Glass Fusing FAQ's| Frequently Asked Questions
- What is dichroic glass?
- Can dichroic glass be fused together with other glasses?
- Do you teach glass fusing classes?
- Is glass fusing the same as glass lampworking?
- I need a place to do my glass work. Do you provide open studio access?
- Can you use dichroic glass for glass blowing?
- Why does dichroic glass have multiple colors?
- What is the firing temperature for dichroic glass?
- What is tack fuse?
- What is a full fuse?
- What is slumping?
- Can I use your kiln to fire my glass work?
- How do you slump (flatten) wine bottles?
- What is needed to slump a wine bottle or any glass bottle?
- What is the rationale for slumping glass bottles?
- My slumped wine bottle broke; can I fix it?
- Can you recycle a glass bottle that has been previously slumped?
- I have a wine bottle from my wedding; can I get it slumped by you?
- What types of bottles can you slump?
- What are the uses for slumped wine bottles?
- Can I paint a glass bottle that has been slumped?
- Can you shape slumped wine bottles?
- Can I fuse two glass bottles together?
- Do you offer classes in other art forms?
What is Dichroic Glass?
Dichroic glass is glass that has been coated with many layers of gold, silver and metal oxides like titanium, platinum, copper, cobalt, etc. But you may ask, "how come I can still see through the layers?" The answer is simple, these layer are so thin (less than35 millionths of an inch!) that, although you have up to 50 layers, you can see right thru them. The ultra thin coatings give dichroic glass a colorful, gemstone appearance that it is highly desirable. The luminance quality, range of colors and variations, patterns and textures that you get from these precious metals makes dichroic glass a beautiful artistic medium to work with. It is used to make glass jewelry, stained glass panels and glass artwork.
Can dichroic glass be fused together with other glasses?
Different glasses, whether they are dichroic or regular glass, can be fused together as long as they have the same COE (coefficient of expansion or the rate that glass expands or contracts during fusion). In order to fuse 2 or more different pieces of glass together they need to be compatible, (their COE's must match). Most fusible glass is "tested compatible", meaning you can take two different pieces of glass, fuse them and not worry about the combined mixture of glass breaking or creating stress fractures because one piece of glass is expanding while the other may be contracting.
Do you teach glass fusing classes?
Yes, we teach warm glass fusing arts and crafts classes where you learn to make unique dichroic glass jewelry and artwork in less than two hours.
Is glass fusing the same as glass lampworking?
Glass fusing (also know as warm glass) involves cutting and assembling raw glass pieces into artistic patterns and melting the final pattern in a kiln. In lampworking, also called beading and flameworking, a gas torch is used to melt the glass while shaping it into artistic patterns as it melts using special shaping tools. We also teach lampworking|flameworking|hot glass torch beading art classes at our studio. No glass fusing or torch experience is needed to take this class.
I need a place to do my glass work. Do you provide open studio access?
Yes, you can access our facilities for a day or join a monthly membership plan - see our open studio glass fusing dichroic membership access program.
Can you use dichroic glass for glass blowing?
Yes you can. You really need to be careful with the quality of the dichroic glass. Poor quality dichroic glass can lead to burnouts and lackluster color performance at the extremely high temperatures used in glass blowing. I believe that CBS Dichro has the best quality dichroic glass around, but I recommend you try out different manufacturers of dichroic glass before buing large quantities of glass material from anyone.
Why does dichroic glass have multiple colors?
The multiple colors of the dichroic glass is due to the reflection and refraction properties of the metals used to create the layers. Different layers give you different reflections and light transmissions. Usually a piece of dichroic glass has a name with two colors, the color you see during reflection and the color you see as light passes through the glass.
What is the firing temperature for Dichroic Glass?
Dichroic glass is fused at temperatures ranging from 1200 - 1500 degrees Fahrenheit. This range of temperatures varies depending on the type of firing that you require. Lower temperatures are for slumping, medium temperatures are for tack fusing and kiln forming and high temperatures are for full fusing and glass blowing.
What is a tack fuse?
