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Making Your Own Glass Frit

This is part two of a two part series.  Click here to go to the beginning of the series.


Melting in a crucible

This technique requires more caution than the first two. Place the glass in a crucible, a ceramic container made for withstanding the heat of the kiln. Heat it to around 1700 degrees F and soak to allow the glass to melt.
Then turn off the kiln and use tongs to remove the crucible. (Wear gloves and eye protection and take special care not to burn yourself or drop the crucible.) Slowly pour the molten glass into a bucket of cold
water. The glass will break into finer particles than in the tack fuse approach discusses above. Make sure you return the crucible to the kiln and let it cool slowly to prevent thermal shock.

Pipe-crushing

Obtain two hollow pipes, one slightly larger in diameter than the other so that one pipe fits inside the other. Close off one end of the smaller pipe, fill it with rocks or similar heavy items, then close off the other end.

Now place the larger pipe upright on a hard surface like cement and fill it part of the way with the glass you want to break. Slide the smaller, heavy pipe into the larger one, letting it drop full force onto the glass. (You will probably need a second person to help you hold the larger pipe.)

Raise the smaller pipe and drop again and again until you are satisfied with the size of the particles. If you use this technique, wear eye protection and a mask or respirator to protect you from the silica dust. Also, as with any other frit making technique that involves metal, you may want to use a magnet to extract any metal chips that may be caught in the frit.

Frit-making machines

It is possible to buy frit-making machines, called "glass crushers." A ball mill machine can also be used to make frit. Alternatively, you can rig up your own machine using a garbage disposal, heavy duty blender, or similar item. Boyce Lundstrom's Advanced Fusing Techniques describes a crusher built from an old garbage disposal and a large steel drum. Kervin and Fenton's Pate de Verre and Kiln Casting of Glass also has information about building your own frit machine.

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If you make your own frit, you will probably want to separate it into sizes and store it in jars or plastic bags until needed. You can separate the glass manually or you can use wire mesh screens, which are available from ceramic supply stores. You may also want to wash the frit carefully after separating to remove any dust or other contaminants.
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Copyright 2005 Brad Walker.  All rights reserved.

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