Fused-Glass Coasters

Step-by-step instructions for making these colorful accents.

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Never imagined yourself a glassworker? You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to make these colorful coasters.

Materials and Tools:

at least 4" x 8" of 3mm opaque glass: red, yellow, black, green, ivory
8" x 8" of 3mm clear glass
ruler
glass cutter
glass-cutting fluid
pliers
kiln (may be rented at stained-glass or pottery shops)
kiln wash, fiber paper or shelf paper
sickle stone or glass grinder (optional, available to rent from stained-glass shops)
1/4-inch clear plastic or rubber stick-on bumpers (optional)
dish soap and hot water
lint-free cotton towel

Steps:

1. Measure and cut out four 4-by-4-inch squares of clear glass. Use pliers to break the glass along your score. Save the scraps for other projects (such as mosaics).

2. Measure and cut 4-inch stripes in each color, each stripe a different width.

3. Grind off any bits sticking out after cutting so that the stripes all fit together perfectly.

4. Lay out the stripes on top of the clear glass, arranging your design as you cut. For each
coaster, measure the last stripe so that each set of stripes totals 4 square inches.

5. Primer the kiln shelf or lay down shelf paper.

6. Clean the stripes and clear squares with dish soap and hot water. Dry all the glass off with a lint-free cotton towel. Note: Do not use ammonia-based glass cleaner.

7. Place the stripes smooth side up on the kiln shelf. Lay out each coaster at least ½-inch from the other coasters.

8. Place the clear squares on top of the stripes, textured-side down. This will trap as many small bubbles as possible while keeping the opaque glass from becoming streaky. When it’s molten, this glass always seeks to be 6mm thick, so use two layers of 3mm glass that is tested compatible. If less than 6mm is used, the edges tend to creep inward and roll, distorting the design.

9. Fire to fuse temperature (1,450 degrees Fahrenheit) for 30 minutes. This takes 5 to 6 hours for the kiln. Allow 5 to 8 more hours to cool to room temperature. When the kiln cools to room temperature, the coasters are done firing. This must occur slowly.

10. Wash your fused coasters. Stick on rubber bumpers to make "feet" for each coaster. This will ensure that the bottoms of the coasters won’t scratch furniture. Note: The little clear bubbles used in scrapbooking also work, but the adhesive may not be as strong.

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