Woven glass plate - tutorial

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

fused_glass_weave_mold.JPG

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):

400/1020/20

900/1370/30

AFAP/980/30

400/300/<end>

fused_glass_weave_mold_results.jpg

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

fused_glass_woven_plate_before_tack.jpg

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:

300/1150/30

200/1325/20

AFAP/950/60

150/700/10

300/300/0

This worked well for my kiln, and I’d do this again.

Step 6: Slump

fused_glass_woven_plate_finished.jpg

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:

400/1265/30

AFAP/960/60

150/700/<end>

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.

Puddle Melting

puddle_melt_pendants.jpg

I've just completed four firings in 3 days, and two of those firings were to create some awesome puddle melt pendants.  Every time a firing is finished, I'm stoked to open up the kiln, but this last run was especially cool because I really didn't know what I'd find.

 

Step 1:  Making the Puddles

puddle_melts_after_firing.jpg

First step was to make the puddles that would later be broken up to make the pendants (and other things - I have reserve puddle chunks for another day!).  I stacked up 6 3"x3" squares of glass, and put them in the kiln.  I made two piles, one with blues/green/white/grey, and another with pinks/purples/white.  I put them in the kiln on top of some shelf paper, and left plenty of room around them so they could spread out.  

 

When the glass is fired, it spreads out - the photo above shows the bottom of the resulting puddle - each layer flowed over the edge of the one below.  Size of the final puddle was about 5"x5" and 7/16" thick in the middle.  I used a full fuse firing schedule, holding at 1500F for 30 minutes.  This fire took about 6 hours.

Step 2:  Puddle Smash

glass_puddle_smash.jpg

To turn the puddles into usable chunks, they need broken up.  I tried score-and-snap, but it was way too thick for that.  I read people had luck scoring and hitting with a hammer, but for me that didn't break nicely and just shattered the puddle into 8-10 pieces.  That was fine though since it gave chunks I could start working with - but wouldn't be optimal if I was trying to get a lot of nice slices. 

 
puddle_slicing_taurus.jpg

I also ran the pink square thru the Taurus ring-saw, and the saw cut it like a champ.  But I don't want to use up my blade on these, so I probably won't try that again.  We do have a tile saw so I think I'll give that a go on some of the leftover puddle chunks.  

Anyways.  Use a hammer to break, or then I found that my mosaic tile-nippers worked well to break off the pieces for the pendants.  Whatever you do, wear your safety glasses!

I made a bunch of smallish pieces to fire as pendants.  It was hard to tell from the chunks how big the pendants would be so I weighed them as I broke them off - tried to aim for 6-15 grams in weight to get a variety of sizes.  I think I broke up about half of each puddle and I have other plans for the rest.

 

Step 3:  Second Firing

puddle_chunks_before_firing.jpg

I put shelf paper on the bottom of the kiln, and on top of that, placed the chunks up on end (so the stripes are visible from above, and fired again to a full fuse.  I wasn't sure how close to place them to each other so I left some space around them. 

Over on the left-hand side, I tried some other ideas with pieces of sheet glass topped off with dots or some of the skinny shards that came off the puddles when I was smashing them up.

 

I read on someone's page that it would be better to use shelf primer instead of paper since they'd round better - but I wanted to make max use of my kiln space and just put paper directly on the kiln floor (my shelf is a smaller area so I could only have made about 2/3 of this number).  And I like the irregular shapes!

puddle_melt_pendants_post_fire.jpg
puddle_melt_pendants_post_fire_2.jpg

The above 2 pictures were taken before pulling these out of the kiln so I can see how the different pieces melted - it was about like you'd expect, if the piece was on an angle then the top color is the primary one in the final pendant.  I might add decals to the ones that are more solid colored than the others.

final_puddle_melt_results.jpg

This was a fun project and I'm really happy with the results!  A couple of links that I referenced for making these are below:

And of course the possibilities are endless here - these will be necklaces or I think I'll try turning a couple of the smaller ones into pairs of earrings.  You could also use them in mosaics, stained glass, etc.  And I plan to make some more even slices out of the rest of my puddles to use in a plate project.