How to Make a Fused Glass Butterfly Pendant
Make a one-of-a-kind dichroic glass necklace pendant with this simple fused glass technique.
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Materials and Tools:
tested compatible lavender glass, 2" x 4" inch piece each of blue and gray
glass cutting fluid
18" of 18-gauge dead soft sterling silver wire
wire wrapping pliers
ball peen hammer
size 8 knitting needle
rock tumbler with stainless steel shot
1. Cut blue glass into two 1-inch squares and one 3/4-inch piece.
2. Cut lavender glass into one 3/4-inch square and one 1/2-inch square. Clean the glass well with hot soapy water to remove streaks and fingerprints.
3. Stack one large blue piece, one 3/4-inch lavender piece, one 3/4-inch blue piece and one 1/2-inch lavender piece. Then stack one 1-inch blue piece and one 1/2-inch dichroic glass piece.
4. Place the two stacks on a prepared kiln shelf and fuse until the layers blend together, approximately five hours at 1330 degrees F with a 10-minute hold. Tip: Don't round out too much as kiln temperatures vary.
5. After the pieces are cool, use tile nippers to break into four triangular pieces. Break into two larger and two smaller triangles. Clean thoroughly.
6. Cut a piece of the gray glass into a randomly-edged triangular shape about 1-1/2 inches wide. Cut small scrap pieces of clear. Clean all glass pieces.
7. Lay the scrap pieces on the kiln shelf so they will project slightly from under the clear pieces to make little notches for wire wrapping the piece later.
8. Place the clear triangle glass on the top and then arrange the four triangle blue pieces on the top, to resemble butterfly wings. Place the two larger pieces on the top and the smaller pieces on the bottom. If desired, place a small piece of stringer, or a very thin piece of dichroic glass along the center for the butterfly's body.
9. Tack fuse the butterfly to the base piece by heating it enough so that the pieces start to melt together, but not so much that the butterfly loses its distinct shape. Approximately 1310 degrees F in kiln.
10. When the kiln has cooled, remove the butterfly.
11. If the clear edges project too much, cut them off with the tile nippers and fuse again. Each time the piece is fused the less defined the shape becomes, so fuse only as needed.
12. If the butterfly base has any sharp edges, use a honing stone to smooth. If the edges are rough, or for a smoother appearance, use a glass grinder to smooth the edges and then fire polish in the kiln.
13. Cut a 12-inch piece of 18-gauge sterling silver wire and bend it around a knitting needle in the center to make the bail at the top.
14. With the bail at the top, wrap the wire around the butterfly to hold it securely in place. With the leftover wire, make two spirals for the antenna and pound them with a ball peen hammer to flatten slightly.
15. Tumble in a rock tumbler with stainless steel shot, water and a drop of dishwashing soap for 30 minutes to several hours, or until the nicks and kinks are eliminated.
16. Remove the butterfly pendant from the rock tumbler and rinse thoroughly.
Fire up a blue glass plate perfect for serving sushi or other appetizers using the glass slumping technique.