Texture Tile Molds for Fused Glass

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Texture Fleur de Lis

Texture tiles are essentially flat ceramic molds for fusing glass.  If you are making your own texture tiles, there are a few things to consider before you start.

1. End purpose of the glass piece

What will you be using the textured piece for?  Will it stand alone?  Be slumped into something else, or included into a larger piece?

2.  Should the pattern be incised into the glass, or bas relief.

The pattern on the glass will be the opposite of the texture on the tile.  If you want the pattern to protrude (bas relief) from the glass, you need to cut that texture into the clay.  If you want the texture incised into the glass, you have to cut away everything else.

3.  Which side of the glass will you be looking at?

If you intend for the pattern to be on the back of the finished glass piece, the pattern will go onto the tile the same direction as you want to look at it.  If you intend to have the texture side face up, the pattern will be opposite.

4. Will it work?

Think through your pattern carefully. You will be creating a three dimensional design from a two dimensional drawing, sometimes things don’t translate so well.  If you are working from a drawing, try shading the parts you will be cutting out.  This quick trick will often save you time later when you realize that you are intending to remove adjacent sections without a border between.

Once you’ve decided on a design, you need clay.  In my workshops, we use whiteware clay that fires to Cone 06.  Your local ceramic store can help you with both sourcing clay, and in many cases, fire the molds for you for a small fee.

After some trial and error, I found a slab 3/8″ thick works very well.  It is thick enough to do robust carving, and to resist warping far better than a 1/4″ slab.

Add in some low tech clay tools and let the glass mold making begin.  As you make a texture tile, keep these guidelines in mind:

  • absolutely no undercuts! Make sure all edges slope at an angle down into the cuts.  Glass will grab undercuts and break during cooling.  Your mold may also break.
  • Don’t carve too deep, you are working with 3/8″ slab here, be aware of how deep your pattern is.  If you do need to do a deep carving, keep in mind wide patterns work best here.
  • Remember the kiln wash.  Fine details may need to be exaggerated to compensate for the kiln wash.

 

Here is a tile made by workshop participant Cheryl Peterson (greenware)

Greenware Texture Tile

after bisque firing

Texture Tile Bisque Fired

When you are ready to fire glass on your texture tile, there are just a few things you need to do:

  • kiln wash the entire tile.  I recommend coating the sides of the tile too, just in case your glass gets ambitious and tries to run away.
  • cut the glass about 1/8-1/4″ smaller than the tile.  This will depend on your willingness to risk the glass falling over the edge during firing.
  • be prepared to test!  Use a full fuse firing schedule first and see how much detail your tile picks up.  If you have deeply carved texture, you may need to fire longer or hotter.

Here is the tile with glass before fusing,

Texture Tile with Glass

And after, with fused glass:

Fused Glass on Texture Tile

More texture tile molds from the February Workshop
Abstract Texture Tile Big Daisies Texture Tile Retro Texture Tile
Daisies Texture Tile Multi Texture Tile Quail Texture Tile
Water Drop Texture Tile Flow Chart Texture Tile Texture Tile - Crystal Plate


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 






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5 comments
sarinazysia
sarinazysia

Hello again Jodi et al,  

I want to try the tile method with a ceramic relief.  I have a whack of clay given to me years ago by my Grandmother (she will be smiling down on me when I try this!).  However, I do not know what type of clay it is, nor at what temperature to bake it at.  So you foresee any issues with that? Your posting specified 'whiteware' clay. 


I do have a fusing kiln and Gramma's kiln available.  Here is the multi-dollar question... can I use the fusing kiln for the glass tile base or do I have to very speedily learn how to use the electric, but not digital potter's kiln?  ?Cones?

Thanks a huge bunch, Sarina

ShereenTimmerman
ShereenTimmerman

Hi Jodi, really appreciate all your posts! I have a question and please forgive me of it answered before. I have some low-fire clay however, I have not done a lot with it. What is the best way to make flat consistent tlles to work with? Thank you!

RedDragonGlass
RedDragonGlass

It was a great project and I had fun learning the process with Jodi. I plan to incorporate most of my designs into stained glass projects - but that acanthus leaf is pretty enough to stand alone. Thanks Jodi!

Cheryl Peterson

Red Dragon Glass Art

GlassWithaPast
GlassWithaPast moderator

@sarinazysiaHi Sarina;  Here's what I would do...in the course of experimentation, I discovered that I could fire the dry greenware (unfired) tiles in my glass kiln as long as I went higher than the glass would fire to.  So, I fired my tiles to 1650, held for 30 minutes, turned the kiln off.  After the tiles were cool, I kiln washed them and ran them through again with glass on them and fired to 1550.  Worked fine.  Good luck!  I can't wait to see how they turn out!  J.

GlassWithaPast
GlassWithaPast moderator

 @ShereenTimmerman Hi Shereen; No worries, I love questions!  The key seems to be to have them well wedged and rolled to a consistent 1/2" thick.  Dry slowly and watch them, press the tiles flat gently if you still can.  They should dry to an even 3/8".  Thinner tiles have a tendency to warp.  That said, you don't have to have perfectly flat tiles if you are planning to slump the resulting glass into a mold.  Good luck!

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  1. [...] Interested in more information about texture tiles? [...]

  2. [...] tile what do you do with it? There is a detailed blog post here if you want to create your own: Texture Tile Molds for Fused Glass Thanks Jodi McRaney Rusho and Glass With a Past! Since I already had some autumn leaf colored [...]

  3. […] Texture Tiles and Fused Glass […]

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