What is Fused Glass? | molten wonky | fused glass art

what is fused glass?

16 May 2023

There’s no denying that fused glass is beautiful - all you need to do is take a look at our range of molten wonky fused glass products to see!  It’s all well and good looking at the beautiful creations that we make with glass, but you may be wondering what actually is fused glass? 

In this blog, we are going to explain the basic materials, tools and equipment we use to make our molten wonky products and give you a bit of history to glass fusing. 

The Simple Definition…

If you’re here for the quick answer, fused glass products are created when you heat layers of glass together in a specialist glass kiln. This process of heating glass softens the edges after it's been cut to shape and we love the freedom that glass fusing gives us to create unique and quirky products that molten wonky collectors all know and love.

A Brief History of Fused Glass…

The history of fused glass began back in 2000 BC, where Romans and Egyptians would use kiln glass fusing as their main glass working method.

It then re-emerged in 1935 and Americans started to use fused glass for window glass, which then developed into a wonderful array of colorful light fixtures, dishes and ornaments. 

Fast forward to the 70s and the 80s, glass fusing had become a standard within fine art. It was more appreciated and it had more attention for its aesthetic qualities.

From there on, the world of glass siding has become more and more creative and inventive with every new creation.

A Bit of Terminology…

You need a fairly basic set of tools to create fused glass products - here are the main ones that we use in the molten wonky studio. 

Sheet Glass 

This is where it all starts with our products. Sheet glass comes in a huge variety of fabulous colours and thicknesses (2mm or 3mm), and it can have transparent or opaque finishes. Shapes are cut from these sheets of clear glass which then have layers of colors added to them to create our products. 

We use Bullseye glass as they offer one of the best ranges for bright and vibrant colors (this is why they’re Katie’s favourite brand!). 

Frits 

These are pieces of crushed glass and come in many different colors and sizes. We favor coarse frits and have them available in transparent and opaque glass. These pieces are used as accents on our products and are commonly used to create bold and colorful graphics.

Stringers and Ribbons 

These are rods of glass that can be snapped to size and can be used to add unique variations to your designs.  We use them as stems for flowers and accents on our bowls and coasters!

Oil-Filled Glass Cutter 

The cutter is a very necessary tool in our kit! The oil helps lubricate the tungsten carbide wheel and allows you to create a smooth cut line. We do this so the glass can be easily snapped to reveal the shapes you have cut.

Grozing Pliers 

We use these to snap thin lines of glass, to refine our shapes, and create gentle curves. Another very important tool in our kit. But not as important as the…

Kiln

A total necessity if you want to fuse glass! A glass kiln is insulated and has heating elements within the lid. Most kilns come pre-programed and allow for gentle heating and cooling to allow the products to be more durable. The top temperature for fusing is a whopping 800 degrees! We have 2 kilns here at molten wonky, both from Kiln Care and made right here in the UK.

Kiln Shelf

The kiln shelf is essentially a baking tray which is made of ceramic and all products are laid out onto it to get fired.

Fibre Paper

This is a thin paper that goes in-between the kiln shelf and our glass work, so it doesn't stick to the shelf and ruin your fused glass art! 

Dremel Drill

We use this fantastic drill to make holes in many of our products so they can be hung up as ornaments. You need to add water to the glass first to allow the diamond tip of the drill to cut through the glass and for it to not overheat.

We have lots of other tools and embellishments we use to create our products, but the ones we’ve mentioned above are the ones we use most of the time.

So, this is a brief introduction to the wild world of fused glass, including the history of fused glass and a few key bits of terminology. If you ever want to learn more, feel free to get in touch with Katie who will be happy to answer all your questions about fused glass!

Or, even better, why not come along to our studio and make your own fused glass decorationsWe have an open studio on the 10th June 2023, where you can make your own fused glass trinkets for £20 per person. If you can’t make it, that’s fine! We will always have our make at home glass fusing kits.

Get in Touch                     Glass Fusing Workshops

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