How to Make a Glass-Blown Rose Perfume Bottle
Heidi Schmenk, studio director of Glass Axis in Columbus, Ohio, demonstrates how to make a glass perfume bottle decorated with silica-based paints and an etched bottle stopper. Basic glassblowing techniques, knowledge and tools are necessary for this project.
- diamond shears
- wooden blocks
- wet newspaper
- wooden paddle
- glory hole
- annealing oven
- small furnace
- flexible blow tube
- colored glass: black color bar, black and white glass powder
- silica-based paints
- paintbrushes (ends sharpened for scratching details into paint)
- glass palette
- palette knife
- glass grinding equipment: diamond wheel
- acid-etch paste
- punty rod
- dark safety glasses
- face shield
- Kevlar gloves
- high-grade insulation (Fiberfrax)
1. Gather clear, molten glass onto a blowpipe from the furnace. Blow a small bubble into the glass.
2. On a separate punty rod, pick up chunk of colored glass and heat it in a glory hole until it is the consistency of honey (roughly 2100 degrees F).
3. Drop the hot colored glass onto the tip of the bubble, which is still attached to the blowpipe. Cut the colored glass free of the punty with diamond shears.
4. Reheat the bubble in the glory hole and roll it over the marver table. The color pushes back over the clear bubble, creating a solid colored bubble.
5. Gather more clear glass on top of this base from the furnace. Shape the bubble with wooden blocks and wet newspaper. Blow the bubble up to about the size of a large grapefruit.
6. Using jacks, squeeze the glass down to create a neckline or jack line to be able to remove the glass from the blowpipe.
7. Shape the glass into an egg shape using wet newspapers.
8. Break the glass from the blowpipe by placing it over a large piece of high-grade insulation called Fiberfrax. Pick up the piece using Kevlar gloves and place it into an annealing oven.
9. Over a 12 hour period the hollow glass egg, called a graal (glassblowing technique), cools to room temperature.
10. Grind the graal's sharp opening flat using a diamond-embedded flat wheel.
11. Paint the glass egg with silica-based paints. The paint is the consistency of toothpaste. This can take anywhere from 5 to 25 hours. Use the razor cut end of a paintbrush to cut the details into the paint, such as the veins of the leaves.
12. Place the painted graal opening side up into a kiln at room temperature. Heat the kiln to 1000 degrees F for 1-1/2 hours.
13. Gather glass onto a blowpipe. While the glass is extremely hot, blow into the pipe. The glass is so hot that the bubble will pop and a hollow collar of glass will remain. Shape this with the jacks, so that it resembles a small glass plunger or suction cup.
14. Place the collar onto the painted graal in the kiln by lining it up with the opening of the graal. Drop the collar onto the egg and the two will stick together. The graal is now back on a blowpipe and can be blown further.
15. Gather more glass on top of the graal. The imagery is now sandwiched between layers of molten glass. The entire piece will be hot and glowing.
16. Blow and shape the glass using the marver, wet newspaper and jacks. Shape the bottom with a wooden paddle. Cut in a jack line.
17. Gather a bit of glass on a separate rod and attach it to the bottom of the bubble. Drop water onto the jack line and attach the piece by its bottom to a solid punty rod.
18. Reheat the sharp opening of the piece and shape it with wet newspaper and a wooden paddle.
19. Place the finished bottle into an annealing oven to cool.
20. Gather glass onto a solid punty and roll it first into white and then into black powdered glass for the perfume bottle stopper. This creates a spider web pattern when heated. Shape the glass into a stopper for the perfume bottle using the jacks.
21. Put the stopper into an annealer to cool.
22. Grind the bottom of the perfume flat on a series of flat diamond-embedded wheels. Grind the stopper to fit the opening of the perfume bottle using the same wheels.
23. Apply an acid-etching paste to the stopper. Allow to sit for a half an hour, then rinse it off. The stopper now has a matte finish. Place the stopper in the top of the rose glass perfume bottle.