Warm glass artists use unglazed ceramic or bisque moulds to slump glass into plates, bowls and other household objects. While there are a variety of commercial slumping moulds on the market, making your own ceramic mould for slumping may save money and will allow you to make truly unique warm glass creations.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Clay (optional)
- Kiln (optional)
- Glass drill bits
- Bowl for water
- 220-grit sandpaper
- Kiln wash
Shape a bisque mould into a plate, bowl or other object from clay by hand or using a potter's wheel.
Fire the mould in a kiln. The firing schedule will depend on the size and weight of the mould as well as the size of the kiln. Consult your kiln manufacturer's instructions for firing recommendations. Keep notes on successful firing schedules for future references as each kiln will differ. Allow the kiln to cool to room temperature and remove the shaped item from the kiln.
Mark the bisque item where you plan to drill holes. The number of holes needed will vary depending on the size and shape of the mould. Plan to drill three or more holes in most moulds.
Place the unglazed bisque item in a pan of water so that the water just barely covers the area of the bisque mould where you plan to drill the holes.
Use a drill bit designed for glass to drill the holes in the mould where marked.
Use 220-grit sandpaper to sand the surface of the mould where the holes were drilled to remove rough edges or any other surface damage that may be moulded into the glass during slumping.
Paint the mould with kiln wash to prepare the mould for use with fused glass. Paint three even coats of kiln wash; after each coat, check that the drilled holes are clear. Allow the kiln wash to dry overnight before using to slump fused glass.
Tips and warnings
- If you don't have a kiln, you can purchase an unglazed bisque item in the shape you want for your mould from a paint-your-own-pottery shop.
- Never leave a kiln unattended when firing.
- Drilling holes in the item allows air to escape from the mould when slumping glass. Failure to drill holes in slumping moulds will result in problems slumping warm glass.
- The water serves as a lubricant when drilling. Failure to use enough water will result in excess friction when drilling and the mould may crack or break.
- Use caution when drilling near water to avoid electrical shock.
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- "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.
- "Creative Glass Techniques: Fusing, Painting, Lampwork"; Bettina Eberle; 2005.
- "Techniques of Kiln-Formed Glass"; Keith Cummings; 1997
- "Richard La Londe: Fused Glass Art and Technique"; 2006.