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How to Control Fused Glass Edge Quality

What’s volume control, and why is it important?

Glass Fusing Refresh

Great glass work is the product of a strong foundation and knowledge base. So, let’s go back to the basics and make sure you’re clear on the fundamentals that produce consistent, high quality artwork.

Fusing Fundamentals-Beyond Basics

Wherever you are in your glass fusing journey, newbie or advanced artisan, I believe we can all benefit from reviewing construction basics on occasion. Here’s why: 

Excited newbies are usually so eager to cut glass that they don’t really hearthe guidelines and they lack the experience to realize the relative importance of these recommendations on their finished project. While advanced crafters are absorbed in the creative process and the end result, to the point that they can go blind to the practicality of solid construction. 

Then there are those dare devils who’ve stumbled onto glass fusing and are immediately hooked. They dive right in giving little, if any, consideration to protocol. You know who you are. You fire first and ask later. 

No matter how you came to call yourself a fuser, this is for you.

Let’s start at the beginning.  

Glass Fusing- Defined 

Glass fusing is the process of taking compatible glass, stacking it to make a pattern or design and then firing it in a kiln until the glass melts together. Simple, right? Now, let’s build from there. 

Glass Fusing Fundamentals  

Volume Control – The Foundation for Quality Work  

What’s volume control, and why is it important?

Volume control is the relationship between how a project is assembled and its finished size, shape and thickness after fusing. It’s a formula you can use to accurately predict how your project will look and feel after it’s been fired. 

Let’s say you want to fuse a series of glass tiles to make a back-splash for your kitchen. But you can only fit 20 tiles in your kiln at one time, and you need 200 tiles to complete the job.

With what you’ll soon learn about volume control, every tile from the first to the last will match beautifully. Or let’s say you have a tropical fish pattern you’d like to work into a larger project. Here, the size and shape of the finished piece is very important to you. If the fish shrinks or grows in size, it could ruin the entire design. 

Another thing to consider, is whether or not you intend to slump your fused glass. The fused glass must fit neatly inside the mold, not on the rim, or it will slump unevenly to one side. This is where volume control comes into effect. With it, you’ll know how to compensate for any potential growth in advance of fusing your glass. (A good rule of thumb is to measure the mold and then cut your glass ¼ inch to ½ inch smaller than that measurement.) 

You have choices when it comes to how to assemble your projects. Different methods of construction will result in different project characteristics. Our goal here is to give you the tools to make educated decisions when selecting your technique so you have greater control and more satisfying results.  

How Glass Reacts to High Heat

Fused glass seeks a thickness of ¼ inch. That means a project made with a single layer of 1/8” thick glass will shrink. When it shrinks, the edges roll in and can become sharp. This shrinkage causes inconsistencies in the glass thickness. It’s usually surprisingly thick around the perimeter and thin in the middle. A project made by layering two pieces of 1/8” thick glass is likely to retain its original size and shape and will have a consistent thickness throughout. While a project made by layering three pieces of 1/8” thick glass will grow. When it grows, the shape distorts, and a square becomes a bad circle.  

Before starting a project, ask yourself how it will be used. If it’s an ornament, a single layer might be your best method of assembly due to the loose, free form shape and its light weight. If the piece is intended to be a decorative bowl, the two-layer assembly would be my choice. It has a clean, rounded edge quality and is consistent in thickness throughout. Now, if I were making a patterned sheet of glass to cut up with my saw, I’d go for the three-layer approach. In this example, the finished size and shape of the fused glass blank is irrelevant because the fused glass will be cut up.

How the placement of accents effect the size and shape of fused glass.

My Building Process

Most of my work is assembled with the two layer, plus accent method. I refer to the bottom layer as the base and the second as the design layer. The base layer and design layer are the same shape and size. The base layer is often a single piece of clear, but not always; sometimes it’s made up of cut pieces. The second design layer can be a single piece of glass, but often, its pieces fit together to make a specific pattern or design. The third accent layer is minimal, and it usually consists of small fusible elements that enhance the design theme. I choose to build this way because I get consistent results time after time. The finished size and shape of the artwork is predictable. The pieces come out of the kiln with beautiful, rounded edges and a consistent thickness that is both attractive and durable.   

It’s All Good   

Keep in mind, there’s no single right or wrong way to make any project. Personal preference, design style and function, should all play a role in helping you decide which approach is best. The objective is to consciously choose your fabrication method based on a solid understanding of the medium, rather than on a whim. 

There are always exceptions to the rules. The minute I make finite rules for myself, I break them. So, I’ve learned not to box myself in. You shouldn’t either. 

Enjoy the journey. The destination will take care of itself.

Watch the video here.

Read more about Volume Control here

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Happy Fusing!


