Making Cabochons from Reactive Glass

I am a glass and metal artist who loves to combine my love of both to create jewelry.  While I love to set natural stones, I can create glass cabochons that are unique and one of a kind. Recently, I readied a new batch of glass stones to make jewelry for an upcoming show. I thought I would share my techniques to create the stones.      

I am a glass and metal artist who loves to combine my love of both to create jewelry.  While I love to set natural stones, I can create glass cabochons that are unique and one of a kind. Recently, I readied a new batch of glass stones to make jewelry for an upcoming show. I thought I would share my techniques to create the stones.

 

 

I then determine what size stones I need for my jewelry and begin to cut the glass down to size using a glass cutter and commercial breaking pliers.  Here I have cut strips to form the vertical dimensions of the cabochon.

I then determine what size stones I need for my jewelry and begin to cut the glass down to size using a glass cutter and commercial breaking pliers.  Here I have cut strips to form the vertical dimensions of the cabochon.

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I break the strips into rough shapes using the same tools, resulting in shapes roughly the size of the cabs I will use in jewelry.  I’ve tried to cut shapes that will resemble landscapes.

I put on my rubber coated garden glove and my respirator (glass dust is not good for the lungs) and begin grinding the glass pieces to consistent shapes with my glass grinder.  I only grind off sharp and irregular edges.  The glass will round off in the kiln when I fire it again.

I put on my rubber coated garden glove and my respirator (glass dust is not good for the lungs) and begin grinding the glass pieces to consistent shapes with my glass grinder.  I only grind off sharp and irregular edges.  The glass will round off in the kiln when I fire it again.

After I complete grinding, I clean the glass thoroughly with glass cleaner and microfiber cloth.  I pour a quantity of fine clear frit into a small bowl and grab a can of cheap hair spray.

After I complete grinding, I clean the glass thoroughly with glass cleaner and microfiber cloth.  I pour a quantity of fine clear frit into a small bowl and grab a can of cheap hair spray.

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I spray the top of each piece of glass with the hair spray and then dip the top of the glass into the frit, covering the top with a thin coating of frit.  This will prevent devitrification and also creates an illusion of matrix in the fired glass that is reminiscent of polished stone.  As I finish each stone, I place it on kiln paper in my kiln, making sure each piece is 1/2″ apart from other pieces.

I spray the top of each piece of glass with the hair spray and then dip the top of the glass into the frit, covering the top with a thin coating of frit.  This will prevent devitrification and also creates an illusion of matrix in the fired glass that is reminiscent of polished stone.  As I finish each stone, I place it on kiln paper in my kiln, making sure each piece is 1/2″ apart from other pieces.

I fire the pieces at a full fuse schedule, which takes about 24 hours to heat and cool to a point I can open the kiln.

I fire the pieces at a full fuse schedule, which takes about 24 hours to heat and cool to a point I can open the kiln.

The finished stones are ready to be set into jewelry!

The finished stones are ready to be set into jewelry!

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