Kiln Carving Pattern and Copper Inclusions

Recycled fused glass PlateKiln carving patterns are a wonderful tool to expand your options with recycled glass. But, before you kiln carve and throw that patten into the drawer, consider using it as a pattern for copper inclusions.

Begin by cutting copper sheet to fit the pattern. We will also need 2 pieces of glass that will accommodate the pattern, and tiny scrap for the vents. Ideally, these will all come from the same sheet of glass.

Copper Sheet for metal inclusionsUsing a ball point pen or stylus, trace over the pattern.

Tracing pattern on copperAfter you’re all finished tracing, go ahead and cut out all of the little bits using shop scissors. We are using the opposite parts as our kiln carving pattern, cutting out the gray areas and keeping them.

Cutting copper for inclusionsIf your cutting skills are anything like mine, you’ll end up with a big pile of curly copper pieces.

Copper sheet cut for inclusionFlatten these out by rubbing them flat with a burnisher or pencil eraser. After they are flat, arrange them on one of the pieces of clean glass. I’ve put the printed pattern under the glass to help with placement.

copper inclusions before top glassThe next step is to add vents. These are tiny pieces of glass that will keep the top and bottom layer separated during fusing. Ideally, vents prevent the off gassing from the copper oxidation from causing huge bubbles. The vent pieces should come from the same sheet and can be as small as you can get, or a larger shape for planned visual interest. I’m using tiny ones.

vents for off gassingPlace the vents on your project. You can place them on top of the copper if you wish, or in the spaces between the copper. After placing the vents, add the top layer of glass, the cap.

capped copper inclusionsYou can see some of my copper inclusions have shifted slightly. I’m okay with that, but if that type of thing makes you nuts, glue down each copper piece with a tiny spot of white glue to keep it in place until it’s fused. When you are ready to go, place the entire project on a prepared kiln shelf prior to full fusing.

Fused recycled glass with copper inclusionsYou can see that I still have some bubbles. The glass I used for this project is single strength, about 1/8″ thick. It is difficult to get all bubbles vented when using thinner glass, the weight of the glass isn’t enough to really press out the bubbles. If you really, really hate bubbles, I recommend using two pieces of 1/4″ thick glass for this project. Personally, I like bubbles, I think they are fun, so there you go.

After you have fused your fabulous copper sheet inclusions in recycled glass, finish the edges with a grinder or diamond polishing pad in preparation for slumping. As we’ve discussed before, it is important to expose a new glass surface on the edges prior to slumping to prevent wrinkling.

Place the prepared project on a prepared mold:


Slump using the slumping firing schedule:

copper inclusions in recycled glass

There you go, another twist on the classic kiln carving pattern. Let’s look at the copper inclusion pattern and the kiln carved pattern together, just because they are pretty!

Recycled fused glass Platebottle glass kiln carving