My colleague and me are visiting every week a famous glassmaker in Sydney, Australia to get us up to speed with boro glass making. In our 2nd session I came up with the idea to make a boro glass octopus. I have seen this beautiful boro glass creature quite often on Etsy and this time I decided to DIY instead of buying it!
Materials needed to make a boro glass octopus:
- 15cm of clear glass
- We used Boro Trautman Art Glass 33
- Long rod of neutral colour (Opaque WYSIWYG) for body (500mm)
- Long rod of boro colour glass for body and tentacles (600mm)
- Rod of other colour to make the eyes (10mm)
- Any other colour you want to add to make it look more spectacular
Tools needed to make a boro glass octopus:
- Torch & Kiln
- Peters Tweezers for the eyes
- Eye Protection
- Graphite Paddle
- Graphite Reamer
We used for our octopus boro Trautman Art Glass 33 colours. As a glass supplier in Australia and lots of sample colours we were able to use as many colours as possible. For the octopus you can use clear glass or colours.
Step 1: Melt a Big Mass in the Flame for the Body
Put your eye protection on and start your torch. Take the rod and melt a big mass in the flame, around 20mm. When melting the glass, always make sure to keep the glass 70mm away from the burner. Glass should not get onto the burner head. We used for the body aWYSIWYG colour and melted it with a colour changing colour – Double Mai Tai. Colours look much more intense and exciting if they are over a neutral base rather than over clear glass. You can use a Graphite Paddle to form the hot mass on a heat resistant piece of material.
Step 2: Cover Mass With Colour
When you melted a 20mm round ball cover it with a spectacular colour. Heat the colour rod and the mass until they glow in the same red/yellow colour and melt the rod from the top to the bottom downwards. Heat the mass with the attached colours until no more black shades are visible. Make sure the two colours are well melted together.
Step 3: Attach a Handle
Attach a rod of clear glass on the head of the octopus. The longer the clear rod the less heat your hands will be exposed. I suggest a long clear rod (30mm). With two handles now attached it is much easier to rotate the mass and heat it up.
Step 4: Put Handles Slowly Apart and Form a Peanut
Heat the mass until you can form a long peanut shape. This works best when you pull the two handles in the flame slowly apart.
Step 5: Remove the Colour Rod on Top
When you are satisfied with the peanut shape remove the colour rod from the bottom and keep the clear handle on the top.
Step 6: Flatten the Bottom for the Tentacles
Heat up the bottom of the peanut shape until it glows and press it on a heat resistant material so that the bottom is flat. Use the graphite paddle to flatten the bottom. Heat up the bottom until it glows and keep flattening it. In the next steps we will cut the glass and attach the tentacles to the bottom.
Step 7: Cut the Flat Bottom Into 8 Pieces
Heat up the bottom until it glows, take your pair of shears and cut the glowing flat bottom in 8 pieces. Don’t put the shears into the fire. After every cut the bottom of the mass has to be heated and glowing.
Step 8: Attach to the 8 Pieces the Tentacles
After cutting the flat bottom in 8 pieces choose either the same colour rod that you have used before to attach the tentacles or choose another colour. For my second octopus I used for every single tentacle another colour, mainly to see the variations of colours that we have.
Step 9: Attach to the 8 Pieces the Tentacles
Heat up the cut piece and the road you want to attach until it glows and attach it to the body. Pull the rod straight and make a twiddle at the end to form a tentacle. Repeat this 8 times until you have beautiful tentacles attached to the body.
Step 10: Attach Eyes to the Body
Heat the part of the body where you want to have the eyes of the glass octopus, use your tweezers to make two holes. Take a rod in another colour, heat it up and melt it into the two holes.
Step 11: Test the Balance of the Octopus
Now it is time to make the balance test for your octopus. Make sure it stands straight; otherwise you can just heat the tentacles up again and put them in the right position.
Step 12: Remove the Handle
To remove the handle on the head of the octopus, heat up the top until it glows.
Step 13: Check the Balance Again
Form the tentacles with your graphite reamer in the flame in the right shape that the octopus balances on his tentacles.
Step 14: Remove the Other Handle
Hold the glass octopus with tweeters and heat up the spot where the clear glass handle is attached and melt it off.