Introduction: Make a Glass Pendant Necklace of Cherry Blossoms
Is it ever too early for spring?
Feeling the winter blues, I decided to make a glass cherry blossom pendant necklace. I love cherry blossoms. They remind me of spring and the 7 years we lived in Japan. So much has changed since we were there, but cherry blossoms still remind me of sunshine and warmth and springtime. I don't think we will have the opportunity to move back overseas and see another Cherry Blossom Festival, but this fused glass pendant helps to capture that moment.
- Cutting Mat
- Pistol Grip Glass Cutter
- Running Pliers
- Ruling Pen
- Altered Spoon
- Rubber Tip Sculpting Tools
- Steel Wax Carving Tools
- Straight Edge
- Water Bottle with Sprayer
- Glass Cleaner
- Course Sandpaper
- Bullseye Glastac
- Colors For Earth Liquid Medium
- 1 Glue-On Jewelry bail
- 1 Waxed Cotton Cord 20 inch Necklace
I used hand-rolled, fusible art glass made by Bullseye Glass Company.
- Base piece 1 x 1-1/2 inches. This 3mm, white opalescent glass sheet originally measured 10 inch by 10 inch, code 000113-0030-F-1010.
- Top piece 1-1/4 x 1-3/4 inches. This 3mm, crystal clear transparent glass sheet originally measured 10 inch by 10 inch, code 001401-0030-F-1010.
Bullseye Accessory Glass
Accessory Glass is crushed glass sorted by size.
- Petal Pink Opalescent medium frit, code 000421-0002-F-P001
- Neo-Lavender fine frit, code 000142-0001-F-P001
Colors for Earth Powdered Enamels
- Vermillion, G310
- Tea Rose, G334
- Sapphire Blue, G343
- Powder Blue, G344
- Whisper Blue, G346
- Burnt Umber, G380
- Nutmeg, G381
- Burnt Sienna, G386
The kiln is a model called the Bonnie Glo and is made by Jen-Ken Kilns. It is an all fiber kiln with a digital 3 button controller. The interior measures 15 inches in circumference and 6 inches deep. It runs on 120 volts.
Square Ceramic Kiln Shelf
10 inch x 10 inch x 1/2 inch thick
Bullseye ThinFire Shelf Paper
10 inch x 10 inch
- Safety Glasses
- N95 Mask
Step 1: Cutting the Glass
Try to always be careful when working with glass and use shop safety. Always wear safety glasses when working with any glass.
- White Base Piece : 1 inch x 1-1/2 inch
- Clear Top Piece : 1-1/4 inch x 1-3/4 inch
About Glass Cutting Tools:
- Check to make sure your safety glasses are on!
- Use glass cleaner to remove any dirt or oils from the glass.
- Use a fine line sharpie marker to mark the desired width on the glass.
- Place the sheet glass on a rubber mat to keep it from moving.
- Using a straight edge as a guide, score the glass with the pistol grip glass cutter and break it with the running pliers.
- A pistol grip glass cutter is filled with a little oil, but any kind of glass cutter will work. A glass cutter scores the glass with its carbide wheel, this scoring of the surface tells the fragment where to break. The wheel is centered at the tip so make sure the wheel is on your marked line, not the edge of the tip that holds the scoring wheel. Now pressing firmly, take your glass cutter and score in one pass. A straight edge helps to keep everything square.
- The running pliers will actually break the glass along the score. Take a moment and look at the ends of the jaws of the running pliers. They are curved, so hold them with the front edge of the jaws curving down or frowning and the score centered on the black mark. It is best to score and break from the middle out, so you have equal amounts of material on either side of the score. Place the scored glass in the mouth of the running pliers and gently squeeze until you hear a pop. Sometimes it helps to repeat this gentle squeeze on either end of the score. When the center of the bottom jaw pushes up, the outside of the top jaw pushes down and the glass breaks on the scored line. This is called running the break.
Step 2: Painting the Sky
More shop safety, wear an appropriate mask when working with powdered enamels to keep from inhaling the teeny tiny particles.
Prepare the blue enamels for the sky:
- Sapphire Blue
- Powder Blue
- Whisper Blue
Add scoops of powdered enamel to a designated container using the spatula from a wax carving set. Add drops of liquid medium and stir until the right consistency is reached. Clean the spatula between colors to avoid mixing colors.
