Adding Mica to Fused Bottle Bottoms

If you’ve been following my adventures in glass at all, you’ll know that I love mica and will add it to just about anything!  Today I’m adding mica to the raised designs of fused bottle bottoms.  These have all been fused on bottle bottom molds, for reference, you can find the molds here:

From top left:

Mandala

Butterfly 2

Sparkle 

Beehive

Magnolia

Mica Paints

and, of course:

Etching cream

paint brush

nitrile gloves

water

Step 1:

Add etching cream to the parts of the bottle bottom that you want to paint with mica.  Etching gives the glass a texture or ‘tooth’ for the mica to settle into.  Without this, the mica will adhere unevenly and most of it will wash off.  If you don’t want to mess with the tiny details (like on the lines of the beehive), just etch the whole thing.  We’ll fire the project again, and the extra etched bits will fire polish shiny again.

Follow the instructions on the bottle to allow adequate etching time, and then wash off etching cream as per the manufacturer.

Bunches of etched bottle bottoms.

Step 2:

Paint mica onto the etched bits:

I like to paint a whole flock of them at once so it doesn’t take so long.  A nice thinnish even coat is best.  The extra mica will wipe off after firing, so more is not necessarily better in this situation.

Step 3:

Fire the mica on.  I typically just include these pieces in a slump firing.  As they are already flat, they really won’t change shape, and the slump temperatures will allow the glass to get hot enough for the mica to stick, but not hot enough to flatten out the details.  After firing, you’ll notice that some of the mica will appear milky.

This is the mica that will wipe off when you clean it.  THIS IS NORMAL.  Mica is a microfine mineral, so only the thin layer next to the glass will stick, everything else will wipe away.

Step 4:

Clean the extra mica off.

Step 5:

Projects

The bottle bottoms can now be either drilled for holes and used as is for ornaments, or incorporated into other projects such as windchimes, jewelry (the small bottle bottoms), stained glass, mosaics or a number of other ideas.

Related articles:

Man in the Moon with Stars Chime

Fusing with fiber paper on molds

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