Friday, November 26, 2010

Make a Kiln Formed Bracelet

Kiln Formed Bracelet by GeltDesigns
OK. I know that not everybody has glass fusing equipment. Not all of our posts will upcycle glass, I promise.... but we fell in love with the red glass in our Glass Charm Necklace we made yesterday.

Reds (especially reclaimed reds from window glass) can act really strange when fired in a kiln... but this red did not. In fact, we thought the red was even more attractive after firing. So we decided to create a bracelet that did not match but would coordinate well with the Glass Charm Necklace.

Step 1
We cut the red glass into three strips measuring about 9 inches long and 3/4-inch wide using a glass cutter. Repeat to create three identical sized strips. We used a Toyo Pistol Grip Glass Cutter (ours is pink) because it is really comfortable to use and ergonomically sound, but any glass cutter will work.

Adjust the size of the strips, if needed, based on the bracelet size you need. If you are not sure what size bracelet you need, consult our tutorial How to Determine Bracelet Sizes.

Step 2
Wash the glass with glass cleaner to remove any grease and grim, including your fingerprints.

Step 3
Stack the three strips of glass and place them into your kiln on a kiln shelve prepared with fiber paper or shelf primer to prevent the glass from sticking. Arrange the stack so that the glass strips sit evenly.

Step 4
Fire the glass in your glass fusing kiln to tack fuse the glass. We used our Paragon Industries SC Jewelry Kiln - 8" Deep Firing Chamber to fire the glass, but you can use any glass fusing kiln. The firing schedule to tack fuse the glass will vary depending on your kiln and the glass you are using. Firing is especially tricky when using reclaimed glass because you will not know the temperature for slumping, tack fusing or full fusing the glass you are using. Be prepared to experiment and stay close to the kiln to watch the progress of your glass as it fuses. Allow the glass to cool to room temperature before you remove it form the kiln.

Step 5
Grind the edges of the glass, if needed, to even out the edges. For this project, we used our Power Max II Glass Grinder - Glass Grinder, but we also have Glastar Allstar Grinder that we love. You can use any glass grinder or you can file by hand using glass hone, diamond coated files or diamond-coated sanding sponges.

Step 6
Cut the glass bracelet blanks into equal sized four pieces. Our pieces are about 2-1/4 inch long by 3/4 inch wide each, but your size may vary depending on the size bracelet you want to make. We used our tile saw (a MK Diamond 158252 MK-145 1/2-Horsepower 4-1/2-Inch Wet Tile Saw) to cut the glass.  If we were to make the bracelet again, we would fuse the four pieces the size we want rather than fuse one large blank and then cut it into pieces with the tile saw.

Step 7
Drill holes in the glass pieces. We used diamond coated drill bits (Pro-Quality 20-Piece Diamond-Point Bit Set for Rotary Tool - Glass, Stone, Ceramic) and our flex shaft (Foredom 2230, SR motor, Jewelers Kit) to drill two holes in each glass piece. We drilled one hole on each side of the glass and centered the holes. If you do not know how to drill glass, see our tutorials How to Drill Glass or How to Make Sea Glass Beads.

Step 8
Fire the glass to slump and fire polish. Include an annealing ramp when firing. Again, the firing schedule (and the annealing time) will vary. Watch the glass to see when the pieces slump. We annealed the glass for over an hour. Allow the glass to cool to room temperature before removing the glass from the glass fusing kiln.

We used a Paragon Industries FireFly Multi-Purpose Kiln - Digital to form the bracelet links because it is a top loading kiln. We prepared our fused glass bracelet former by covering it with fiber paper. We placed the four glass pieces on the former so they were centered and would slump into exactly the same shape.

Step 9
String the bracelet. We used black elastic beading cord (Stretchrite Beading Cord Elastic 5 Yards Black 3961-B) to thread through the four formed glass pieces of our bracelet. The truth is this cord is not a product we use often. It may have been left from a project my daughter and I did with the girl scout troop, but the cord worked well. We both liked the look of the black against red and the black beading cord accomplished our goal of creating the look of a glass cuff bracelet.

We tied the elastic cord on the inside of the bracelet so the knot would not be seen when worn We then secured the tied not with a drop of glue. We used G-S Hypo Cement, but other good choices for glue include: E6000 Industrial Strength Glue Adhesive or Aleene's Jewelry & Metal Glue.

Further Reading
Fused Glass Tutorials by GeltDesigns
The Exotic Art of Glass Bracelet Forming
A Beginner's Guide to Kiln-Formed Glass: * Fused * Slumped * Cast
Richard La Londe: Fused Glass Art and Technique
Fused Glass Handbook
Warm Glass: A Complete Guide to Kiln-Forming Techniques: Fusing, Slumping, Casting
Contemporary Warm Glass: A Guide to Fusing, Slumping & Kiln-Forming Techniques
Contemporary Fused Glass

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