I’ve been away from stained glass for a number of years. But when I saw glass mini blocks at Glasstronomy Studios, I couldn’t wait to make them!
Given the time of year, you could make this a truly themed Christmas project, using snowflakes, ginger bread men and stars for the ‘carved’ features. However I took it a different direction. I’m using a few of my favourite things (but skipping the rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens!). You know how we love our red VW, so of course I’m immortalizing a beetle in a little red block 😉.
Transferring the images with carbon paper didn’t work. Luckily I’m always prepared with plan ‘B’ and used curved scissors to cut my shapes, which I then traced around with pencil. I wore a mask to cut the actual fibre paper; you don’t want to breathe in the fine particles!
I started by cutting double thick clear glass into 2″ squares using the morton system as a guide to make our cuts.
Then I upcycled leftover scraps of glass and cut a rainbow of colours to complete the bottom layer of our stacks.
Stack ‘Em and Wrap ‘Em
Each individual block gets separated by two layers of fibre paper, which is then pinned through the centre to the DuraBoard that’s sitting right underneath the kiln paper.
Once the blocks are positioned, each stack is tightly wrapped with kiln paper first. You’ll notice that it only comes up to just below the top layer. That’s so the top will nicely round over once fired.
As each block stack is placed, more double layers of 1/8″ Durafiber are added in between to form the column.
Once the first column is complete, the end of the Durafiber is cut evenly with the edge.
The edges are then wrapped with more fibre paper to encase the perimeter.
Ready to Fire!
The day ended 6 hours later with the blocks ready to be kiln fired. It’s amazing how time flies when you’re having fun!
After firing, I picked up the blocks at Glasstronomy Studios a week later.
The blocks are soaked in water to release the fibre paper so it can be removed from the recesses.
Even after peeling away, there’s still residual fibre on the back of the block. It can be easily scrubbed away with soapy water and a toothbrush.
With kid-like glee, I couldn’t wait to stack them to see how they look with light coming through them! We stopped eating sugar years ago, but I think they’re the next best thing to candy!
Take a Course to Learn Fused Glass!
If you’re local to Toronto and would like to learn stained or fused glass, check out Glasstronomy Studios for workshops and private lessons!
I love how these turned out, but next time I make these I may leave an additional 1/4″ around the edge of the pattern to see if it cuts down on the distortion from certain angles.
The day I picked these up, I tried my hand at something I’ve always wanted to do: needle felting.
I topped the blocks off with this adorable elfette I call Grizelda.
If you don’t have room for a tree around the holidays, add some air plants for a touch of green. This unconventional makeshift tree will help get you into the holiday spirit 😉.
Grizelda turned out pretty good for my first attempt at felting, if I do say so myself! So you better believe that I’m going to explore needle felting further! Stay tuned for an upcoming tutorial on that!
Pinning is always welcome and appreciated!