For the last two years I have been experimenting with fused glass with my high school students, and for personal use. I immediately fell in love with the puzzle-like method of piecing together my designs. My high schoolers always claim this assignment as one of their favorites. The forgiving nature of glass creates a very predictable outcome (to read more about my fused glass lesson check it out here).
After I got a handle on fused glass basics, I decided to branch out and see what else glass-making had to offer. In my pursuit of fusing knowledge, I discovered glass paint. It opened a whole new world of adding design to my pieces, and I have loved every minute of experimenting with it.
Glass paint enables you to easily add organic shapes and designs to your pieces. I now use glass paint to scribble bird nests, write words, and add thin lines to my birch tree plates.
To create my birch tree plates I begin with white glass, black and white or blue glass, and a sheet of clear glass. I cut the clear glass to a 10″ circle, then cut strips of white and black glass. I lay them on top of the clear, then cut the edges to curve along the edge of the circular, clear sheet. I alternate the white, for the birch trees, and the other color, for the background. A couple drops of Elmer’s glue helps keep the glass in place as I work.
Once the clear sheet is filled with the stripes, I flip it over, leaving the clear on top of the striped pattern. I use black glass paint to paint thin lines on the white glass stripes, to add detail to the trees. Every now and then I scribble a tree knot before moving on to the next set of thin lines.
After the details are added I place the glass piece in the kiln, stripes on the bottom, clear sheet in the middle, and glass paint details on top. I fire the kiln up once, to fuse the glass to one layer, then set it in a mold and fire the glass a second time. The glass melts just enough to take the shape of the plate mold.
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