Horizontal Strip Cabochons – Part 1


The design for these fused glass cabochons is really very simple. They are just a couple of strips of solid coloured glass  along with strips cut from part sheets made according to the tutorial on the BullsEye website. By mixing colours and strips from part sheets a lot of variation can be achieved.

Due to the amount of work required to make these cabochons I have decided to break the process into 2 posts – one about producing the part sheets, another to cover the preparation and creation of the cabochons.

So first to make the part sheets.

If you’re not sure what a part sheet is, go to the BullsEye website and do a search on ‘part sheet’. You will find a number of resources, though some are only available if you have a membership. Basically, they are just sheets to which you have added decoration with things like stringers, confetti and frit. Not hard to make and I will cover the basics here.

Fused Glass Part Sheets - After Firing
Fused Glass Part Sheets – After Firing

Because my intentions is to eventually use my part sheets in cabochons, I decided to make up a number of sheets with different designs and colour themes. The idea is to cut my part sheets into strips and then border these with strips of black and other colours. Very simple design and I am sure nothing new.

You could use any colour for the base, but I decided to use clear glass only. In the future I will be trying other coloured transparent glass, and possibly opalescent as well. I was looking for a good contrast between the solid coloured strips I would be adding, so clear seemed like a good idea.

First I cut 4 pieces of 3mm clear BullsEye COE 90, each 120mm x 100mm. Why that size? I had a piece that suited and I could fit 4 pieces that size in the kiln. These were then cleaned up before moving to the decoration.

Ann and I then added stringers, confetti and coarse frit to the 4 base pieces. We made sure to lay the design right up to the edge, trying to ensure that when we cut them into strips we didn’t end up with pieces that had little decoration and were basically just clear glass. Whatever your design, keep this in mind. We were going to cut the sheets into 1cm and 2cm strips so to achieve your desired effect imagine your design cut into your chosen shape. Will the design still look good when cut in small pieces?

We didn’t use any glue to hold things in place. My concern was staining of the glass. However, the only problem is that stringers like to roll about. We did have to make adjustments after moving the sheets to the shelf and into the kiln.

They were all fired to a full fuse on BullsEye Thinfire shelf paper. Firing schedule is below.

After Firing

Fused Glass Part Sheets - Before Firing
Fused Glass Part Sheets – Before Firing

You can see from the photo that the firing worked well.

As expected, the pink confetti did show signs of devitrification. This seems to be a problem with his particular colour. I noticed some mention on other websites of this problem. However, I intend to final fuse this with the deco side down against the base piece so I am hoping it will be fine in the end.

The other sheets all fused fine, but they did pull in along the edges, as expected. This is only 3mm glass. As these will be cut up into strips and refused I don’t expect this to be a problem.

I did have a 10 minute hold on this firing schedule at the processing temperature, but did skip it when I realised the sheets had fused sufficiently. One of the things I was trying to avoid was an over fuse. If fused too long the crisp definition of the stringers and frit would be lost as they spread across the sheet.

All the sheets came away from the kiln cleanly. The paper is absolutely the way to go with these firings.

So in Part 2 I will cover the preparation and making of the final cabochons.

Firing Schedule

Full Fuse – 3mm Part Sheets of BullsEye COE 90 with decoration

Please be aware that all kilns fire differently and this schedule may not produce the same results in your kiln.

Segment Rate (C/hr) Target (C) Hold (mns)
1. Strain Release 150 537 10
2. Process 316 804 0 (see notes above)
3. Anneal Full 482 45
4. Cool 83 371 5

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