Pendant with Glass Frit and Copper Foil
-- Designer --
Tammy Honaman, Author, Jewelry-Making Expert and Educator, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®To learn more about Tammy Honaman, read her jewelry artist success story here
: : : Materials : : :
- Glass frit, 96 COE, translucent cherry red, medium grit
- Glass frit, 96 COE, opaque white, medium grit
- Glass frit, 96 COE, translucent teal green, medium grit
- Wire, sterling silver, half-hard, twisted square, 20 gauge
- Solder wire, DGS, silver/tin/copper, 3mm
- Adhesive copper foil, Venture Tape MasterFoil Plus, 6mm wide and 1mm thick with adhesive backing
- Safety glasses, polycarbonate and nylon, clear and blue, anti-fog and scratch-resistant
- Kiln paper, Bullseye Brand, wood fiber and aluminum hydroxide, white, 20-1/2 x 20-1/2 inch square
- Flux, Blu-Glass, low fume
- Flux brush, horsehair and tin, stiff bristle, 6 x 3/8 inches
- Soldering iron, steel with chrome plating and plastic with rubber grip, black and grey, 120 volt/60HTZ/40 watt, 9-3/4x1-1/4 inches
- Third Hand, steel and stainless steel, 2-1/2 x 3-1/2 inches with 6-1/2 inch tweezers
- Paragon MagicFuse microwave kiln, ceramic and glass, 6-7/8 x 4-1/4 inch round
- Pliers, flush-cutter
- Pliers, chain-nose
- Pliers, round-nose
- Digital scales
Each segment of these angelic pendants were formed individually in a microwave kiln. The segments were then soldered together using copper foil, flux and lead-free solder which was applied using a soldering iron. You can create this angel design using any color combination you like. Consider enlarging the design to create window hangings.
The following instructions outline fusing frit in a microwave kiln. You can use the same instructions if firing in a standard kiln, like the Paragon SC-2, however fusing time and temperatures will be different. View the "Fusing Frit in a Kiln" illustrated instructions.
|Using scissors, cut a piece of kiln paper to fit the base of the microwave kiln. Using a pencil, draw the shape of the body onto the paper.
Note: As the glass frit fuses, the glass particles will come together creating a smaller version of your outline. Compensate for the shrinkage by drawing the outline about 10-15 percent larger than what is intended for your finished design.
|Place the paper onto the base of a microwave kiln. Put on a dust mask, then pour the frit of your choice onto the paper so it is within the outline of your drawing. The angel shown was made with a layer of frit that was approximately 1/4 inch high.
Tip: When you want to create the same design over and over again, it is recommended to make a copy of your outline and to weigh the frit before fusing.
|Carefully place the base of the microwave kiln on top of three ceramic posts placed in the center of the microwave oven. Put the top of the microwave kiln into place. Following manufacturer’s instructions fuse the glass in the microwave kiln.
|Repeat Steps 1 - 3 to create shapes of glass for the head and the wing. Once all the pieces are created, wash them with soapy water then dry with a clean towel. Avoid getting any oils from your hands on the glass so the copper foil will adhere properly.
Note: Choose the right size foil based on how thick your fused pieces are. You want the foil to create a bezel around the glass and be wide enough so there is a little bit of foil to wrap around the bottom of the glass and a little to wrap around the top.
Wrap the copper foil around one piece of glass. Mark the foil so there is about 1/4 inch overlap at the ends. Using scissors, trim the foil at the mark. Peel away a little bit of the foil then adhere to the edge of the glass, positioning the foil so there is a little bit of a wrap on the bottom of the glass and a little bit of a wrap at the top. Peel away the paper backing and continue to wrap the glass so it is covered all the way around the edge and so the overlap of foil is secure. Repeat to wrap each piece of glass with foil.
|Press the foil edges into place so they are smooth and pressed tightly against the surface of the glass. Use a burnisher to smooth out the foil and ensure the foil is properly adhered. Repeat to burnish the foil on each piece of glass.|
|Heat up a soldering iron. Place the piece of glass in the tweezers of a third hand. Using a flux brush, apply flux to the foil on one piece of glass.|
|Press the tip of the soldering iron to the end of the solder. Apply the solder to the foil, covering the foil all the way around.
Allow the glass to cool, then repeat with the next piece of glass, working until all the pieces have been tinned with solder.
|Shape a piece of twisted wire to form a halo that spans from one side of the head to the other. Trim to fit. Hold the wire with a pair of pliers or tweezers. Apply flux to where the wire meets the tinned foil then apply solder to join the wire to the head. Repeat on the other side of the wire.|
|Cut a 3-inch length of twisted wire. Begin a spiral on one end, creating a loop that will accommodate your chain or cording. Spiral the wire for two or three revolutions, leaving a short section of the wire straight. Repeat Step 8 to adhere the straight length of twisted wire to the back of the angel.|
The pieces featured in the Gallery of Designs are copyrighted designs and are provided for inspiration only. We encourage you to substitute different colors, products and techniques to make the design your own.
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