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One Step Vase/Votive using Floral Former

 

This is a very easy project suitable for beginners. Select a piece of art glass that you like. I prefer transparent colors but you should select whichever you like best. Blanks for these pieces can be pre-fired so that they are fairly complex but we are going to make a simple piece with ONE color and no adornments. For this project I've selected a piece of transparent red Bullseye glass.

Cut a piece that is about 10" x 10"; you don't have to kill yourself being exact! I cut the corners off of my square so that they are not sharp. I also grind both edges of the glass so that I'm sort of beveling them. This makes a horrible noise so you might want ear plugs BUT it allows you to fire polish and slump in one step because the edges are not sharp to begin with. See the image below to get the idea.

The GIST: You will be heating the glass just enough so that it softens and folds over itself on the mold. We watch it and when we like the way it looks we turn off the kiln! NOTE: DO NOT OPEN THE KILN UNTIL THE GLASS IS UNDER 200 DEGREES OR YOU WILL CRACK YOUR VASE. BELIEVE ME .... I DID THIS TO A WHOLE KILN FULL BECAUSE I JUST COULDN'T WAIT. Ping Ping Ping is NOT a good sound!!

Coat the mold with kiln wash

Center the glass on the mold on a kiln shelf.

When you like how it looks turn off the kiln BUT don't peek.

Finished: From the top

Finished! From the side

  • Prepare the mold & kiln shelf. The first time you try to coat the mold the kiln wash may bead up so that it doesn't provide full coverage. Some people like to heat the mold to 500 degrees and then coat. Me, I simply keep coating, letting it dry and then coating again.... after about 3 coats it has full coverage. You don't have to re-coat every time you use it BUT as you touch up spots you will find that the kiln wash gets lumps in it.... these lumps WILL transfer to your glass so every once in awhile you should clean off the mold entirely and start over. The second time the mold will be rougher and the kiln wash will stick more readily. The kiln shelf should be coated .... just in case of mishaps!

 

  • Cut your 10" x 10" piece of glass. Cut the corners off if desired or cut wavy edges... whatever you like.

 

  • Grind both the top and bottom edges (bevel them) .... don't die over this...just zip along quickly. Don't forget to wear eye protection and ear plugs if needed... it IS LOUD.

 

  • Clean the smutz off the glass... DON'T use alcohol or glass cleaner like some folks tell you! Just use warm water and dry with a clean paper towel or cloth. Beware finger prints. Hold glass from edges.  Pay special attention to the edges as smutz can get ground into little imperfections.

 

  • Put kiln shelf in kiln, put mold in center of kiln shelf, center glass on mold. I have a big oval kiln and can do 4 at one time. If you're doing more than one, don't let the glass touch each other. NOTE: It's advantageous to have a peep hole but if you don't then read the notes at the bottom of this project.

 

  • Close your kiln and fire at 500 degrees per hour (it's only one layer so we don't have to be as careful as we would if we were using a more complex blank but we can't go full tilt because it's a big piece!) till 1300 degrees, at 1200 degrees (depends on your kiln) start to watch the glass, when you like the way it looks turn the kiln off and go do something else! NOTE: My kiln full fuses at 1365; adjust your temps according to your kilns needs.

 

  • NOTE: When the glass starts to sag it can move quickly so pay attention. Different colors of glass will soften at different rates so try to fire similar colors at the same time. Once you are familiar with your kiln and different colors of glass you'll have a good idea of when to look and when to shut off the kiln. This takes a bit of practice and you DO have to mind the kiln. Wait till the kiln is under 200 before opening the door OR PING PING PING.......

 

  • You might have to wiggle the vase off the mold a bit but don't force it. Make sure it's very cool before you wet it if you are going to wash it.

 

  • You may find there are sharp pick'eds (a Maine term for sharp pointy things) on the inside edges of the folds. Make sure to file these smooth so the owner doesn't cut themselves when they are washing their vase/votive.

 

 

  • If you don't have a peep hole: It's best to fire less and then fire again than to overfire. Like salt in the soup you can add more but you can't take it out. Experiment until you find the optimal temp/time ratio for the look you want and then always fire with that schedule. You may need to adjust for different colors of glass as they soften differently.

 

  • These can be used for vases or to hold a candle. Use a flower frog to hold the flowers upright. Tulips look great in these!!!! When I display these in my booth I put a light at the bottom back and shine it up thru the glass..... looks great!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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