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How to Create Shadows and Shading

You’re wondering why is this subject important? You’ve likely had success working some element of shading into your pieces and that’s great. However, you may not know about the seldom discussed advanced techniques experienced artists use to produce more sophisticated compositions. With thoughtful planning, you can apply these simple techniques and drastically increase the richness of your work.      

When creating shading, it’s natural to reach for black frit or black glass. Black efficiently separates the foreground from the background. Black is also great for outlining your subject. However, there’s a better solution that adds richness to your scene.

When you use black to make shadows it creates a visual hole in your work. This void pulls the viewer’s attention away from your composition. For this reason, I use black as little as possible. I apply it with purpose for specific details in my designs. Instead of black, I use very dark blue, chocolate brown, deep purple or ruby red to make shadows in my pieces. I select the dark color that best suits the color scheme in my artwork. Using powerful high contrast colors adds velvety depth and an incredible richness to the setting.

How to create shadows with color.

Wine Glass as seen in my Simple Pleasures Video

Here I used dark blue to establish the linear details that translate into a grape vineyard behind the wine glass. The deep shadows the blue color creates, give the scene a relaxing late afternoon mood. The border is dark purple which mimics the color of grapes and wine.

Octopus Tray as seen in my Premium Video Membership

Here I used dark red to make shadows on the underside of the octopus tentacles. This application also makes the tentacle visually round and full. Dark red also worked beautifully to outline the octopus body and place it in front of the tentacles that curl behind its body. The only black in this piece is the eye detail.

Fairy tale Forest as seen in my Painting with Frit Video

There’s no black in this lush scene. The dark shadows in the trees and along the path are made with dark blue. The shadow cast on the woodland path is a combination of purple and dark amber frit. Get creative with your color combinations to build up dark recesses that make your highlighted details pop.

Winter Landscape as seen in the winter issue G.P.Q. Magazine Jan 2023

In this piece of art, black is limited to the lines on the tree trunks. I selected muted tones to create a quiet, calm, and relaxing setting. The shadow under the trees are created with medium purple frit. It simultaneously gave me depth and softness which I wanted to portray in this winter scene.

Welcome Fall as seen in my Premium Video Membership

When making this seasonal piece I wanted to maintain a warm yet rich color palette. I used a small amount black in the word welcome and in some of the letters that spell out FALL. When it came to adding shadows to the pumpkin, I used orange opal frit. The contrast is subtle but effective. I’m pleased with the stylized design and the inviting warmth it adds to my home.  

You got this!

Don’t worry about missing black. Once you substitute colors for black, you’ll love the effects you’re able to create. You’ll be amazed how switching to dark colors transforms your art and brings it to life.

Artists take what they see and make it new.

We take an ordinary scene and turn it into something new that reflects our sense of drama and whimsy. Using rich colors, instead of black, is a fabulous way to push designs in any direction you want to establish a personalized mood and tone. Give it a try. The possibilities are endless. You’re only limited by your imagination.

Watch the video here.

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Happy Fusing!


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Advanced Design-How to Create Impressive Backgrounds

When I open myself to inspiration and begin the design process for a new piece of art, my first consideration is the focal point. I ask myself, what key element do I want to include to drive the design direction? Once I’ve established the subject matter, I wonder, what can I do to enhance my focal point to  make my composition stronger?

I then imagine my subject in different settings. I tap into my mood that day? Do I envision my design going in a geometric direction with complex shapes or do I feel like building a tropical scene with lush foliage? Once I decide my path, I plan the best way to reach my destination.

Creating the subject is easy.

I know from the start what I want to make, so I begin construction with that. When it comes to establishing a background that creates a relevant setting for the subject, I have several fabrication options. I can surround the subject with a decorative border, leaves, or any other related shape. I select design elements that complement my subject and support my design vision. This type of design style is literal. The objects are recognizable and translate the artist’s intention easily, which is great.

But sometimes I feel my design would benefit from a more subtle approach to the background. In that case, I create an entirely different complimentary design on the base layer. It’s fun, easy and an  extremely effective way to enhance a simple pattern. In effect, the base layer is no longer just mass or a platform to build on. With this easy to apply technique the base layer now offers the clever artist an opportunity to create a more intricate design with greater depth.      

Daisy Dish is a great example of the beauty of this multi-layer design technique. By applying this technique, we introduce color, create pattern, and present a lush setting in just a few easy steps.

How it’s done.

This project is made with two design layers. The base layer is white. We sifted pastel powder frit over stencils to create a botanical background. The second clear layer is placed on top. Daisy flower petals are then arranged on a clear layer. The white flowers are detailed with yellow frit. Building this way, with parts of the design separated by the clear layer produces cool shadows and a greater sense of depth. This innovative technique has a lot of potential. It’s prefect for creative experimentation that ultimately illuminates pathways to exciting new design ideas.

