How to Make a Glass Turtle Paperweight

Use glass lampworking tools and techniques to create this small decorative glass turtle.

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Materials and Tools:

borosilicate glass rod:
- 5mm clear
- 5mm cobalt blue
- 5mm purple luster
- 5mm black
- 10mm clear
- 15mm clear

borosilicate frit, size medium: double amber purple, green exotic
glass lampworking tools (torch and tanks)
glass lampworking safety goggles
paddle shape pliers
acetylene torch and lighter
kiln
bench plate

Steps:

1. Heat approximately 3/8-inch end of cobalt blue rod. Flatten with a paddle and pull off with tweezers. Set aside. Repeat to create the front flippers.

2. Repeat step 1 for the back flippers, creating a slightly smaller version.

3. Melt the end of the 10mm clear rod until you have a glob of glass twice the diameter of the rod. Hold the rod upright with the glob hanging downward and push it down until it squishes into a donut-shaped disc.

4. Coat the underside of the disk with blue glass.

5. Add a pointe (pronounced "punty" a term for a glass rod used as a non-permanent handle) to the center of the blue side of the disk. Melt off the initial rod.

6. Add a new color to the other side of the disc. When it cools, add clear glass dots to the surface and melt them in to create the scales on the turtle's shell.

7. Heat the areas where the fins will be attached to the turtle. Then, heat the fins to equal softness.

8. Attach and arrange the fins into position. Then heat the main body of the fin and with a cooler rod touch the end of the fin and elongate it to desired length.

9. Detach the clear rod and flame polish.

10. Simultaneously heat the end of the cobalt blue rod and the area where the head will attach. Attach about 1/2 inch of glass, then melt off and define the head feature by pulling the beak of the turtle out with a cooler rod.

11. Add two small eyes with a thin rod of black glass.

12. Set turtle aside in the kiln to keep hot for assembly.

13. Repeat step 3 with the 15mm thick clear rod. Melt about 5 inches of the rod into a big ball.

14. Hold the rod upright and push the end into crushed colored glass (frit) and melt it in. This will be the inside coloring of the paperweight. Add a coat of blue glass over that.

15. Add a pointe to the center and melt the paperweight off the previous rod.

16. Melt paperweight until a round dome forms.

17. Remove the turtle body from the kiln and heat the underside of the turtle until molten. At the same time, heat the top of the paperweight until molten. Attach the turtle to the top of the paperweight.

18. Snap off the pointe and melt in the pointe mark until smooth. Flatten the bottom on a bench plate so the paperweight sits firmly without rocking.

19. Put the paperweight in the kiln to anneal.

Jeremy Sinkus, Shelburne Falls, Mass.

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