Newbie Here

blueiris24November 4, 2009

Hi -- I just took my first fused glass class last night and LOVED it. I've never worked with glass before, but have always been interested in fused glass and mosaic.... but what an expensive hobby! Yikes! Any advice, suggestions, ideas from those of you who have been doing this for a while?

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Welcome BLUE: I learned to fuse glass last winter on my annual pilgrimage to the Hacienda Mosaico in Puerto Vallarta. The teacher brought her kiln and let us play. You can imagine the fun I had, and had planned to come home and buy a kiln. Well, knowing myself, I knew if I did, I'd go nuts and become so addicted to it, I w/have less time to mosaic. We played w/dichroic glass, and I saw how expensive it is, so bowed out of buying a kiln. I did incorporate all the pieces I made into a mosaic. You can do the same. Dive in, and we'll help you w/what we know. There is lots of talent on this forum, and everyone is willing to share their info.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2009 at 12:52PM
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Welcome, blueiris! You will enjoy visiting this forum. I took a fused glass class earlier this year, and I loved it too! What fun. But - - mosaic is much more economical, especially if you shop thrift shops and buy stained glass scraps at stained glass shops. To do fused glass the way I would like, I would have to buy a kiln and all new glass because our instructor stressed that the glass must all be compatible; otherwise, two pieces that are fused together may develop stress cracks either immediately or much later and might even explode. So since I already have a huge inventory of stained glass and I don't know the brands or the COE of the glass, I will stick with mosaic, unless I win the Lotto. I use stained glass, tile, costume jewelry, beach glass, rocks, and broken china. Have fun and post pictures!

Here is a link that might be useful: Silva's blog

    Bookmark   November 4, 2009 at 1:36PM
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Welcome Blueiris! I haven't tried any fused glass yet and probably wont cause I can't afford a kiln. I'm like silva, mosaic is cheaper to do. These are great folks here on this forum and you will really feel at home before long. Please post photos cause we all love seeing what eachother is doing.

Donna in Florida

    Bookmark   November 4, 2009 at 2:07PM
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Thank you for the warm welcome - I look forward to browsing and looking at your various projects and getting up the courage to try to some mosaic projects.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2009 at 11:01PM
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Wow that totem is beautiful. I'm going to admit right out that I am a big chicken. How did you learn to mosaic? I am most comfortable learning in a classroom hands-on environment -- I get books and get excited but then become intimidated by all the different supplies and who likes what type of adhesive the best and etc etc etc......... and I am bad about just "jumping in" without knowing what I'm doing, which is something I'm working on --- so having noted all my psychosis (well, not all actually) ....... how did you learn? Is there a book you loved? Something you would say "you definitely have to have.."?...

    Bookmark   November 5, 2009 at 11:45AM
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Here's a shortened version of the instructions I hand out when I teach a class. There are other methods to use but these are general and may help you get started.

For indoor projects, mosaic onto wood, terracotta, glass, etc., almost anything except flexible plastic. The substrate must be rigid. If it flexes, the grout will crack. For outdoors, do NOT use wood. Wood will eventually warp no matter how well it is sealed. Use hardibacker, cement backer board, glass, or concrete.

TESSERAE: Ceramic tile, vitreous glass tile, stained glass, smalti, broken china and pottery, glass beads, shells, pebbles, and jewelry. Avoid wooden beads and organic beads such as those made from beans or pods UNLESS they are well sealed.

ADHESIVE: For indoor projects, use Weldbond water-based glue. Do not use Weldbond for outdoor projects. When wet, Weldbond reverts to its liquid state. Another good adhesive is MAC glue. GE Silicone II clear for windows/doors is good for glass on glass and is good for outdoor adhesive. Also for outdoor projects you can use Mapei brand Ultra Flex 2 polymer modified mortar (this is a thinset to be used as an adhesive).

GROUT: Use Polyblend SANDED grout mixed with Acrylic Mortar Admix instead of water.

SEALING: For sealing indoor projects, use Aqua Mix Grout Sealer. Brush on, polish off the tesserae. For sealing outdoor projects, use Aqua Mix UltraSeal Premium Stone & Tile Sealer. Spray on, polish off the tesserae.

Mosaic Steps to follow:

1. Glue on tesserae. Wait 24 hours.
2. Grout. Clean tesserae. Wait 24 hours.
3. Seal. Clean tesserae.

TOOLS: Tile nippers. The best are the wheeled Leponitt nippers. Carborundum stone. This can be purchased at a hardware store and may be called a kitchen sharpener. Use to take the sharp edges off. Sponges, rectangular, to wipe the grout off the tesserae. Old terry cloth rags, craft sticks, plastic bins for mixing grout and for water. Gloves. Blue painterÂs tape


Direct  glue tesserae directly onto the substrate. Tesserae can also be glued to mesh and then transported elsewhere and affixed, to a wall or a fireplace surround, for example. Your first projects should be the direct method.

Indirect  lay tesserae upside down in a mold coated with Vaseline or mold release, and pour cement, as for a stepping stone, or glue tesserae upside down onto brown Kraft paper. The indirect method is usually used when a smooth surface is required, or when mosaics are made in a studio and then transported elsewhere for installation. The tesserae MUST be flat and secure, else the cement can creep under it and spoil the look.

A helpful book is Classic Mosaic by Elaine M. Goodwin.

You can email me with any questions.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2009 at 3:59PM
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Wow Silva thank you for the great information, and I'll check out the book as well. I really appreciate the guidance.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2009 at 11:57PM
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