Daisy Dish is the newest addition to my Premium Video Membership course. Members can assess this tutorial with their membership. Join today to enjoy this lovely project along with 16 other exciting, advanced glass fusing project videos and complimentary printable pattern eBooks.

Wherever you are on your journey you’re doing great! Enjoy the journey. The destination will take care of itself.    

Watch the video here.

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Happy Fusing!


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6 Easy Ways to Include Words in Your Designs

We’re a chatty society. We favor T-shirts with funny sayings and wall art with inspirational messages written on them. It’s only natural to want to add a similar touch to your fused glass art. But creating text that’s attractive and legible in glass is difficult because the medium is bulky.

I’ve been including words in my art for years. It takes extra effort, but I’m willing to put in the time when  the inclusion of a written message will strengthen the impact of my artwork. The techniques outlined here are fun, fast, and easy. They’re great compliments for seasonal pieces, personalized gifts, and stylized art.

Let’s get started.

Great Fall is a super fun project! The step-by-step tutorial and full size pattern are now available in the Fall 2023 issue of Glass Patterns Quarterly. I included it here because it’s a terrific example of combining different methods in the same piece of art.

Great Fall

I wanted the word Great to be compact and graceful. I painted it on the glass with black Glassline outlining medium. After the paint dries, I go back and touch up the lettering to make the line width uniform. I use the point of a wooden toothpick or a razor knife to scrape the unwanted paint away.

When it came time to render the word Fall, I had a few ideas in mind. I could simply cut thin strips of glass or use noodles to write the word. Then it occurred to me that using colorful stringers would give me visual texture and look like sticks. This was the first time I tried that method and I’m really pleased with the results.

Welcome Fall

Welcome Fall is a new video course that will be released soon. Premium Video Members can look forward to having access to this fun project with their membership.


Batty utilizes the cut glass method to include text. The balloon style lettering is easy to cut out of glass and the oversized word adds an additional splash of color to the simple design. This bouncy lettering style is well suited for short impactful words. The Batty pattern is in my eBook Fireworks.


Love also uses the cut glass method to achieve lettering. Here the lettering is the design and so, bold bright colors are key to delivering the lively message. These straight letters are fast and easy to cut. They’re a great choice for writing names. The Love how-to video and pattern eBook is available through my Premium Video Membership.   

Cookies for Santa

Cookies for Santa is a wonderful example of using frit to write intricate messages on your fused glass designs. Simply sift powder frit over the glass then write your words in the frit with a small paint brush or the eraser end of a pencil. For the best results, use high contrast colors and apply a thick layer of frit. Have fun with it! The Cookies for Santa pattern is in my eBook Fireworks.


Wish features delicate, whimsical lettering. The word is made by sifting powder frit, over a stencil. This easy technique is great for quick projects that call for intimate details. Hint, use more than one color frit to get a paintbrush stroke quality to the lettering. Also, use high contrast colors to ensure good readability. 

Wedding Heart

Wedding Heart is a little more complicated than the other techniques shown here. The advantage of using this method is it’s extremely effective and the results are graceful and elegant. Here the lettering is handwritten in liquid platinum with a needle type applicator pen. These items are available from your art glass supplier. The liquid platinum is fired onto the glass in the kiln for a permanent finish. The lettering is fired face down, in contact with a primed ceramic kiln shelf. Tip, the lettering does not adhere well if fired on fiber paper. It comes out dull and blotchy instead of uniform and shiny.

The lettering on the front of the heart is written with a silver sharpie marker. It’s not permanent and will wash off if the glass gets wet. We used these hearts for seating markers at my daughter’s wedding. They were memorable keepsakes and the guests loved them!

Including words in your projects is a fun way to ramp up the visual intricacy of your art.

Whether you keep it simple or combine multiple techniques you’re sure to enjoy the process and the outcome. I hope you found this spotlight on easy ways to include lettering in your fused glass designs helpful. Now get writing!    

Watch the How to Include Words in Your Designs with Lisa Vogt video here.

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Happy Fusing!


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Celebrate Glowing Seasonal Home Accents

Fall in Florida is like spring up north in the sense that we’re coming off of months spent inside due to extreme temperatures outside. In Florida we were inside to avoid the heat, up north it’s to avoid the cold. Aa a result, Autumn’s crisp air and colorful foliage inspires renewed creativity and a longing to spend time in my glass studio.

Autumn also marks the upcoming holiday season. It means it’s time to start thinking about making fun seasonal themed fused glass projects to decorate my home and give as gifts. In recent years, I’ve really enjoyed displaying sparkling fused glass lanterns in my home, office, and yard. Lanterns are an easy way to include art glass in my decor to bring a special brightness and cheerful joy to these personal spaces.   

Especially around the holidays, I enjoy having soft accent lights around my home. So, I created a collection of lanterns I could switch out seasonally to add a festive atmosphere to my rooms all year long. And best of all, having a variety of design themes keeps the construction fresh and fun.

