Saturday, September 18, 2010

Glass Fusing ~ A Project for Kids!

Halloween is right around the corner & we're getting a jump on our holiday decorations. We typically have a gathering at our house for hot soup, cider, & magic & then head out into the night with all the ghouls for trick or treating. This year, William & I decided to make some special hordvous' plates for our guests.
William is designing & choosing the images & helping with the production....
oops, er creative process. (Old habits die hard!)
The first step is to trace the glass blank on a piece of paper. this gives you an idea of how much space you have to work in for your design. It's good to leave a half to full inch of space between the design & edge of the paper.

William wanted to make a bat plate so here's his basic drawing on paper. Then he traced it onto stiff tracing plastic. This is a plastic tracing stencil material used frequently for quilting. He traced the design on the plastic & then it was cut out.

When planning the colors for the piece you have to think in reverse order color-wise. We decided that a spring green background with a black bat would look best ~ high contrast colors between the base & image plus a little spooky-ookie for Halloween.
Using a Sharpie maker draw an outline of the bat/design on the glass so you know where the image & background colors will be placed. The background color goes on first so here's William sprinkling on the green Bullseye frit around the bat for the base color. We're using powers which are the finest ground (08 within the system). He's using a small sifter & gently tapping the side to evenly spread the glass power over the base. It's important to use a respirator so as to not breathe in any glass & to wear protective eye gear.

Next gently place the stencil on top of the base color ~ you should still be able to see the outline of the design that you drew on the glass blank so line up the stencil over your tracing lines. The Sharpie ink will burn off in the firing. After the stencil is placed you can sift on the black for the bat image. William went a little crazy here & even covered all of the pink stencil but you really just need to fill in the open areas of the cut out design.

After the black is evenly sifted on, gently lift the stencil off & viola' you have a bat!
Now comes the fun part of embellishing. William used larger chunks of frit (01) to add eyes, nose and mouth. Be aware when you're using other accessory glasses with the powders that they will either fuse in or give texture depending on your firing schedule. These will be fused at about 1435 degrees Fahrenheit ~ cooler than a full fuse but warmer than a tack. I don't want any red eye balls coming off in someones fruit!
OK! This is off to the kiln for firing.

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