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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.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Using Fiber Paper to Modify a Fused Glass Mold

Black and white fused glass butter dish
Black and white fused glass butter dish
I was recently asked to create a fused glass butter dish based on the design of a cheese platter I had made. When I designed the butter dish I decided to make it 4.25" x 7", which was one of the standard sizes I found when looking on-line at commercial dishes. While this may be a common size for a butter dish, it's not necessarily a common size for a fused glass mold. I did have a small sushi mold that was 5 x 7.75".

There's quite often no problem slumping into a mold larger than your piece of glass. However, I did have concerns about having the edge of the dish raised sufficiently so that the butter would not spill over the side of the dish if the butter melted. To get a better raised edge, I modified the mold with fiber paper. The short tutorial below shows how it was done.


Mold and glass piece to be slumped
Mold and glass piece to be slumped

At left you can see the fused glass mold that I used, along with the piece of glass to be slumped.

Side profile of mold
Side profile of mold

This shows a side profile of the mold. The raised edge would be fine if the glass were cut full-size. However, because the glass was smaller than the mold, I was concerned it would not be raised enough to keep melted butter from spilling over. 

Use a sharp blade the cut the fiber paper
Use a sharp blade the cut
the fiber paper

I used a sharp blade to cut a piece of 1/4" thick fiber paper to the size of the glass. I laid the glass and fiber paper on my cutting mat (long ago stolen from my sewing supplies!) and used the glass itself as a guide for cutting the fiber paper.

Tip: For a sharp blade, you can use an Exacto knife or small box cutter.

The glass and the fiber paper rim that will be placed on the mold
The glass and the fiber paper rim
that will be placed on the mold

After cutting the outside edge, I marked a 1/4" inside my fiber paper rectangle and cut it out with the blade.

Tip: Try to cut the inside border using one continuous cut, and avoid raising the blade from the fiber paper. This will result in the smoothest inside edge. 

Fiber paper rim placed on mold
Fiber paper rim placed on mold

This picture shows the rim of fiber paper that was cut, placed on the mold. 

Ready for firing
Ready for firing

The glass is placed on the fiber paper, and into the kiln it goes for the slump.  

Back of slumped glass
Back of slumped glass

Here is the back of the finished piece, which shows the raised edge of the dish. 

Profile of slumped glass
Profile of slumped glass

And finally, here is the profile of the slumped butter dish.

I hope this quick tutorial sparks ideas about how you might modify your favorite fused glass mold to create a new and interesting shape. If you have questions, leave a comment below!

Best, Dana

Want to learn more about fused glass? 

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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Fused Glass Painting Class with Shelley Long

Finished fused glass Winter Rivers Scene
Finished fused glass Winter Rivers Scene
As part of its educational program, the Glass Art Guild of Utah hosts classes a few times each year. In late January, the Guild brought in ceramic and glass artist Shelley Long for a three-day multi-layer glass painting class. The class was hosted in the home studio of Guild artist Kathy Watt, and I was lucky enough to be able to attend.

I have worked with glass paints, but my results have been mixed. I was looking forward to learning how to better use the paints, and also learning more about creating thicker, layered glasswork. The class with Shelley provided all this and more!

Shelley works exclusively with Colors for Earth glass paints. These powdered enamels are mixed with a medium to get the desired painting consistency. We jumped right in the first hour mixing paints, while Shelley talked about various painting techniques to ensure good coverage of paints, shading, and watercolor washes. Over the course of three days we painted six different pieces of glass to create Shelley's Winter Rivers Scene design. The last day Shelley discussed breaking down a photograph of our own for a layered design, as well as damming and firing the final piece.

Shelley and her amazing three-dimensional glass paintings
Shelley and her amazing
three-dimensional glass paintings
The class was a great, long-weekend glass get-away, filled with good food, good conversation, laughter, handmade chocolates (thanks, Mary Young!), and of course fused glass and new painting techniques.

If you have the opportunity to take a class with Shelley, I very much recommend it. While "live" classes are invaluable, if taking a class with Shelley isn't an option, check out the list of Resources below. Shelley offers several glass painting tutorials on her web site, including the Winter Rivers scene that was the subject of the class (check out the video below for a sneak peek!)

Thank you, Shelley and the Glass Art Guild of Utah for a great learning opportunity!



Shelley Long, Winter Rivers tutorial
Bullseye Glass, Working Deep tip sheet
Glass Art Guild of Utah,
Colors for Earth glass enamels,

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Painting tools of the trade!
Painting tools of the trade!

Guild member Andrea Tatkon-Coker works on her sky
Guild member Andrea Tatkon-Coker
works on her sky

Shelley and Guild member Julianne Tronier
Shelley and Guild member Julianne Tronier

Having too much fun!
Connie Lundberg, Barb Wesley, Mary Young and Kaleen Knight
(clockwise from the top left)