperatures.  Otherwise I need to do some testing first before I use it with glass.

My husband (yes he feeds my obsession) found recently some stainless steel straws.  My first test was to lay the primed* straws on the kiln shelf and then put a piece of glass on top.  I fused to a full fuse and here is the result!  It needed a little cold-working along the edges and still needs to be slumped, but it didn’t stick to the straws and has a nice and different effect.  Think of the possibilities!

Fused Glass Slumped Over Stainless Steel Straws

Another find is a stainless steel grill pan.

Stainless Steel Grill Pan used as Mold

I thought this may make an interesting pattern on glass and decided to try a coaster and a spoon rest because the indentations could catch any dripped fluids.  Check it out.

Coaster and Spoon Rest Fused onto Stainless Steel Grill

What’s next?   To try a stainless steel grill pan for a pot melt.  Normally you would use a ceramic pot or flower pot with holes in the bottom filling with glass pieces to melt through the hole.  Also, they sell steel mesh which you can melt glass through, which is similar in concept just with a lot more holes.   Why I am writing about this when I haven’t tried it yet?  Because it has been on my list to try for way too long and I am hoping by putting it out there, I will make it happen soon!  Stay tuned.

*User Notes:  Always make sure you prepare your stainless steel with some kind of kiln wash.  I use MR-97 for my casting molds.  However, for slumping molds and stainless steel, Hotline Primo Primer kiln wash is my favorite.  The downside is that for the stainless steel, you need to heat it the stainless steel piece to approximately 400 degrees and then carefully and quickly remove it from the kiln and wipe on the kiln wash while it is hot.  This takes several iterations until you get the steel entirely covered with kiln wash.  But it is worth the effort because they are then so easy to use and you don’t need to reapply the kiln wash until you can see the steel wearing through.

Any suggestions you think I should try or finds you have tried?

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