Cardinals are a bright, cheerful sight in the peaceful winter months. This colorful little fellow will bring joy to your home all season long. And you’ll love how fast and easy this delightful project is to make.
Let’s get started.
Detailed projects like this one are easier to make if you work from a pattern. Preparing the pattern may seem tedious, but the increase in accuracy and fit really improve the overall quality of your finished project. Plus, patterns make more elaborate designs manageable, so even the most indicate design is still fun to build.
Make two copies of the pattern and then number the patterns. (Time saver Tip: Number the pattern before making the copy. Don’t be like me and forget to do it before heading to the glass studio.
To maintain consistency in the thickness of the finished art, this free-form shaped project is made with two layers of glass. Using the pattern as a guide, cut the base layer out of clear glass. Cut the oval shape first. Then cut clear pieces for the tips of the pine needles that extend outside the oval shape. Cutting these little pieces, and adding this extra step, ensures that the narrow pine needles will keep their shape during firing. Without the clear base, they’ll shrink dis proportionality to the rest of the project and be fragile after fusing.
Now that the base is cut, let’s move on to the second layer. Cut blue glass for the sky to the same shape and size as the clear oval base. Grind the cut glass to remove any sharp edges and improve the shape.
Use scissors to cut one paper pattern into the free form shape. Draw a line around the pattern on a primed kiln shelf, or on a fiber paper lined shelf. Arrange the clear base pieces on the shelf inside the pencil line.
Set the shelf and assembled glass aside.
Here comes the fun part, cutting the pine needles and cardinal. Cut the pattern up. Glue the pine needle pieces on green glass with a glue stick. Cut around the pieces, cutting as close as possible to the edge without running into the paper. Remove the excess glass with pliers.
Glue the cardinal pattern pieces to red glass. Cut the cardinal out. Grind the cut glass to improve the shape and the fit of the pieces. Remove the wet pattern from the ground glass. Clean and dry the glass with a towel. Arrange the bird and pine needles on the spare pattern and set aside.
For a fun added detail, use a paper punch to make snowflake shaped flurries. Press the snowflakes out of Thinfire fiber paper. Scatter the snowflakes on the clear base. Stack the blue glass on top sealing the snowflakes between layers. (FYI: I have not tried this encasing technique with other fiber papers. If you use a different paper your results may vary.)
Using the paper pattern and pencil line as a guide, stack the pine needles and cardinal on the glass. Hold the pieces in place with a small amount of fuser’s glue. This keeps the pieces from moving when you carry the kiln shelf and glass to the kiln. Spoon white frit on the pine needles to represent snow. Use a small paint brush to clean up the top edge of the snow. Sprinkle a little white frit on the blue sky. For a little sparkle, place white dichroic frit on top of the snow and on the sky.
Fire the assembled glass to a full fuse temperature using the guide below.
I love the crisp, vibrant colors of the finished piece and the extra detail the encased fiber paper gives the sky. The Thinfire shrunk lightly during firing and left a delicate star shaped, snowflake pattern in the background. The sparkly dichroic frit adds a little magic to this winter wonderland.
This season when you’re feeling the icy chill of cold winter days, create your own warmth. Snuggle up to your kiln and make this cheery Cardinal and Pine Tree.
This pattern is just one of many seasonal delights you can make in the book Home for the Holidays available as a download on my website.
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