In tack fusing glass pieces are heated up until they get a little sticky (i.e. tacky) but before changing into a liquid state and blending. The glass pieces will then join together while maintaining the 3D original placement of the glass layers.
Can I use your kiln to fire my glass work?
Yes, we charge by the cubic inch and depending on whether it is low fire or high fire. You can pay by the piece or rent the kiln. Kiln rental is $50 for low fire bisque or $65 for high fire. We can accommodate pieces as large as 25" x 28".
How do you slump (flatten) wine bottles
To slump a wine bottle (or any glass bottle), clean the bottle thoroughly and remove all the labels and wine (of course removing the wine is often the best part!). Next, put the bottle on a kiln shelf (you need special kiln wash to make sure the glass doesn't stick) and turn on the kiln! You must heat the bottle until around 1200-1400 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the desired result... a fully fused flattened bottle or a semi-flattened bottle.
What is needed to slump a wine bottle or any glass bottle?
You need a commercial kiln, preferably digitally controlled, to take the temperature up high enough to get the glass to melt. Some knowledge of basic kiln-forming principles, thermal shock, annealing and devitrification is also needed.
What is the rationale for slumping glass bottles?
Well that's easy! Empty glass bottles are no longer useful to you and you have to get rid of them. why not recycle and re-purpose them for new and creative uses by slumping them - see bottle slumping | melted glass art crafts | glass fusing artwork. The slumped bottles can be used as beautiful functional and decorative artwork pieces or as unique gifts.
My slumped wine bottle broke; can I fix it?
If you really want to, yes you can. It would require re-firing it in the kiln and overlapping the broken areas. The shape might not be the same as what you originally started with, but it is still doable.
I have a wine bottle from my wedding; can I get it slumped by you?
Of course you can! It is an amazing way to make something useful out of something meaningful. You can have your glass bottle slumped flat or shaped as decorative artwork. Currently we offer three different shapes.
What types of bottles can you slump?
You can slump any glass bottle or glass container you have as long as it isn't contaminated with metals, then you may have problems with the slumping process. I have slumped Grey Goose bottles; and they look amazing, wine bottles, Bawls bottles, SoBe bottles and liquor bottles. The bottles that are painted such as the Grey Goose bottles are really cool because you still get to see the design and logo in the bottle after the slumping.
What are the uses for slumped wine bottles?
Uses for slumped wine bottles (and any slumped bottles for that matter) are pretty limitless. I will list a few here, but I am sure I will forget many: wall or table decorations, sushi plates, cheese/cracker trays, sun catchers, wind chimes, personalized mementos, picture frames, incense burners, candle holders, kitchen spoon holders, bar cutting boards, ...
Can I paint a glass bottle that has been slumped?
Yes you can! You need to buy glass paints at a local craft store (we use Pebeo glass paints which I believe Michaels sells to the public). After painting a bottle, you must bake it in a house oven at around 350 degrees for about 40 minutes, and voila, personalized wine bottle decorations. We host paint your own pottery day of fun parties at our studio where people come to paint our slumped bottles, or bring their own bottles to be slumped by us and paint them later at at their home or at our studio.
Can you shape slumped wine bottles?
You can slump glass bottles or glass pieces into various shapes! The slumping process is the same as the one previously described except that, instead of placing a bottle or glass piece directly on a kiln shelf, you place it on a mold that has the shape you desire. The slumped glass will come out of the kiln as an almost exact replica of the mold you used.
Can I fuse two glass bottles together?
This a tricky question. Yes and no is the answer. You can definitely not fuse two bottles from different manufacturers. The reason is they may not have the same COE and, in between the fused layers, they will break away from each other. You could possibly fuse two bottles from the same manufacturer but over time there might be variations in the glass they use to make the bottles that might make them incompatible. So the answer is yes, but with hesitations. As long as you don't get your hopes up, you may end up with a master piece or just shards of glass.
Do you offer classes in other art forms?
We also teach hand building and wheel throwing pottery arts and crafts classes as well as glass torch lamp working arts and crafts classes at our South Florida studio,