The Colors For Earth enamels are non-toxic can be purchased in powdered form. When mixing the enamel powders with the Colors For Earth brand liquid medium, the manufacturer recommends adding medium and stirring until the enamel is about a white glue or heavy cream consistency. I like to mix enamels in plastic paint pot strips and save any unused portion for next time.
- Place the clean white glass rectangle on a paper towel.
- Spritz with water.
- Starting at the top, use the spatula to place a stripe of the darker blue.
- Put some medium blue in the middle and some light blue at the bottom.
- Use the spatula tool to gently swirl the colors and spritz with water again. You can pick the rectangle up and tilt it so the paints move and form organic shapes.
- Set aside and let dry completely.
Step 3: Painting the Branch
Check and make sure you are wearing an appropriate mask before mixing enamels!
Prepare the brown enamels for the branch:
- Burnt Umber
- Burnt Sienna
Add scoops of powdered enamel to a designated container using the spatula from a wax carving set. Add drops of liquid medium and stir until you reach a consistency of heavy cream or white glue. Clean the spatula between colors to avoid mixing colors.
- Place the crystal clear transparent glass rectangle on a paper towel.
- Open the ruling pen jaws to about 1mm or 1.5mm using the adjustment screw.
- Dip the ruling pen in the medium brown and draw a branch on the clear glass.
- Add the light colored paint on the upper sides of the branch and the darker colored paint on the undersides of the branch.
- Use the spatula tool to gently move the colors together until you like the look.
- Use the flat edge of the rubber tip sculpting tool to keep the edges of the branch shape crisp. The paints have a tendency to round out.
- Set aside and let dry completely.
Step 4: Adding the Flowers
After both the base and the top layer are completely dry, you can add powdered enamels and glass frit for flowers.
- Tea Rose
- Petal Pink Opalescent medium frit
- Neo-Lavender fine frit
Add the Flowers:
- Place the clear glass top on a paper towel with the branch side facing down. Use a wide brush to apply a thin film of Glastac to the unpainted side of the glass.
- Wearing a particulate mask, take tiny pinches of the powdered pink enamels and sprinkle around the branch.
- Let dry completely.
- Put a small piece of Bullseye ThinFire Shelf Paper on the Kiln Shelf. Make sure the printed side of the ThinFire is face down.
- Carefully place the sky painted white glass on the ThinFire paper. The painted side should be facing up.
- Flip the clear glass over so the branch side is facing up. Place on top of the sky with about an 1/8 inch overhang on each side.
- Using tweezers, add glass frit where you would like more flowers.
Step 5: Firing the Kiln
Carefully move the shelf with the cherry blossom pendant to the kiln. Now it is time to fire the kiln and fuse the pendant together. Note that after firing, the clear top wraps neatly around the white base.
- ramp 350 degF per hour to temp 1000 degF - hold 15 minutes
- ramp 200 degF per hour to temp 1150 degF - hold 15 minutes
- ramp 850 degF per hour to temp 1450 degF - hold 10 minutes
- ramp Full Speed to temp 900 degF - hold 30 minutes
- ramp 100 degF per hour to temp 700 degF - hold 0 minutes
- ramp 400 degF per hour to temp 100 degF - hold 0 minutes
About Firing A Kiln:
I heat my glass in an electric kiln with a programmable controller. I use a timed schedule with very specific temperature increases and holds over a set period to get both the finished look I want and also to keep the glass from cracking due to thermal shock. All glass brands are different, please check the manufacturer for recommended fusing guidance. Be sure to test your glass and see how it will behave in your kiln.
A glass firing schedule is done in segments with each segment in three parts. These parts are:
- ramp: speed of temperature change, degrees Fahrenheit per hour
- temperature: set temperature to reach, degrees Fahrenheit
- hold: amount of time to stay at that temperature, minutes
Please don't open the kiln until it cools to 100 degF or lower.
When the kiln firing is complete, the ThinFire paper will turn to a fine dust. Please wear an appropriate mask when fine particles are airborne.
Step 6: Finishing Touches
Attach a Bail:
- Place the finished pendant face down on a work surface. Use a tiny piece of course sandpaper to rough up the back of the glass where the bail will be attached.
- Also rough up the bail where it will be glued.
- Clean both roughed up surfaces well.
- Add a drop of E6000 to both surfaces and press together.
- Let dry 24 hours.
Add a necklace and admire your mini artwork!
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