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Free Kiln Carving Pattern – February 2015

fused hummingbird pattern

After a month of hearts, I decided to go with something a little less holiday specific.  We have a lot of hummingbirds in Utah during the spring and summer, so we’ll work on a flock of those for the month of February.

Materials needed:

Free kiln carving pattern

razor knife

cut proof surface


fiber paper

vintage plate (or other glass of your choice)

glass drill/dremel tool

monofiliment Continue reading Free Kiln Carving Pattern – February 2015

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Q & A Monday – 2/24/2014

Jodi McRaney RushoWell, th e Monday’s keep marching on by don’t they?  I have to admit, Monday’s aren’t my favorite, but I’m trying to reframe them as a positive experience!  Maybe as a new start in the studio?  Meanwhile, you all have questions, and I may have some answers.  If you have a question about fusing and slumping recycled glass, send it on over and I’ll see what I can do.  (names and some details have been omitted for privacy reasons)

Q:  Thank you for your tutorials please can u advise me how I can join cut beer bottle into a wine glass ie what kind of glue or technique can I use to do this?

A:  I wish I could!  There is one company in the U.S. doing this right now, and their technique is a closely guarded secret.  It looks like they use a torchwork technique, but I have no more information than that.  Delphi Glass has a fun little plastic bottle stem, which is like a cork with a flat bottom that will seal your bottle neck so it can be used as a wine glass.

Q: I have some glass scraps lying around and was thinking about positioning them in a mold of some description and then heating them with a propane torch until they either slump into the mold are viscous enough for me to push them into the mold with a rod/spatula of some description. Thoughts on the advisability and/or the mechanics of this idea?

A: Wow, you’ve certainly given me a lot to think about. Here are my concerns:

– it will be very hard to keep all of the glass the same temperature across the entire mold, so as one section gets hotter, the others will cool very rapidly. Those cooling pieces will thermal shock with determination. I would expect there to be flying bits of quite hot glass.

– I’m worried about the molten glass being pushed or dragged across mold release. Molten glass will quite easily pick up kiln wash and stick, both to the mold, and to the kiln wash.

– Annealing is an issue. As glass cools, internal stresses are created, which must be relieved, typically by cooling the glass back down to room temperature over the course of several hours. Glass that has been improperly annealed (or not at all) tends to crack and be quite brittle.

– mold integrity is also an issue. Ceramic molds don’t like to be thermal shocked either

– and then there’s the kiln wash/mold release. Most kiln washes and mold releases are rated to 1850, some to 2000. Molten glass exceeds that temperature, and will cause the mold release to fail. (this is a problem I see frequently and still haven’t solved)

Now, if you were making small things, like beads, there may be possibilities. I have only taken one bead making class though, so I’d suggest a bit more research before taking that on.

Good luck, it sounds like you live an exciting life!

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Q & A Monday – 1/20/14

Jodi McRaney RushoGood Morning!  Here in Utah it’s a sunny crisp (cold) winter day, my favorite kind.  If I have to have winter, I do like the high desert kind.  Today’s question and answer is for educators and anyone else who needs to entertain small persons and would like to use glass to do so.  If you have a question, feel free to send it on over, I might even have an answer!

Q:  I’ve agreed to do a multi-week artist residency at a local school and I need project ideas STAT!  Continue reading Q & A Monday – 1/20/14

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January 2014 Kiln Carving Pattern

Fused Bottle Glass Heart

Sometimes, in the cold of winter, it’s hard to imagine a new year is right around the corner.  This kiln carving pattern marks the start of the third year of kiln carving patterns.  What started out as an experiment has turned into quite a ride!  Thanks for coming along and sharing pictures of your own creations with me.  If you’ve downloaded a pattern and used it, I would love to see it! Continue reading January 2014 Kiln Carving Pattern

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Q & A Monday – 11/11/13

Jodi McRaney RushoWow, it seems like it was just summer a minute ago, and now we’re barreling into the holiday season and 2013 is coming to a close. Crazy stuff.  Today I’m answering reader’s questions, if you have a question, send it on over.

There was a great newsletter last week about what a good tile saw blade will do for you, and THE question I got the most in the last 2 weeks is:

Q:  What is the model of saw?? Continue reading Q & A Monday – 11/11/13

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Fractured Plate Tutorial

Finished Fracture Plate

Today’s tutorial satisfies almost all of my bullet points, glass, hammers, and hairspray.  Just kidding, I have higher standards than that, although this project does have all of those elements.  The great thing about this particular project is every single one is different, you could fill a whole market booth with variations of this project and it would look great! Continue reading Fractured Plate Tutorial

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July 2013 Kiln Carving Pattern

Snail Kiln Carving Pattern

Believe it or not, we have big old garden snails in Utah.  Despite being all hot and dry.  I’ve heard that they are the kind of snails that are used for escargot.  There are certainly enough around, but I’ve never worked myself up to try eating them!  This kiln carving pattern is fairly straight forward, but does require some care due to all of the thin pieces of fiber paper that have to remain. Continue reading July 2013 Kiln Carving Pattern

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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″? Continue reading Q & A Monday – July 8, 2013
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Recycled Wine Bottle Drinking Glasses – Tutorial

Welcome!  This tutorial is the most basic method of making wine bottle drinking glasses.  It requires no glass tools other than an inexpensive glass cutter.

