Monday, February 28, 2011

How to Make Fused Glass Shelf Melts

As mentioned, my 2011 plan is to use up my excess glass. I've made a few shelf melts before with a nice swirly effect.

So, I was hoping to replicate the results. To make the shelf melts, I take the temperature to a level where the glass becomes molten so I get some movement. Because of this, I placed the glass pieces in a stainless steel ring, which acts as a "dam" to contain the glass. The ring is lined with fiber paper, so the glass does not stick to it. Also, on the bottom half, I placed small scoops of bubble powder to see if it would help create the swirly effect. Then, I topped it with clear glass.

Unfortunately, the results did not quite have the same swirly effect I had hoped. And, the bubble powder really didn't do much. So, I tried again. With glass, it often takes several to many attempts to get the results you want. The second time, I used bigger pieces of glass to trap more air, which should create more bubbles and thus, a swirly effect when the bubbles surface. Again, the results looked pretty similar to the first.

When I checked my firing schedule against those I made in the past, I realized that I was using a different schedule. I basically use the same schedule as I do for making pot melts but realized that in the past I increased the speed that the temperature ramps up because I don't have to worry about the pot cracking. The third attempt (again with some bubble powder on the bottom) was better but still did not have the same amount of swirling as the originals. I'll have to keep playing and post again once I figure it out.

However, when I cut up the glass (to be used in plates), I actually liked those with less swirls to the one with more. There's more contrast between light and dark. The first two from the left are the two pieces of glass I just made shown above and the column on the right is the glass I made earlier (also above).

What do you think? I'm excited to include these in some plates. I have the first one in the kiln right now and will post some photos once I get a few of these finished.