Wednesday, June 9, 2010

8 Ways to Recycle Glass into Works of Art

With fused glass, it's easy to accumulate a lot of excess glass scraps, those pieces that remain after sheet glass is cut for a desired design. As glass is expensive and I don't feel right tossing the excess, I've tried to figure out a ways to use up the pieces. Here are 8 ways that I recycle (or plan to recycle) excess glass:

1. Nip glass into bits that can be used in molded jewelry.
2. Crush with hammer to make into frit that can be used as a glass accent or entire piece. I plan to make bowls from frit later.
3. Cut into small squares and fire hot to make pebbles or rounds that can be used as design accents. I've used these as dots on business card holders and ornaments on Christmas trees candle holders.
4. Cut into small squares to be used as detailed designs. I cut excess glass into 1" squares and use these to make plates and coasters.
5. Make snowflake ornaments for the holidays. This is an excellent way to use up clear glass - takes a lot of cutting but the end product is quite nice.
6. Melt glass together as a shelf melt. Glass pieces are put on fiber paper and dammed. From this, I cut up the pieces to use in plate designs or other pieces.
7. Heat glass pieces together in an aperture or pot until molten and let the glass drip through to create a unique design that can be cut up and used in other pieces. As an alternative, glass can be stacked on wire mesh and melted.
8. Use in pattern bars. Pattern bars are made by either stacking layers of glass on top of one another or on its sides to create a bar once fused together. The bar is sliced to reveal a pattern through all the pieces. While I've made these in a class, I've yet to do this on my own but plan to do so.

Shortly, I'll be putting all my glass into storage as I'll be moving to the Seattle area. With glass being heavy, I certainly wish that I had acted on using up more of my excess glass earlier in the year. In the future, look for more plates, platters, panels, and bowls made from cut up melted glass as well as bowls made from crushed glass. These techniques require more time and work but certainly create a very nice and unique finished product.

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