Materials needed:

Wine Bottle Drinking Glasses Materials
Drinking Glass Materials
  • Glass Bottle
  • Ruler and Marker
  • Candle
  • Clamp and Glasscutter
  • Icewater
  • Grit Polishing Kit (120/220 polishing grit, pie pan, champagne bottle bottom)

Step 1:  Mark the bottle where you want to cut it.

Anywhere from 3.5″ to 5″ is good for a drinking glass, it just depends on how big of drinks you want.

drinking glass cutting line
Mark cutting line on bottle

I find it helpful to mark a solid line all the way around the bottle so I can keep my score line straight.

Step 2:  Score the bottle

A “score” line refers to the line that the diamond wheel of the glass cutter makes on the glass.  Ideally, this is where the glass will break.  Start by clamping the glass cutter to the table top with the wheel side up.

Clamp glass cutter to table
Clamped glass cutter on table

Line up the marked line with the cutting wheel and roll the bottle down onto the cutting wheel.  This takes a bit of pressure, and a bit of practice.  As the cutter scores the glass, it should sound like tearing silk.  Try to do this in a continual rolling motion.  Don’t be discouraged if you get off course, this takes practice.  Simply recycle your bottle and start over, or make a new line on the bottle (toward the bottom) and try again.

Score bottle
Roll the bottle against the cutting wheel

Step 3:  Separate the bottle halves.

We’ll be doing this by thermal shocking the bottle on the score line.  Basically, this means we’ll use alternate heat and cold to make the glass expand and contract and hopefully, break on the score line.

For this we’ll need the candle and the ice water.  Starting with a lit candle, run the flame along the score line, you may hear slight pinging or crackling sounds as the glass heats.

Heat the score line
Heat the score line

After heating for a while, dip the bottle into the ice water (that’s on the right hand side of the photo)

Dip in ice water
Dip in ice water

Repeat until the two sides of the bottle pop apart.  This will take a while, maybe as long as 10 minutes if you are tentative in your heating.  This part also takes practice, if your bottle breaks unevenly, don’t give up!  Just do another one, it won’t take long to become an expert.

Once the sides separate, be very careful of the cut edge, it is very, VERY sharp.  There is no need to try and clean the cut edge before you polish it, the polishing will help clean it, and it’s much safer to clean it later.

Step 4:  Polishing the cut edge

For this part, we’re using a steel pie pan, rock polishing grit, and the cut off bottom of a champagne bottle.  If you have access to these things, great!  If not, we offer a kit with all three of those items.

Add 1 tsp of grit to the pie pan.

Polishing Grit in pie pan
Grit in the pie pan

Add 1 tsp of baby oil (or mineral or vegetable oil) to the pie pan.

Add oil to the pie pan
Add baby oil to pie pan

The idea here is to make a slurry (a mix of an abrasive and a liquid) to polish the cut edge of the bottle.  When you rub the cut edge of the bottle around the pan, the abrasive will polish the sharp edge of the glass.  It will also polish off the surface of your pan, so the oil in the slurry will keep the pan from rusting and prolong the life of your kit.  (you can still use a rusty pan, the slurry will polish off the rust lickety split).

The sloped side of the pie pan will bevel the outside edge of the drinking glass, and the flat bottom of the pie pan will polish the cut edge flat.

Polish the edge of the glass
Polish the edge of the glass

Run the cut side of the bottle around and around the edge of the pan.  This will take somewhere between 3 and 5 minutes depending on how much pressure you put on the bottle, and how thick the glass is.  Check occasionally to see how things are progressing.  Once the edge is polished to your satisfaction, set the glass aside.

At this point, you can either store the gritty pan in a ziploc bag and use the slurry again later

Storing the messy pan
Store the gritty pan in a bag

Or wipe the slurry out with a paper towel and throw it away.  Never wash grit down your sink, it is very bad for the plumbing.

wipe out slurry
Wipe out grit and throw towel away

Step 5.  Bevel the inside edge

To bevel the inside edge of the drinking glass, we’re using a cut off champagne bottle bottom and grit.  The bump in the bottom of the bottle (also called the punty) and grit will bevel the inside of the drinking glass with a bit of effort.  Add about 1/2 tsp grit to the groove.

add grit
add grit to bottle bottom

Since we don’t have to worry about rust here, we can add about 1/2 tsp water to the grit to make a slurry

add water
Add water

Rotate the cut edge of the drinking glass in the groove until it is polished to your liking.

Bevel the inside edge of bottle
Polish the inside edge

This will also take between 3 and 5 minutes, so be patient (maybe watch some TV while you polish?) and check the edge every now and then.

Once the edge is finished, wipe out the extra slurry and then wash the glass.  It’s important to note that this will NOT give a factory finish.  It’s very difficult to get a perfect factory finish by hand polishing, but, it will give you a fun little glass to serve drinks in.

Finished drinking glass
Finished drinking glass

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Using Glass Powders with Texture Tiles

fired powder with recycled glass Once you’ve mastered the art of making your own texture tiles, you can bump things up by adding frits and powders to your design.  Armstrong Glass makes a line of float glass compatible frits and powders called Float Fire that work very well with recycled glass. Continue reading Using Glass Powders with Texture Tiles