Fused Bottle Glass Donuts and Rings

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Fused Recycled Bottle Glass Donuts

A common question from new recycled glass artists is “How do I make glass donuts and rings?”  Happily, I’m here to tell you.

Recycled bottle glass donuts are made from the neck of bottles, cut into slices, typically with a tile saw.  There are some easy things to remember for donut success:

1.  Taller isn’t always better.

Here are two cobalt rings, one about 3/8″ tall, and the other about 1″ tall.  Fused in the same batch, using the same firing schedule:

Fused Cobalt Bottle Glass DonutsYou can see the shorter donut has rounded nicely, the taller one has rounded, but the top has slumped over and inside, making the hole smaller and the inside slightly lumpy.  A good optimum height for donuts is 3/8″ to 1/2″ tall.

2.  Smooth cuts matter.

Not to say that smooth cuts are better, but you should be aware of what will happen when you fuse donuts that are cut a little differently.

Recycled Glass Donuts - odd shapes3.  Not all colors fuse the same. But they are pretty darn close.

Here is a veritable rainbow of color donuts, all about the same height, all fused with the same firing schedule.

Fused Recycled Bottle Glass DonutsYou can see the clear bottles didn’t melt quite as much, and the light blue also didn’t smooth out wonderfully.  If one of your colors is giving you problems, try a different bottle of the same color glass, preferably a different brand.  Not all bottles are created equally, the issue may be with the glass!

Recycled Bottle Glass Rings

Rings are made by fusing thinly cut slices from the body of a bottle.  After a question from a wonderful reader, I decided to do some experimenting to find the optimum slice height and bottle thickness for predictable fused glass rings.

What I found:

1.  Most wine bottles are very close to 1/8″ thick measured through the wall of the bottle.  To measure, cut the top off of your bottle and measure the glass from the inside of the bottle to the outside.

2.  Most champagne bottles are 1/4″ thick measured through the wall of the bottle.  This becomes important later.

3.  It’s really challenging to cut smooth, regular rings from a bottle, any bottle.

Using several different colors of bottles, I tried to cut comparable height of rings from each bottle.  I succeeded, more or less, some are more and some are less.  The conclusions are the same however:

Fused Wine Bottle RingsThe thinnest ring fused the most smoothly, but it is quite fragile.  The right hand most ring folded over and didn’t fuse in a perfectly round circle, but it is the most sturdy of the 3.

Recycled bottle glass donuts - greenAgain, the thinnest ring fused the most smoothly, but is quite fragile, while the thicker ring folded over and fused off round.

Fused Blue Wine Bottle RingsBoth of these cobalt wine bottle rings folded over and fused out of round, but they are kind of glossy, so may be useable for some applications.  Both are quite fragile.

Fused Blue Champagne Bottle RingsThese rings are from a sparkling chardonnay, bottled in a champagne style bottle.  As you can see, the thinnest fused the most smoothly (it had a crack that I didn’t see in it).  The right hand most ring is the sturdiest.  Note that even though the thinnest ring is fragile, it is still TWICE as thick as the thinnest wine bottle ring.

Recycled Champagne Bottle RingsOnce again, the thinnest ring is the smoothest.

My conclusions and recommendations from this series of experiments are:






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Related posts:

  1. Fused Bottle Glass House Number Project
  2. Fusing with Bottle Glass
  3. Technical Question, Recycled Glass Compatibility
  4. Technical Question, Bottle Cutting
  5. Plaster Elements in Fused Glass
4 comments
Icansketchu
Icansketchu

I love these examples- kudos! Any tips on first time kiln purchase? You seem pretty familiar- especially since you have two different kinds. Thanks in advance! :). -Kerra.

Sjones
Sjones

What a fantastic post. I have had some of the same results but you really took the time to look at many different options. You are wonderful. One thing you didn't mention that I did read somewhere is that the rings may round more if not fused on shelf paper but rather directly on a kiln washed shelf. I didn't know if that was how you fused your examples. I can see how your rock polisher might come in handy to polish the rings which would give them that sea glass look. Thank you for taking the time and more importantly for sharing. I love your posts and your willingness to give things a try!!

GlassWithaPast
GlassWithaPast moderator

 @Sjones Thank you for your nice compliments!  I appreciate you taking the time.  I haven't noticed a difference between donuts fired on shelf paper vs. kiln wash.  I have noticed that there is a difference between shelf material.  My glass kiln has a 3" thick very soft shelf, and the shelves in my ceramic kiln are very hard and smooth.  The donuts come out better on the harder shelf.  They have a tendency to grab the kilnwash off of the softer shelf and not fire as smoothly.  Interesting the little things we learn!

Trackbacks

  1. […] Another frequent question.  Making glass donuts is fairly easy, hack off the neck of the bottle and fuse it flat.  The real trick is how to make […]

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