Glass ‘Tools’ from the Craft Store

When you are looking to expand your tool kit of cool things that can be used to make recycled glass art, don’t overlook the craft store! Not all cool glass tools come from glass companies, there are a ton of scrap-booking and craft store items that can be (mis) used to good effect in the glass studio. Here are a few:

Scrapbook Department

1. Scrapbooking molds

Scrap booking molds for making plaster inclusions

These silicone molds are in the scrap booking department, I’m not exactly sure what their purpose is, I’m not a scrapbooker! Several uses come to mind though, Freeze and Fuse as well as  a great way to make plaster elements that I can fuse glass over. Like so:

Fused glass butterfly pendant
Glass pendant with plaster butterfly element

You can see the entire tutorial for the Butterfly Pendant here.

2. Mini-punches

Tiny craft punches

These little punches are inexpensive and used with thin copper sheet or copper mesh, make awesome little inclusions:

Recycled glass bracelet with copper frogs

3. Mold Making compound

Mold n Pour for making plaster inclusions

This is a two part mold making compound, it’s a little expensive, but a great way to rapidly make a mold that can be used to pour plaster into and then fused over.  For example, this compound and an antique button could make a very cool set of plaster elements.

4.  Rubber Stamps and Embossing Ink

]Embossing ink is quite sticky and is great for holding onto powder or frits.  Simply stamp your glass with an image, sprinkle powder or frit and clean up details with a fine paint brush. I made fused glass name tags with this technique

Materials for Nametags

Model Making Department

1. Copper (and other) Foil leaf

Copper Foil

These extremely thin foils can be layered in between glass to create a color and shaded effect.

2. Aluminum Mesh

Aluminum Mesh

Aluminum turns black when fused, so this mesh will make a cool black web effect when fused.  You can often find copper mesh as well, read the label carefully to make sure it isn’t just copper colored aluminum.

If you are ever unsure about whether a product is safe for inclusions, refer to the manufacturers SDS (Safety Data Sheet).  All SDS sheets have a section about what happens if the product is heated, and whether it produces fumes, and what temperature it combusts at.  Don’t guess, CHECK!

Cake Decorating Department

1. Fondant Mold

Fondant molds for making plaster inclusions

These silicone fondant molds can also be used with plaster to make fused elements. These are particularly nice for borders.  I can picture an adorable cake plate with cupcakes fused in around the edge. (yellow mold) Also, more Freeze and Fuse possibilities, although these will be wafers after fusing.

Pastry bags and tips can also be used to pipe plaster onto thin fire for an interesting texture.  There are also numerous silk screens and stencils that can be used with frits and powders to add texture and pattern to float glass.  Pastry bags and tips can also be used with powders mixed with CMC to add texture and designs to glass.  Make sure your powder and glass are compatible though, and mix your CMC according to directions for best results.

It helps to have an open mind as you wonder the craft store, don’t dismiss an area because you don’t do that craft, glass crosses all borders, and lots of things can be appropriated for the studio.