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Using our Casting Molds

 

 

In this project we will use the Hummingbird Mold and a new product called Liquid Stringer with Frit, Cullet and Bits of Sheet Art Glass. This is an easy beginner project and suitable for children. Feel free to use this project with your students as long as you give me credit. Discounts available on molds for teachers when you purchase 6 or more....we can't do this automatically so inquire.

Note: For the smaller jewelry molds you can use the same process OR you can simply use tiny bits of dichroic and art glass. (See the NEW Belt Buckle Project too)

 

 

What you'll need:
  • One of our Casting Molds (we're using the hummingbird but you can adapt it to the others)
  • Liquid Stringer
  • Frit (powdered or small size recommended as it has to form a flow-able liquid)
    • I used Black, Spring Green, Red and Sage Green
  • Cullet or broken bits of sheet glass (scrap works well)
  • Some sort of squeeze bottle with a nozzle (old glue bottles work well)
 

Select the colors you want to use.  You'll need one squeeze bottle for each color. Recycled condiment bottles work fine (mustard, honey etc....). Mix each color according to the directions on the Liquid Stringer Bottle. I usually need to add a little water to make it pourable but don't add too much.

NOTE: Your mold should be prepared beforehand with kiln wash. I use a small brush to get into the detail areas.

 

First, I added black for the eyes and beak and red for the throat. When the red & black were mostly dry I added spring green over the eye for the face and sage green for the wings. When the second set of colors were dry I covered the entire thing with spring green.
Finished Hummingbird Finished Butterfly

 

After adding all the liquid string colors for the details, I let the frit dry (this may take a few hours or a day). Once dry I filled the rest of the mold with spring green frit (you can use scrap pieces of sheet glass as well). Unlike the hemisphere paperweight mold, I don't pile this mold up high as I find the piece is too thick.  You can control the thickness by not filling too high.

Once FULLY dry and filled you are ready to fire your piece.  Fire you kiln at 500 degrees per hour to 1000 and then full speed to full fuse temp (my kilns range from 1350 - 1540 for full fuse depending on the size/make of the kiln).  Once at full fuse hold for 30 minutes (or until the 'top' is smooth and flat). Let cool to room temperature before removing from kiln. 

Turn the mold over; your piece may pop right out.  If it doesn't then gently tap the bottom and it should come out with no problem.  NOW you probably have kiln wash on the piece and there may be some sharp bit on the edges. 

Use a sickle stone, sandpaper or metal file to remove the sharp bits. Wear safety glasses. You can also grind the edges but then you'll have to decide if you want to fire polish or live with a few marks.  (see fire polishing info on hemisphere paperweight project)

Once the piece is REALLY cool, drop it into a container of water and let it soak for a few minutes. I usually then run it under the water in the sink and use a soft brush to remove the kiln wash stuck in the details.

Voila! You are finished. Now what are you going to do with this lovely hunk of glass?

 

Ideas for using your thingy:

*Add a copper bracket and tube to make a garden stake

*Use it in a larger mosaic or stained glass piece

*Glue on a bail and use as a sun catcher or ornament

*Paperweight

 

Butterfly with bracket & tube

 

Notes: Regarding annealing - purists* will say you must anneal these but I don't. I'm not making these for production or for resale, just for my own gratification, garden and friends. You CAN anneal them but I haven't had any problems with them.  If I WERE going to sell them, I would anneal them. Annealing time depends on how thick you're making them and which one (which mold) you use. If you use the schedule from the  hemisphere paperweight you'll be fine...just add it to your cool down cycle.

*There is a definite science involved with fusing and it's good to follow the rules when you're learning.  We recommend getting a good book and for that we recommend WARM GLASS which we sell.  However, I am pragmatic about things and take the easiest, shortest route to getting things done WHILE STILL PRODUCING A QUALITY  PRODUCT. This involves some risk. You have to decide for yourself how far you're willing to stray from the 'rules'.  Remember, if a piece gets ruined you can MAKE ANOTHER ONE...and you learn a lot more from the mistakes you make than from your successes. Just don't stray so far that you are working in an unsafe manner! Live a little, take a chance, experiment and above all don't get so tied up in creating the great American (or wherever) masterpiece that you're afraid to make a mistake.... you'll never grow that way!

 

Notes: The larger the particles of glass used, the more transparent your finished piece will be. When you fire a small bit of air gets trapped along with each particle of glass so the more bits of glass, the more air.  The air caused the piece to be opaque. This can be prevented by firing VERY slowly to allow the air to escape but for this project we are firing simply and quickly SO I recommend using the largest bit of glass you have available whether it be cullet or sheet glass.

 

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Page Updated: 11/25/11   Prices subject to change without notice.

 

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