Adding Texture and Pattern to Float Glass
In your fused recycled glass travels, don’t overlook float glass. Sure, it might seem like large sheets of clear window glass couldn’t be more boring, but it’s really an incredibly versatile tool. Not only is it possible to get large pieces for big projects, you can add so many things to float glass. Today I’ll show you how to add color pattern and texture to float glass, you could also use your larger sheets of bottle glass. (this technique would work with art glass as well, just use 1/4″ thick glass and make sure you use art glass firing schedules.)
- 1/4″ thick float glass (I’m using a 12″ circle) with the edge ground smooth
- Float fire powder and frit, opaque powder and translucent frit work the best. I’m using black powder and cherry red frit
- enamel filter
- small strainer
- floral former
- Stencil or doily of your choice – I’m using a vinyl placemat from the thrift store, but cut paper doilies would work too
- pump hairspray
Put your respirator on! Place stencil on the float glass and filter black powder evenly over the entire surface of the stencil and glass
Carefully remove the stencil and shake extra powder off of it onto a sheet of paper (you are still wearing your respirator, right??) You’ll need to lift the stencil straight up off the glass so you don’t disturb the pattern. If you mess up the pattern, just dump all the powder off and start over. Tip the extra powder back into the container.
Put the float glass circle in the kiln on a prepared shelf and fire to a full fuse using the fuse schedule for 1/4″ glass.
After fusing and cooling, we’ll add the texture part. For this part we’ll need the hairspray, the cherry red frit, and the strainer. And the respirator, you’re still wearing that, right??
We want to add the frit to the opposite side of the pattern, so make sure the side with the powder is down and spray the whole thing with hairspray.
Using the strainer, filter frit across the entire surface. We want it to stick in the hairspray, so work efficiently. I’m covering the whole surface more or less, but you could use a stencil for this side too. (If you do, spray after you remove the stencil.)
Once the hairspray is dry, place the glass on the prepared floral former and slump using the slump schedule for 1/4″ glass. The frit will tack fuse onto the outside of the kiln and round slightly, becoming quite sparkly. This will result in a pronounced texture that feels bumpy but isn’t sharp.
This project was donated to The Children’s Center.