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Using the Frit Plate and Square Paperweight Molds

Suitable for Sierra & Paragon SC2

This project is suitable for beginners and those with experience. I've combined them into this one project because they are very similar.

 

Before you start: Coat your kiln shelf and the inside of your mold with kiln wash. If you mold is new it make take a few passes to fully cover as the steel will repel the wash. Some folks like to heat the mold to 500 degrees as it coats easier.... I just go over it a few times and it's fine. You don't have to coat every time you use it unless you scratch off the wash. The wash must be 100% dry before you start. Coat your mold unassembled if it is one of the newer 2 part molds. Touch it up if you scratch the wash when you put it back together.

Things to think about: You can use any kind of fusible scrap or frit in these molds. Realize that the smaller the pieces of glass, the more opaque the end result will be. This is because tiny pockets of air will be attached to each piece of glass. I like some air bubbles as they add a sense of randomness and chance to the piece but too many bubbles and you loose the translucency of glass that I love so much.  In general, I use Cullet which is sort of giant frit. It is for casting and was used in the square paperweight above. You can still see air bubbles because I also use crushed dichroic glass.

Cullet - Neo Lavendar

If you use opaque glass then you will not see through your dish/weight (duh).

FRIT PLATE Square PaperWeight
I used stringer, frit and sheet glass to fill this mold. I used cullet and smashed (hammer and diaper) dichroic glass to fill this one.
Tiny Slumper

Coat the mold with kiln wash. Triangle Mold.

tiny slumper

Coat the mold before assembly.

Making a tiny plate

Set the triangle Mold on your kiln shelf.

Tiny Plate in the Kiln

Set the mold on the kiln shelf.

Put the top layer of your dish in the mold first.

Fill your mold with glass as desired.

(Paperweight mold filled with cullet & dichro.)

Put the layer that will be the bottom of your dish into the mold.

(Frit plate mold with final layer.)

Place your kiln shelf with the filled mold into the center of your kiln.

(Paperweight mold in kiln ready to fire.)

in the works....

 

Image of paperweight after firing. As you can see this one has some very sharp, bumpy things sticking out of the top edges. It will require some grinding and then fire polishing. Also compare the height of the glass to the mold and then look at the image above of the mold filled with glass before firing. It was filled nearly to the top but now is about 1/2 way... which is the size I was actually shooting for....

  Image of paperweight after grinding:

In addition to grinding the edges, I use diamond sanding pads to leave a very smooth surface. The top of this piece is the same as the top in the image above where you see all the pick'eds. I decided to use this actual top (viewed from top of mold) as the top of my piece since it came out so nicely. If I wasn't going to sand by hand I would have used the bottom as the top because it is very flat already.

  Image of paperweight after fire polishing: in the works - I forgot to take a picture and I sold it.. sorry.....
  • Fillng the mold:

    • The top of the glass as you load it into the mold is the BOTTOM of your piece. So put the decorations you want on the top in first so that they touch the kiln shelf.

    • How much glass? That really depends on how big your pieces are and how thick you want your piece to be. Remember that there is air between each piece and, once fused, that air will be gone (for the most part) so that little pile of glass that is now 4 inches high may only be 1/2" high after fusing. NOTE: FRIT PLATE MOLDS ARE NOT INTENDED TO BE USED IN THE SAME MANNER AS THE PAPERWEIGHT MOLD. DO NOT FILL THEM TO THE TOP AS THEY MAY WARP FROM THE PRESSURE. WE WILL NOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR DAMAGE TO THE MOLD IF YOU USE IT IN A MANNER IT WAS NOT DESIGNED FOR, IF YOU DON'T COAT IT WITH KILN WASH PROPERLY OR IF YOU BEND IT.

 

  • Put kiln shelf in kiln, put mold in center of kiln shelf.

 

  • Close your kiln and fire at full speed (as fast as your kiln can go) till it reaches full fuse temp. Hold for 10 minutes (you may have to adjust this for your kiln). My kiln full fuses at 1490; adjust your temps according to your kilns needs. Because we are firing little bits of glass we can go full speed. If and when you fire polish or slump these pieces you will have to slow down.

 

  • DO NOT OPEN THE KILN UNTIL THE KILN IS UNDER 200 DEGREES OR YOUR PIECES WILL CRACK!

 

  • Remove the cooled glass from the mold. It may drop right out or you may have to remove the mold clips and take the mold apart. Look out for very sharp little spiky things on the edges. If you overfire you will get more of those than if you fire just right. Any spiky things, aka widow makers, aka pick'eds, will have to be filed or ground off. Then you can polish by hand or fire polish... slumping if desired.

 

  • Fire Polishing: Because this piece is thick we need to proceed with caution. Firing too rapidly will cause your piece to crack. It is better to err on the side of caution! Place your piece into the kiln on a prepared kiln shelf. Using the SC2, I fire at Speed 2 or 200 degrees per hour to 1365 and hold for 10 minutes, then lower the temp as fast as possible to 960 and hold for 4 hours to anneal, then allow the kiln to cool to room temperature as fast as possible. This will take several hours. You need to be careful here because if you over fire when firepolishing then you will flatten out your paperweight and the edges will sort of pillow out too.

 

  • NOTE: Every kiln is different so you may have to play with this schedule a little to find the optimal temp and hold time for your kiln. It is better to underfire and have to fire AGAIN than to overfire... like salt in the soup ... you can put more in but you can't take it out! 

  • The frit plate molds will not create PERFECT shapes... not a perfect triangle, square or circle.... the exact shape is determined by how you close the clips, how you put the 2 halves together, whether you bend the mold while removing the glass or putting the  mold together. If you MUST have an exact square etc... do not use these molds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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