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Copyright, All Rights Reserved. All content on this site is copyrighted, Dana Worley, as of the date of posting. Reuse or redistribution of this content is strictly prohibited without express written permission of the author.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Fused Glass Mosaic Painted Chair

Fused glass mosaic painted chair
Fused glass mosaic painted chair
This July, the Artists' Gallery, Cache Valley Center for the Arts, will hold its first annual Chair-ity event. All of the artists in the gallery are asked to donate a painted chair, and as a glass artist, I wanted to incorporate fused glass into my creation. I decided to create a mosaic with a hydrangea design. Following is information on the process I followed.


Sturdy wooden chair
Hand sander and sand paper
Tack cloth
Valspar interior/exterior latex
Acrylic paints (I used Martha Stewart paints, which state they are suitable for outdoor use)
Fused glass, all opal colors
GE Silicone II
Brush-on Minwax Polycrylic protective coating

The Process

One thing I will mention up front is that a simple chair with four legs has a surprising number of flat surfaces when you stop to think about it -- or when you have to sand and paint it! I recommend working with a fairly simple chair design (at least the first time around). 

Sanded and ready for painting
Sanded and ready for painting

I used an electric hand-sander with a medium grit to remove the existing finish on the chair, and then wiped down the chair with tack cloth to remove all the sanding dust. 

A fresh coat of paint
A fresh coat of paint
I chose a Valspar interior/exterior latex paint with a primer incorporated, so I did not prime the chair first. I painted all surfaces of the chair except for the chairback where I planned to glue the mosaic glass. I didn't paint the chairback because I felt there was less chance of the glued glass pieces coming off -- the glass would be more likely to adhere to bare wood than to paint, and there was less possibility that the glass might adhere to the paint, but the paint would come off the wood some time down the road. 

The next day, I applied a second coat of paint. 

Color booklets from the paint store are a great resource for color ideas
Color booklets from the paint store
are a great resource for color ideas

During my visit to the paint store for the latex, I picked up a color booklet containing a color palette I had in mind. This came in handy when I chose the colors for my acrylic paints, and when I chose the glass for the mosaic. 

Fused glass on the kiln shelf and ready to fire
Fused glass on the kiln shelf and
ready to fire

I cut 1/4" to 1" squares of the different glasses I planned to use, stacked them two pieces high on the kiln shelf, and fired them to a full fuse to create glass circles. Some of the glass that I planned to use for the leaves I also cut in shapes other than squares.

Testing the mosaic design on paper
Testing the mosaic design on paper

I measured the chairback which came out roughly to 4x14.5", and drew out a pattern for the design on paper. I then laid out the glass pieces, and once I liked the design, glued them to the bare wood using GE Silicone II (which is an excellent glue for bonding glass). 

Mosaic pieces glued in place
Mosaic pieces glued in place

Once I began gluing the pieces in place, I decided to deviate some from my original idea (I felt like the design was getting too busy). I let the glue dry overnight, with the chair lying so that the chairback was flat and level. The next day I painted the remaining bare wood, using some of the colored acrylic paints to fill in the spaces between the glass so that the bare wood did not show through. Once the paint was dry I cleaned up any paint that got on the glass with an exacto blade.

The painted seat
The painted seat

The hydrangea design on the seat of the chair was painted with Martha Stewart brand acrylic paints that I found at Michaels. These are supposed to be suitable for indoor or outdoor use and more resistant to fading.

Completed chairback
Completed chairback
I let the acrylic paint dry a few days and then painted the entire chair with Minwax Polycrylic protective coating, and followed up with a second coat a day later. I used polycrylic rather than polyurethane, because in my research on painting chairs I read it was less likely to yellow (since it is water-based rather than oil-based), and less likely to change the color of the paint underneath.

Fused glass mosaic chair - Before and After!
Fused glass mosaic chair -
Before and After! 

I really enjoyed the challenge of doing something a bit different from my usual fused glass work. I'm very happy with how the chair turned out, despite my limited artistic painting abilities! I hope this information will inspire you to pull out a paint brush, and bring new life back into an old chair!



The Artists' Gallery, Cache Valley Center for the Arts

Information on the Chair-ity Challenge (note that this link may eventually expire)

For instructional videos on glass fusing, see Bullseye Glass Educational Videos (click banner below)
Bullseye Kiln-glass Education Online

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Glass Craft and Bead Expo, 2016

Free-flow fused glass dish/candle holder
Free-flow fused glass dish/candle holder
The Glass Craft and Bead Expo is a glass conference held annually in Las Vegas. I've attended for several years now, and in late March once again made the trek south to take a couple of classes, meet with friends, and walk the exhibit hall to see the latest in fused glass products.

 Of particular note this year was a class that I took with Lisa Vogt. The class was called "Fireworks", and it was a full-day lecture covering a variety of topics. In Lisa's well-prepared slide shows she talked about design theory, creating fused glass sinks, painting with frit, a new technique she calls free flow, slumping, combining iron & glass for sculpture, glass casting, pot melts, embossing, and stenciling. Whew! It was a great class that left me full of ideas and with a long list of new things to try. Lisa is an excellent teacher, and I would love to make it to her studio some day.

Supplies, Glass Craft & Bead Expo
Supplies, Glass Craft & Bead Expo
No Expo experience would be complete without picking up at least a few new supplies to experiment with. Among the things I purchased were a set of Colors for Earth paints, a glass slitter (a diamond dremel wheel for cutting through glass) and some Buttercut sandblast resist from His Glassworks, two packages of dichroic glass from CBS, two jars of Uroboros glass powder, Verre Eglomise supplies, and a renewal of my Bullseye Educational Video subscription (which came with a free sheet of their new petrified wood glass).

GM68 wave appetizer mold makes a nice candleholder
The wave appetizer mold makes a nice candleholder

All-in-all it was a fun and inspiring weekend. I've only just started working on my long list of ideas, but one of the things I have tried is Lisa's free flow technique. The candle holder at the top of this post and shown left is from my free flow firing. The piece from this was fused, cut on a tile saw, cold-worked, and then slumped in Creative Paradise's GM68 wave appetizer mold. There's still another piece of this free-flow glass which will eventually find its way into another fused glass design. While there are a few things I learned for the next time I fire a free-flow, I'm happy with the piece and excited about the potential for adding color, movement, and depth to my fused glass creations.

There are several other projects I want to try, and hopefully a blog post or two will result from my efforts. Until then, happy spring!
Verre Eglomise created in class with Peggy Stewart
Verre Eglomise created
in class with Peggy Stewart



Lisa Vogt, website
His Glassworks
Colors for Earth paints
Uroboros glass
CBS glass
Creative Paradise (GM68 mold)
Bullseye Educational Video, click the banner below:
Bullseye Kiln-glass Education Online