This is a perfect opportunity to show why it is so important to play around and experiment before you use your fancy glass - because sometimes what you learn from a test run is that you're doing it all wrong...
Squares and rectangles
There were two sides to this experimental fusing: first, what size do I need to cut the glass to to get cabs which fit in the frames; and second, does it make any difference if the base was coloured and the cap clear, or vice versa. I have brilliantly found the size not to cut the glass to - that is, the size I thought would work. All the cabs were too big to fit in the frames, by at least a couple of millimetres. The other observation I made is that in a full fuse the corners pull in, so end up softly curved. Looks lovely, but this will leave a gap in the frame at each corner, which I don't like. I think this will probably mean that I will opt not to fuse individual squares or rectangles, and instead cut them from a larger piece and fire polish.
The cab that I didn't take the corners off of for comparison for the oval frame actually fits perfectly (width wise) into the rectangle frames, but if I put it in you can see the mismatch on the corners. This does mean I know that if I were to fuse an individual cab for these 25mm wide rectangles I would need to use 22mm wide lay-ups.
In regards to whether it makes a difference which way around the coloured layer and clear layer are, I think the coloured base with clear cap gives a more even finish, as the other way around left the corners a little pale - particularly visible on the green cabs - the bottom row had the clear on the base.
Next: experiment with cutting the large pieces to size - see a completely different approach below.
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The principle learning point with the circles seems to be that two squares do not a circle make!
They did create some lovely soft curves though, so on the next test run I'm going to try nipping the corners off and see if this rounds it out - see oval. Even without these corners I think it might turn out to big to fit the frame, so will test a couple of sizes.
The order of the coloured and clear layers made a big difference, particularly with the larger circle. When making the cabs 'properly', one of the two layers will be opaque glass, so that you don't see through to the frame base, but again I'll have to test whether it matters which layer is opaque.
Next: cut squares 30mm, 32mm and 35mm, and nip off the corners - will these fit the 35mm diameter circular frames? Use opaque glass for at least one layer.
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Again, size was an issue here. With the piece I'd taken the corners off of at an angle I got (about) the right shape, but still too big to actually fit in the frame - oops!
Next: cut rectangles 27mm by 20mm, and 25mm by 18mm, then nip off the corners again. Maybe try cutting steeper angles too, creating a diamond shape?
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a completely different approach...
As you can see, both the rainbow panel and the blue/green piece fused beautifully. The rainbow has a couple of slightly wobbly lines, but I think that the rough rainbow colours work really well, and give it a more sophisticated appearance than if it was perfectly even. The blue/green piece had pieces of coarse clear frit placed randomly on top of the stripes, which did create small voids in the lines as I'd hoped, giving it an interestinglying textured natural look.
The photo on the bottom left shows the end of the blue/green piece after fusing. As the stringers were only roughly snapped they were different lengths, and overhung by varying amounts. These end pieces are too delicate to use for anything, but I love the way they join up and bobble at the ends!
The next task is to chop these panels up, giving me squares and rectangles that will fit the frames in as wide a variety of ways as possible, then either bevel and fire polish, or contour fuse to get rid of sharp edges without increasing the footprint.
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Watch this space, and add your email address in the box towards the top on the right if you want to make sure you don't miss the next stage.
Do you fuse glass, or do you wish you did? What would you want to make if you had the opportunity?
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A project in progress :: framed glass pendants An introduction to the thinking behind creating something new, and thoughts on the pendant frames themselves.
A project in progress :: framed glass pendants 2 Working out the first experimental fusing run to make the glass to go in the frames.