Sunday, January 2, 2011

Turn a Glass Jar into a Pendant

Before: Blue Jar
When I first saw this jar, I loved the color. The weight of the jar convinced me it would be great for jewelry making.

Mark the jar
At first, I thought I would use my ring saw to cut the bottom of the jar into the shape of a heart. That plan proved problematic when I tried to cut the jar. The ring saw did not have enough space to cut the jar... and the jar was a tad thick and acting quite uncooperative to cut the top off using only a glass cutter. I was frustrated, so I did what I sometimes do when I am frustrated with a glass project: I made the glass jar into frit.

After: Necklace by GeltDesigns
After making the jar into frit, I fused the glass into three glass beads and strung the beads on a leather-like stringing material.

Leather, imitation leather or other stringing material
Seed beads

Glass fusing kiln
Fiber paper
Fiber rope

Step 1
Make the jar into frit. Turing a jar into frit is a fancy way of saying I broke the jar into tiny pieces that I could use to fuse into another shape. The technique requires a hammer and something to catch the small pieces. I use a box  constructed of wood. After cleaning the glass, I put the glass into a plastic bag to keep the glass clean. I place the glass into the wood box and then hit the glass with an old, heavy sledge hammer until the glass is the size I want.

Great therapy... in addition to being a great way to recover glass for use in kiln forming. :)

Step 2
Fuse the frit into a flat piece of glass. I placed the glass frit into the kiln in a pot and then let the glass melt down through the pot onto the bottom of the kiln (prepared with kiln wash, of course) until the glass was flat.

Step 3
Make the beads. Cut the glass into six strips the size you want for your beads. Place three of the strips on a piece of fiber paper on the shelf of your glass fusing kiln. 

Put two strands removed from fiberfrax rope on each piece of glass to create channels for the bead holes. Note that the fiberfrax rope will be thicker than you want to create channels to serve as a bead hole. You will need to unravel the rope and take a strand or two to use to create the holes for the beads. You can purchase fiberfrax or ceramic fiber rope at most stained and fused glass suppliers or online from companies like Slumpy's or Delphi Glass. Wear a dust mask when working with fiber rope to protect your lungs.

Place another piece of glass on top of each glass strip. You can use a drop of glass fusing glue to hold the beads in place while you place the glass into the kiln (and while firing), but be sure to allow the glue to dry before firing. Fire the beads in your glass fusing kiln until fully fused.

Step 4
Stringing material
Remove the beads from you glass fusing kiln once the kiln reaches room temperature. Clean the beads and remove the fiber rope from the holes in the beads.

String the Beads
Step 5
String the beads on your stringing material. My daughter and I used imitation leather from a large spool, but almost any stringing material can be used. Cut a long piece of stringing material. Feed on one fused glass bead to join both ends of the string. Feed on a seed bead on each string. Feed on the next fused glass bead. Repeat until all three beads are strung and separated by seed beads.

Step 6
Tie the ends
Test the necklace to be sure the length works.

Step 7
Tie a square knot below the fused glass bead on both sides of the string. Allow about a 1-inch tail for each end of the string.

Step 8
Measure about 1-1/2 inches above the fused glass bead and make a square knot. Measure another 1-1/2 inches above the first knot and create a second square knot.

Related Tutorials
Make Your Own Fused Glass Bead
How to Make a Fused Glass Bead
How to Acid Etch Glass Beads  

Further Reading
"Warm Glass: A Complete Guide to Kiln-Forming Techniques: Fusing, Slumping, Casting";  Philippa Beveridge, Ignasi Domenech, Eva Pacual; 2005.
"Contemporary Warm Glass: A Guide to Fusing, Slumping & Kiln-Forming Techniques": Brad Walker; 2000.
"Fused Glass Handbook"; Gil Reynolds; 1987.
"Fuse It - 18 Fused Glass Projects": Petra Kaiser; 2007.
"Innovative Adornments - Introduction to Fused Glass & Wire Jewelry";  Jayne Persico; 2002.
"Richard La Londe: Fused Glass Art and Technique"; 2006.

New & Noteworthy
"Contemporary Fused Glass";  Brad Walker; 2010.
"Microwave Kiln Techniques: For Fused Glass Jewelry, Stained Glass Projects and Silver Clay"; Geneva Perkins.

Day 43.  Month 3.  Jewelry from Found Objects.  

Found materials: Glass jar
New Jewelry a Day.

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