I’ve been interested for a while in creating a woven glass plate - look on Pinterest for that phrase, and there are tons of beautiful examples. Plus it just seems counter-intuitive at first - to create a woven plate out of glass, so I wanted to make one.
Woven Plate Supplies
You’ll need the following items to create one of these plates:
Weave Mold - This is the one I used, but there are other options too. You can buy a package of bars to place yourself to give you more options - I liked that I couldn’t go wrong with spacing using the mold.
Square Plate Slump Mold
Glass! I use Bullesye COE 90 glass for everything. I also used Bullseye stringers, but that’s optional.
Woven Plate - Steps
Step 1 - Choosing your glass
The crucial first step is to plan your project - what colors do you want to use? How big should the end result be? Do you have the right glass onhand to achieve the result you want? I used three colors with an accent stringer in this example, but you could get a great result with more or fewer colors too. This step can sometimes take me the longest, and I can spend a lot of time sorting through glass colors to decide what looks best together. For this example, I ended up picking a dark blue, teal green, and cream - all opaque. The red-orange stringer was a last-minute addition that I’m super glad I made, as it made all the difference in the finished plate, which you’ll see at the end.
Step 2 - Glass Cutting
When researching this project, I was also working my way through the tutorial videos on the Bullseye site - for just $45 per year, you get access to a ton of informative videos, which I have found to be helpful and inspiring. One of these videos mentioned that glass ‘wants to’ break in half - so if you have a bunch of thin pieces to cut, it’s best to cut the larger piece in half, then half again, half again, etc, rather than trying to ‘chip off’ each piece from the larger whole.
I took that advice, and the cutting for this project went very smoothly! I decided that my plate would be 11 strips x 11 strips- so I needed 11 cream colored pieces, 6 dark blue, and 5 teal. Everything was 1/2” wide. I decided to have the extra piece be dark blue instead of teal so the darker color would anchor the plate on either end. I used the normal score/snap method for cutting. A few pieces broke, but I had enough extra glass that it didn’t matter.
Step 3 - Prep weaving mold and make ziggy pieces
We just need to make the ‘ziggy pieces’ now - the strips that will be turned 90 degrees will be inserted straight (no firing) before the tack fuse. You’ll see.
To make the zigs, I laid alternating blue and teal strips on the mold. The picture is after firing, as I neglected to take one beforehand. I found that the edges shrink inward (using one thickness of 3 mm glass) during firing, so you can place the strips quite close together and not have them fuse together. (I first planned for 13 pieces and fired that many, but quickly discovered that was too many for this size plate.)
For this mold, I used the following firing schedule (my schedules are all in degrees Fahrenheit, and the order is Ramp/Temperature/Hold Time in minutes):
I think that when I make another of these, I will increase the temperature and/or time in Step 2 - I found that the strips didn’t quite dip all the way into the concave parts of the mold. They were also a little stuck to the mold - I was able to loosen them, but should look into why this happened to avoid it for next time. (one of the many advantages of this blog, to record in one place what I did and should do differently in the future!) See the pic on the right - you can see the space between the strip and the bottom. It’s not THAT bad, but it was challenging to insert the cream pieces, which I think would be easier if the ziggy pieces were fully conformed to the mold.
After firing, I did a little grinding of the zigs where there were weird burrs, and on the ends. I think that the higher temp or longer time at the high temperature would give a more even result though.
Every kiln has different results, so please don’t assume yours will produce the same result as mine - the fusing schedule above might be a good starting point, but you’ll want to experiment and adjust accordingly.
Step 4: Preparing to Tack Fuse the Weave
OK, now you’ve created the woven pieces for one direction - for the other direction, it’s much easier. First, decide which half of the ‘zigs’ you’ll turn upside down, and do so, alternating pieces. I turned the teal pieces upside down from how they’d been fired.
You’ll then thread in the ‘zags’ (for me, the cream). Probably because my zigs didn’t fully sink into the crevices of the weave mold, I found this to be a little difficult, and I had to strategically order the zigs and zags so I could thread in all the zags.
But it all worked out in the end, and looking at the piece pre-fusing, I could see that I was missing something, color wise - that’s when I grabbed my 1 mm stringer assortment to look for a good accent color and pulled out the orange. Every other strip having an accent looked right to me, so that’s what I went with.
Step 4: Tack fusing
For the tack fuse, I used the following schedule:
This worked well for my kiln, and I’d do this again.
Step 6: Slump
So what’s the point of all of this if you don’t create a useful item or nice piece of art, right? My last step was to slump the woven piece into a square plate mold, using the following fusing schedule:
Like the tack fuse step, I was happy with these results (again, for my kiln, yours may be different) and would use the same firing schedule next time. This was a fun project, and the resulting plate can be used as a fruit plate, or I can also imagine it with slices of crusty bread on a dinner table. Or for use as an appetizer plate or a ‘key dish’ for an entryway - lots of great options.