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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.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Fused Glass Garden Stakes

Finished Garden Stakes
Finished Garden Stakes



The following is a tutorial for creating fused glass garden stakes. I had a few objectives for this project. First, I wanted to try out the new Fuse Master Easy Fire Gold Metallic enamel I'd purchased. I also wanted to try my idea for mounting glass on copper tubing (nothing particularly innovative, but I wanted to see if it would work), and lastly, well... I thought I might as well make something colorful for the garden as summer is winding down.

Following is a rough outline of the steps. I apologize in advance for the poor quality photos and the black background for most pictures -- this was a "snap 'em quick" as you go kind of project!



Materials

Yes, plain old silicone
Yes, plain old silicone
Fuse Master Metallic Gold
Fuse Master Metallic Gold
  • Glass: I used most of a 16x16" sheet of Wissmach luminescent, scrap clear, some scrap dichroic, and frit
  • 1/8" fiber paper
  • Fuse Master Easy Fire Gold Metallic enamel
  • Medium for enamel.* 
  • White Glue
  • 1/4" OD copper tubing (hardware store)
  • Copper tubing cutter (hardware store)
  • 10 ft roll of copper tubing and cutter
    10 ft roll of copper tubing
    and cutter
  • GE Silicone (hardware store)
*I used Colors for Earth that I had on hand. Fuse Master sells a medium specifically for their enamels. You could also use Unique Glass Color medium, or any medium you have on hand that will allow you to mix the enamels to a painting consistency.




Tutorial

Cut sheet glass
Cut sheet glass


Start by cutting the sheet glass into wavy shapes. I wasn't too particular -- this was a science project!

Pair off the wavy shapes and place them in pleasing arrangements. I overlapped the lower part of the glass pieces, but not the upper. I cut pieces of clear for the bottoms of each pair of shapes. 



Fiber paper capped with clear top view
Fiber paper capped with clear top view
Fiber paper capped with clear front view
Fiber paper capped with
clear front view
This clear and the single layer of base glass underneath it created the sandwich for two approximately 1/4" wide strips of fiber paper, stacked on top of each other. I glued the two pieces of fiber paper, then glued the stack to the bottom piece of base glass.



Add decorative paint
Add decorative paint
Paint helps hide the channel
Paint helps hide
the channel



Mix the gold metallic enamels with the medium to a painting consistency (about heavy cream) and get creative with your swirls of color. You can put some paint on the clear layer covering the fiber paper to help hide the channel once the stakes are fired.


Into the kiln and decorated with frit
Into the kiln and
decorated with frit
Place the pieces on a kiln-washed shelf in the kiln. Decorate the pieces with crushed clear glass, dichroic, and medium to coarse frit. Try to keep the frit away from the edges, so you have minimal clean up of sharp edges after firing. 

Fire these pieces to a contour fuse. The goal is to soften the frit and edges of glass so they are not sharp, while still maintaining texture.

Here's my firing schedule. You may need to adjust for your kiln.



Segment
Rate/Hr
Temp (F)
Hold
1
300
1100
30
2
100
1250
60
3
500
1430
10
4
AFAP
950
120
-
OFF



After firing, clean up any sharp edges using a diamond hand pad or grinder (with a grinder, it is harder to get into the narrow crevices where two pieces come together). Wash the pieces well, and remove the fiber paper. I used a metal "dental hook" kind of tool to carefully pull out the pieces of fiber paper (do this while the fiber paper is wet to avoid creating airborne fiber). I stress carefully here -- you don't want to crack your glass during the process!

The pieces of fiber paper should have created nice little channels. Use the copper tube cutting tool to cut the stakes on which your glass will be mounted. I cut my pieces of tubing roughly the same length as the glass was tall. Whatever length you choose, keep in mind that some of the tubing will be placed in the ground. You need enough extra so the tubing and glass sit firmly when installed. 

Crimp the tubing with channellocks
Crimp the tubing with
channellocks




Use a channellock wrench to flatten one end of each piece of copper tubing. The flattened area needs to be roughly the length of the glass channel created by the fiber paper.








Silicone and flattened copper tubing in the channel
Silicone and flattened copper
tubing in the channel


Squeeze GE Silicone into the glass channels, and insert the flattened end of the tubing. I used enough silicone to fill most of the void in the channel when the tubing was inserted. 

Set the stakes aside and let them dry, undisturbed, for 24 hours.

When placing your completed garden stakes in the ground, grasp the tubing and push it in -- do not push on the glass or you risk cracking the glass channels.


Close-up of finished piece
Close-up of finished piece

Bella performs quality control on the installation. This is her garden, afterall!
Bella performs quality control on the
installation. This is her garden, afterall!
I happily met my objectives with this project. I tested out the Easy Fire Gold Metallic enamel (which I love!), I tested my idea for mounting the glass onto the copper, and I added a little fall color to the garden. Bella, however, looks a little stern... maybe she doesn't approve of the color?



I hope this quick tutorial gives you the information you need to create some beautiful glass art for your own garden! 

Happy fusing,
Dana

Resources

Want to learn more about fused glass? Check out the following great resources:
Bullseye Kiln-glass Education Online