Mali C. bring this question:
I took a visit to your site after viewing you on HGTV That’s Clever. Which by the way you did a nice job and I hope you were eventually able to view it if you haven’t already.
I work with elementary school children doing art classes as a guest artist. Most of the material I use is recycled, or things I donate. I have done quite a few fused glass projects, but donating these supplies (purchased 90 COE fusing glass) is becoming quite costly for me. I am looking into using recycled found glass to use with my elementary kids. I was given a case of wine bottles from a winery, all different colors. I was hoping to use the different colored glass (combined) on one piece. Kinda like how you crushed the red glass onto the one example you showed on your site. My question #1 is: are all bottles the same COE, (like wine bottles)? Question #2: Is all regular, float window glass the same COE, or do you just use all the glass from one window in each piece and not mix from other windows? Question #3: Do you experience a lot of devit on your recycled glass pieces? I actually like the look of devit at times and have seen some nice jewelry made from recycled milk bottles that had devit and they were wonderful.
Hopefully I can work out using recycled glass so I can offer more glass fusing projects with my school kids.
Thank you in advance for any help you can give me on this subject. Please see below a photo of myself (in the black shirt) and some of the kids I work with. Also, thank you for the information you offer on your web-site.
I still haven’t worked up the energy to look at the HGTV spot. It’s been over a year since it was filmed and the horror is starting to fade.
Here are the answers to your questions:
#1 is: are all bottles the same COE, (like wine bottles)?
In my experience, not only are all wine bottles NOT the same COE, often bottles of the same wine are not the same COE. I have had very consistent results with microbrew beer bottles (all the same brand) and Skyy Vodka bottles. They seem very consistent over multiple bottles. Everything else I fuse test chips before I mix them. There is a way around this, which is by grinding the glass to powder and then you effectively neutralize the COE problem completely. The down side is that grinding glass is a miserable messy job and the resulting powder requires the use of respirators. (if you want more info on this, let me know)
Question #2: Is all regular, float window glass the same COE, or do you just use all the glass from one window in each piece and not mix from other windows?
I typically do use only one sheet. Except, I have had pretty good luck using multiple windows from the same building. I check the color to make sure it is the same (often the color ranges from green to blue to clear depending on the recipe and vintage). If you are buying a case of float directly from the manufacturer, it is probably safe to assume that all the sheets are the same COE. Just don’t assume that the NEXT case will be compatible with the first.
Question #3: Do you experience a lot of devit on your recycled glass pieces?
I typically get devit on older glass, that isn’t float (it’s rolled or plate) and on the inside of bottles. Hard water deposits will also cause heavy filming. Other people swear that the tin side of float glass will devit (or maybe it is the non-tin side?) I don’t know, I just get it really clean and that usually takes care of the problem. I use white vinegar and water with microfiber cloths to clean with. I don’t use any chemicals if I can help it.
The red piece on my site is made with a commercially available float glass powder, I’ve gotten it from two different manufacturers, Hot Line (through Sundance Art Glass Co in CA) and from CR Lu in Denver. It runs about $8-$12/8 oz and also requires a respirator. However, you could fuse it on the surface of float, then cut it up for the kids. That would neutralize the dust hazard. An 8 oz bottle will do several sq. feet. (I’m thinking 4+) Make sure you get a wholesale account if you can, that knocks a couple of dollars off. I water down Elmers glue, brush it on the surface of the float, sprinkle the powder, tap off the extra and fire. You can do a tack fuse and get really cool texture, or full fuse for a solid color layer on the surface.
Another answer to your problem may be to contact other glass artists and beg for their scrap. That would leave you with purchasing just the clear base, which might not be so bad.
I get scrap from stained glass artists and then tumble it in my rock tumbler. It leaves a beach glass finish with no sharp edges. I then use it at my daughter’s preschool for art projects. It can’t be fused because it is all different COE’s, but we do a lot of mosaics and pieces that are glued together.
Another project that I wanted to try out with kids is to take play sand, mix it with water and elmers glue, put it into a plant saucer or plate and mold it. The glue should hold the sand solid as it dries, then, you could put an entire bottle over, or fill it with broken bottle glass and fuse it solid. I had pictured kids pressing things into the sand, like rocks and shells, but I haven’t had time to follow through. If you decide you want to try it, let me know and I’ll send you the firing schedule that I would use.
I would love to hear your results and ideas. I’m hoping to be able to take recycled glass into schools here as my daughter gets older. May I use your questions and photo’s on my website? I’m building a new site that will hopefully launch Jan. 1 and it would be really fun to show you and the kids.
Let me know if there is anything else I can help you with. Viva recycling!
Nice to meet you and thank you for you detailed answers to my questions, which will help immensely. I like the Elemer’s glue and play sand project idea you mentioned. That would be great to try with my little kindergarten kids. I will defiantly run some test pieces like you mentioned, maybe load some different tests in the kiln all at once and just make a log of the results. That is very interesting about the micro brew bottles, I wonder why that is? We have a micro brewery here and possibly they will be willing to donate some of their broken bottles. By the way, I live in State College, PA. I was able to go to a winery and get some bottles donated to me, lots of different colors, same type of bottles. They will be my first tests. Float glass is easy to come across, since I do mosaic window art. Many people give me windows for that.
I was showing my daughter “Alison” your web-site (she is 6 years old) and you mentioned using a rock tumbler for your glass. We got pretty excited about that because “Santa” just brought her a rock tumbler and glass is going to make it’s way in there. Alison also does fused glass art and has sold some of her own creations at craft fairs. I was concerned about safety when I first started doing glass projects with the elementary school aged kids. But I went over some safety rules and paired up children who may be hyper with myself, the teacher or class helper it worked out well. So far, no injuries, hopefully it will stay that way. The kids and their parents really love the fused glass creations they make.
You are more than welcome to use my questions and photos for your site. I think most people think glass art is just for adults, but children age five and up really can create some beautiful work. I use scraps and pre-cut bases (I cu
t nothing at the schools) and I give them each two bases to glue their glass on (about 3″X 2″ or 3″X 3″) and maybe a small square piece to use as a pin or a pendent on a paper plate and I let them have at it. I bring scraps of small glass, frit and rough frit in Tupperware containers, one container for every four children. I allowed the kids to rotate their containers when they want some different glass to use. I have them write their names on their paper plates to keep track of who’s is who’s. I then photograph (digital camera) each plate before I put it in the kiln or make a diagram and to keep track of who’s is who’s. When they come out of the kiln I have baggies with the kids name written on with perm marker, wash them and they go right into the bag. I then finish them as needed. These school projects usually require about one hour of time for kids age 5 and up.
Thank you again for all the help and you are welcome to use anything you wish. Please let me know when you get your site updates up and running.