How to Create a Wavy Glass Bowl

Make a decorative glass bowl from silver, blue and red blown glass using basic glassblowing techniques.


Materials and Tools:

1 cubic inch of silver blue glass*
1/2 cubic inch of red glass
furnace of clear crystal
standard shop tools:
- jacks
- shears
- diamond shears
- blocks
- paper
- tweezers
plumber's torch
punty rod
steam stick

*Choose any glass that reduces


1. Preheat colored glass to 1000 F.

2. Pick up red lip-wrap color on a solid punty rod. Place in color warmer for use later.

3. Heat blowpipe and pick up blue glass directly on the end.

4. Center, shape and blow a small starter bubble in the blue glass. Let cool.

5. Gather clear glass over the blue. Center and inflate slightly. Let cool. Repeat if desired until sufficient size is attained.

6. Blow a bubble into an egg-shaped form. Keep the bottom no less that 3/8 inch thick.

7. Put in jack lines. Note: Jack lines are used to separate the glass from the blowpipe.

8. Put the pipe in a vertical stand, gather a tennis-ball-sized glob of crystal and apply it to the bottom of the piece. Shape quickly into a hockey puck foot.

9. Reheat the piece while cooling the foot.

10. Punty the piece by applying a hot piece of glass to the bottom of the foot. Cool the jack lines and tap the pipe. The piece should break off the pipe.

11. Reheat the lip to smooth out any roughness. Hang the piece while heating the red lip-wrap from step 2.

12. While turning the piece on the bench, apply the lip-wrap by touching the tip down and then drawing off a strand. Rotate two or three times to even out the color. Break the color off by a quick pull.

13. Heat the top third of the piece and inflate further by using a steam stick (wet piece of wood that plugs the hole). Keep the wood in contact with the hole and the resulting steam will inflate the piece.

14. Heat the piece as hot as you can, then just before it collapses, bring it out of the furnace and spin into a plate. As soon as it forms a plate, and while it is still super hot, stop spinning; this will add decorative waves into the glass. The hotter the piece, the more waves you get.

15. Finish the inside of the piece by blasting with a plumber's torch. This will reduce the surface of the glass and create a metallic effect.

16. Break the piece off the punty and anneal for 12 hours.

Jim McKelvy, St. Louis

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