Glue is a great tool to simplify glass fusing construction and facilitate creative displays.
One of the most common questions I get is, What kind of glue did you use? Here’s a roundup of what I use when I use it and why.
Here’s a quick guide to when and how I use different adhesives in my work.
Glue Stick. Do not use it in the kiln.
When making intricate designs I often work from a paper pattern. This extra step greatly improves the fit of my cut glass pieces and minimizes the amount of grinding I have to do. I use a glue stick to hold the paper pattern pieces in place while I cut and grind the glass. I apply glue to the back of the paper pattern pieces. Then I cut around the paper with my cutter. I then grind the pieces to fine tune the shapes and remove sharp edges. The water from the grinder loosens the glue so the paper easily slides off. I clean any remaining glue off the glass with water and a towel.
Elmer’s School Glue. Safe to use in the kiln. Use in moderation.
I use Elmer’s glue to hold my cut glass pieces in place while I assemble a project. It keeps my pieces from moving when I add design elements and when I carry the project to the kiln. I apply the smallest amount possible with the point of a toothpick. This small amount burns off during firing without leaving any residue behind.
That said, if I can avoid using glue on a project I do. However, if I feel using glue will improve the overall outcome, I don’t hesitate to use it. Sometimes I just glue the outside border or pieces around the perimeter to reduce the amount of glue used.
Hair Spray. Safe to use in the kiln. Use in moderation.
Hair spray is great when you want to keep small pieces in place while assembling a project. I drip it from a needle tip applicator bottle over stringers and other tiny accent pieces. Because it is a light liquid it easily flows under the glass and then dries quickly.
I also spray the hair spray directly from the bottle over powder frit to ensure I retain an even costing of frit. I suggest you practice this technique on a piece of scrap glass. It takes a few tries to get the distance away from the frit and the spray pattern just right.
E6000 Adhesive. Do not use it in the kiln.
I use E600 to glue fused components together, like a sculpture to a glass display base. It’s great for small and medium-size projects. I also use it to glue saw tooth hangers on the back of hanging wall art. Prop the glued art, so it doesn’t slide off before the glue dries. I let the glue dry overnight.
Silicone Caulk. Do not use it in the kiln.
Silicone caulk is great for medium and large size projects where I need a lot of glue. I use a caulk gun to apply the silicone along the outside edges quickly and easily. I often tape the project together to secure it until the glue dries. Electrical tape works well because it sticks to glass, and it stretches which ensures a tight clean fit.
Keep in mind not all glues are safe to use in a kiln. Some glues release toxic fumes when heated. Use adhesives that are intended for kiln use and purchased from your art glass supplier.
Of course, if you have success with a specific adhesive used outside the kiln keep using it. These suggestions are intended to expand your adhesive choices when working with glass.
I hope this roundup is helpful and prevents you from getting stuck.
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Fused Glass Sculptures
August 17, 2023
You’re Invited to Join Me!
Creating striking sculptural fused glass forms is easy when you know the professional tips and tricks!
Join me in this comprehensive webinar and learn how easily you can put tried and true methods to use in unlikely ways, to create extraordinary sculptural art.
In this in-depth webinar, you’ll learn pro tips and tricks for better glass cutting. See how to mix different fusible materials to make more elaborate designs.
You’ll be amazed how using standard slumping molds in unique ways can drastically improve the shape of your art.
You’ll be inspired by the innovative combination of ordinary techniques I share.
You’ll be confident to fuse glass after seeing how easy it is to load, program and fire a kiln.
Best of all, you’ll have an exclusive technical advantage with the advanced understanding of my dependable firing programs. And you’ll love the stunning three-dimensional results you can achieve by fusing all of these concepts together.
Enjoy the thrill of limitless possibilities.
Beginner and advanced students alike will find inspiration, motivation and renewed artistic freedom from seeing the step-by-step construction of more than 5 sculptural projects in this webinar.
After this exciting webinar you’ll have the professional knowledge and increased confidence to incorporate these innovative methods in your new work.
In addition, you’ll have a working knowledge of kiln operation, custom firing guides, and a deeper understanding of sculptural glass fusing fabrication.
You’ll have the burning desire, and the cool self-confidence, to take your passion to greater heights.
I hope you’ll join me August 17, 2023!