Making Your Own Glass Frit
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Copyright 2005 Brad Walker.
All rights reserved.