In my video Lumin-Essence I show how to make 8 shimmering lanterns. The lanterns range in complexity, but anyone with a flair for fusing can easily make them all. I will tell you though, they will challenge your fabrication skills. But in a good, try something new way that you’ll love. 

Fall Leaf is a quick and easy design to get you fired up and bring a seasonal touch to your home. It’s organic shape and bright, cheery colors make it the perfect complement to your fall decorations. Plus, the compact size makes it the perfect accent in small spaces or in dark areas where a little light would warm up your space.   

Brilliant gift ideas just in time for the holidays.

The first lantern I designed was inspired by relaxing summer vacations spent on a serene lake. A sailboat glides over calm waters with a picturesque view of mountains and pine trees behind. The custom made glass base provides a lift and an attractive pedestal to showcase the scenic setting. The front panel of the lantern bows out. The back panel bows in the opposite creating the perfect space for a candle or LED lights.

Weave is an especially fun lantern to make. It looks complicated and fragile, when in reality it’s easy and sturdy once assembled. Plus, it’s a terrific size for adding a touch of light to small or confined spaces. The assembly is simple. You cut a bunch of strips, lay them out in 4 alternating layers and then tack the pieces together in your kiln. The 4 sides are then glued together around a clear glass base. I like to add dichroic glass strips to mine for that super shine that lights up the room. The best part is Weave looks amazingly beautiful when lit. The open construction and rich colors cast a rainbow of colors on the table and surrounding walls.

Winter Wonderland is my favorite lantern. The clear glass backdrop is the perfect complement to the white and dichroic snowflakes. This dazzling lantern requires extra steps as the snowflakes are tacked together and then tacked on the clear front and back panels. Let me tell you, this one is worth your time. Winter Wonderland is a spectacular, glistening addition to any room.

Dogwood reminds me of flower gardening and the rebirth of nature in the spring. I selected a crisp, clean, simple color palate for this lantern. I used clear glass for the lattice because I wanted this lantern to have structure, but also a light, airy feel. The flowers are fun to make. They’re tacked together and then slumped in small bowl molds to give them form. Dogwood is assembled it multiple easy steps. The lantern sides are glued around a clear base. After the glue is dry the flowers are glued on one side at a time. When lit, Dogwood makes a dazzling centerpiece.  

Blue Mountains was inspired by the cool gradient colors of the Great Smoky Mountains. We all enjoy a refreshing trip to the mountains where stunning views and peaceful moments linger in our hearts. With this lantern you can relive those tranquil times every day. This lantern is super easy to make. You just layer several shades of blue. The beauty of Blue Mountains is in its simplicity of design and construction. You’ll love making this restful lantern.    

Red Heart is a darling combination of vivid color and lacy pattern. The great thing about this lantern is the small, fused glass design combined with a ready-made candle shelter, make it quick and easy to construct. You’ll definitely want one of these around come February. This dainty lantern is a perfect personalized gift to show family and friends they hold a special place in your heart.

Purple Heart may be dainty, but it lights up the room with an impressive glow. It’s another quick and easy project that makes a great gift. Just fuse glass strips and then glue them on a ready-made candle shelter. It doesn’t get easier.   

I hope this illuminating collection inspires you to be creative and celebrate family, friends, and all that we have to be thankful for. 

All of my multi-project videos come with a printable full size pattern eBook.

If you enjoy reading my blog, I have a feature on my website you’ll like. From the home page click on any page. On the right hand side bar you can read my Top 10 Blog Posts. The list updates every 48 hours so check back often.

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Happy Fusing!


You’re Invited to Join Me for This Upcoming LIVE Event!

Think Like an Artist, A Live 1 -Hour Lecture with Lisa

September 21, 2023

How to Think Like an Artist 

Essential Design and Color Theory for Every Artist 

Exceptional art is no accident. It is the product of a strategic plan that employs thoughtful design and color decisions, made by a skilled artist. Outstanding art is the result of informed choices applied to a work of art from its conception and then carried out through to its completion. 

In this comprehensive lecture, I’ll show you how to lay out your design to establish impactful compositions. I’ll explain how and why you should use color to create a light source, add visual depth, and create a sense of mood. You’ll learn how to use high-contrast colors to influence the viewers engagement with your art. You’ll see the importance of including recognizable subject matter and a focal point. 

No matter where you are in your journey, your artistic approach will benefit significantly from the easy-to-develop practices outlined in this in-depth presentation.  

Don’t miss this fast-track opportunity to learn the age-old, hidden secrets employed by the great masters. Enjoy renewed artistic freedom with an understanding of the proven methods they used to create unforgettable original works of art. 

Join me for this intimate, conversational live event to ignite your dormant creativity and experience a renewed awakening of your personal artistic strengths. 

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