This is a longer, extended version of a newsletter from last fall. This topic turned out to be one of the most popular newsletters ever, and is still generating questions, hopefully, this extended version will answer those!
The downside of fusing with bottle glass is that it arrives at your studio curved. Sometimes that’s okay, some projects can accommodate the curved glass. Some projects, however, must be made with flat glass.
Making your bottle glass into flat pieces for fusing is relatively easy, there are a few steps:
1. Cut the top and bottom of the bottle off.
I prefer to use a tile saw for this step, but many people successfully use the score, heat and thermal shock method. Once you have the top and bottom cut off, you’ll have a cylinder of glass. (this video shows cutting the top off, the process is the same)
2. Cut the cylinder in half by scoring on the inside (I use a pistol grip cutter) or if your hands are too big, you can saw down the side with a tile saw. You can score the outside of the bottle, but then you have to put gentle pressure on the score from the inside of the cylinder, which can be tricky.
3. Load the kiln with bottle halves.
One of the tricky parts of loading the kiln is making sure that the bottle halves are far enough apart that they won’t melt into each other. Here’s a quick trick to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Continue until your kiln is filled.
4. Slump the glass flat
Bottle glass can only be fused a finite amount of times, so we are going to fire the bottle halves just until they flatten, not even enough to round the edges.
Use this firing schedule:
2 pieces of glass at about 6″ x 7″ rectangle. This is a Skyy vodka bottle. Your sizes will vary based on where you cut the top and bottom off. There is the same amount of glass in nearly every 1.5L tall shouldered bottle.
Two pieces of glass at about 6.5 x 5″ rectangle. This is a 1.5L chardonnay bottle. Again your sizes will vary based on where you cut.
2 Rectangles of approximately 4.5″ x 6.5″. This is a cut and flattened Jameson Bottle.
2 squares of glass approximately 4.5″ x 5″. This is a cut and flattened sparkling cider bottle. The lighter section across the middle is where the glass is thinner.