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Q & A Monday – July 8, 2013

Jodi McRaney RushoHere we are again with Q & A Monday!  These are all reader questions submitted via e-mail.  Personal details have been omitted for privacy.  If one of these questions is your and you’d like attribution and a back link, let me know.  If you have a question of your own, send it on over via the contact form.

  • Q:  I would like to make dinner plates and salad bowl out of green wine bottles. Most of the projects I see on your blog are only using one bottle in them. Can I use multiple bottles to make a bigger plate 10″-13″?
  • A:  I do try to focus on single bottle projects because they are the most predictable.  You should be okay if you use all the same brand of bottles.  If you can get ones that have matching factory and line numbers (molded into the glass on the bottom of the bottle) that indicates they are from the same batch of glass, which is even better.So, after saying that, be prepared for some failure.  Since we don’t know where the bottles were made, or what the ingredients are, there will undoubtedly be some that just don’t work together.I’ve had very good luck with fusing multiple Jameson whiskey bottles.

    Good luck and let me know how it turns out.

  • Q:  I am sooooo excited to have found all of the wonderful information you have to share. Using recycled glass is such a perfect idea. I want to get started on some bottle melting (specifically the house number project) and am wondering how you keep the bottles stable in the kiln.  It seems to me like they would have the potential to roll about.  Again, Thank You so much, I just cant wait to get started.
  • A:  Bottles will usually have a balance point, if you put it on a flat surface it will roll a little then stop.  I try to make sure I find those.  If I have particularly stubborn bottles though, that refuse to lie still, I use a very thin piece of shelf paper for the bottle to roll up against.  It will leave a small mark on the back of the flat bottle, so use the smallest piece you can.  Alternatively, a drop of kiln wash on the shelf will work the same way.Good luck, let me know how it turns out!
  • Q;  do you teach classes in utah?
  • A:  I do teach occasionally, although I don’t have anything on my calendar at this moment.  I’m tentatively planning a Creative Techniques with Fused Bottle Glass in the fall.  I will have advance notification of dates on both my website and facebook (as well as the newsletter).
  • Q:  Hi Jodi.  Speaking of Stainless steel,  I think you mentioned using stainless steel molds that you made yourself? for glass tiles.  If  you did make them yourself can you elaborate? Friend of mine stated it is very hard to work with.  Metal working skills needed?  By the way I always enjoy all your tips and the enthusiasm that goes along with them,   you keep me smiling.
  • A:  Absolutely!  It’s not as difficult as you might think.  Great idea for a blog post, look for it in the next 2 weeks or so.
  • Q:  Hi Jodi,
    You rock! Thank you again for all you do for us recycled glass nutballs.I have a question and I hope you can steer me in the right direction. I made ceramic texture tiles, some with rather deep impressions (starfish, for example). The end product will be 6″ wine bottle glass tiles with a nice clear design.   I have had little success getting a deep impression, the image just turns out kinda light and hard to see. Am I getting air pockets, is that the problem? Will I need to drill holes in my molds? Or am I just not going hot enough?What I do is this: I cut my bottles into cylinders as you explained. I melt these down flat at full fuse. Then I put these onto my texture tiles and run a full fuse  at about 1435 degrees at high end. (I have a 22″ Paragon front loader.)

    Your expertise is appreciated.

    On another note, I want to pass on some info for your fans if they are looking at buying a wet tile saw. My husband bought us a really nice one, an MK 101. At first we were “scoring” the bottles before cutting thru, and this took a long time. But recently he figured out he can saw right thru in 3 increments, and the bottle cuts turn out pretty clean. We went from cutting 9 bottles in 2 1/2 hrs down to 16 bottles in less than one hour. We use a diamond blade that is intended for cutting glass, of course. We are very happy with this tile saw, altho it is not cheap.  [This is very good advice about the tile saw blade.  I took it and upgraded and am very happy with the results! -Jodi

  • A:  I suspect that holes in the mold may help, however, more importantly, why are you fusing the bottle flat first?  Will it not fit into the kiln right on top of the tile?In my experience, you get one fuse and one slump from bottle glass.  Every time you fire it, it gets stiffer and stiffer.  So, if you can, put the bottle cylinder right on the tile and fuse it.  If you can’t due to other factors, instead of fusing it flat, slump it flat.  It won’t go completely flat, but it will by mostly flat and you’ll get a much better fuse when you fire it on the tile.I noticed the same thing when I would fuse bottle bottoms flat and then try to fuse them on my texture tiles, the glass would go quite opaque, get some devit and wrinkles and a light impression.  Works MUCH better to just put the cut bottle bottom right on the tile and fuse it flat.  Now I get mostly shiny flat pieces with a good impression.