Monday, February 8, 2010

Glass Fusing

Teena's father gave her a glass fusing kit which has a microwave kiln in it.  The kiln, pictured here, can be put in a microwave and it reaches temperatures hot enough to melt the glass.  We were a bit apprehensive at first, but this weekend we decided to give it a go. The kit we have comes with some different coloured glass and other little bits and pieces which you can combine to make some interesting items.  

Our first attempt... exploded.  Not a huge, blow up the microwave type of explosion, but the glass ended up in a couple of pieces inside the kiln.  Much like this one which exploded later, after we'd already had a few successful attempts.  We're not sure why it exploded, we think it might have had some residue or something on it or it went in for too long.

This is what it looks like when it comes out of the microwave.  As you can see the glass is red hot, apparently the temperature inside the kiln can reach up to 1600 °F or 871 °C!  Surprisingly the temperature on the outside of the kiln is only warm to the touch, though I still wore the safety gloves provided.  It only takes a couple of minutes for the glass to fuse.  We checked it quickly after 2 1/2 minutes by lifting the lid on the kiln.  If it needed more time we would give it another 30 seconds and check it again.  That's the method that gave us the most success anyway.

And here is the end result. 

There's not much more we can do with these.  They need to be buffed and polished to remove all the sharp edges and shape them but you need a grinding/polishing wheel or something to do that properly.  Then you can either glue some hooks on them or try and drill holes to turn them into pendants or some other little trinket.
    Overall it was fun creating new designs and fusing them in the microwave.  Previously you would have needed an expensive kiln, but this little device makes it possible for anyone to fuse glass at home.  However it's a very time consuming process.  You can only do one item at a time, then you have to wait about 40 minutes until the kiln has cooled down before you can fire another one.  So if you wanted to make things to sell at the markets or on eBay, i'm not sure if it would be worth it based on the amount of time you would have to invest in the process.  Also the kiln is showing signs of wear already, there are a couple of hairline cracks on the inside and the base has a few chips in it after only a few days of use.  I'm not sure how long it would last if you were using it frequently.  It might be more suited to making some interesting gifts now and again for friends and family.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome blog, David! I had a lot of fun doing this, although like you said it was very slow going. I agree this would make a nice gift for family, it's not really a money spinner! If the kiln actually lasts longer than a few days ...


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