Fused bottles are always popular at craft fairs and shows, and are becoming more popular by the day. Use this tutorial to raise the visual impact of your bottle cheese trays and give them some serious oomph! These bottles are food safe as all additions are fused inside the bottle and not on food bearing surfaces. Recommend that your customers hand wash these items.
Clean clear bottle (color glass bottles don’t have same impact with this technique)
Fusible glass paint of your choice
1 tsp. Measuring cups or spoons (I use cough syrup cups)
Measure out about 1 tsp each (5 mL) of 2 colors of paint. As you get some practice, you can use 3 colors of paint if you wish. The idea here is to carefully pour thickish paint down the side of the bottle and roll it about, cover only HALF of the bottle, this is critical.
Pour paint into the bottle. We want the paint to run down the neck and then the side of the bottle, don’t just pour it straight into the bottom of the bottle. Let the paint flow down and roll the bottle to get coverage.
Turn the bottle slightly and pour in the second color next to the first. We want the colors to mix slightly, but not coat the entire bottle.
If you end up with large puddles of paint in the bottom of the bottle, tip the bottle upside down and drain the paint straight out, do not shake the bottle. Be careful to keep the paint to one side of the bottle. I like to drain the extra paint (if there is any) into a clean cup and use it on the next bottle.
Add a bit of mica flakes. I’m using fine pearl flakes for this project, it is fun to experiment with different size flakes and different paint colors to see what your favorites are. I’m using about 1/2 tsp (2.5mL) volume of mica, too much mica will cause bubbles, so don’t go overboard. I like to add the mica while the paint is still dampish so it sticks in the paint. Shake the mica into the bottle at an angle so it drifts across the painted surface. You can use a long palette knife, or flat stirring stick to place the mica if you are particular about that stuff. Mica is a silicate, so wear an appropriate dust mask as you work with it.
Lay bottles in the kiln with the paint side down, propping with bits of fiber paper if necessary.
Fire to a full fuse and increase the bubble squeeze time to 45 minutes (minimum) to burn off the paint medium and and allow the mica to flatten out.
Try other combinations of paint and mica to see what your favorites are:
Allowing the paint to cover the entire inside of the bottle will result in your mica flakes becoming encapsulated inside the painted bottle. Keep the front of the bottle clear to prevent this. If your bottle does get completely coated, consider leaving out the mica flakes and just fusing the painted bottle.
Too much paint or too much mica can cause big bubbles as you fuse. If you can’t dump out the excess, increase your bubble squeeze time to make sure all of the paint has a chance to dry and off gas before your bottle fuses flat.