We have been making round fused glass cabochons for some time now, but never tried to use them for much else other than stud earrings. With a little thought it seemed that they could be used to make a range of designs for more interesting earrings and pendants.
A few tests later I found that there were a couple of factors that influenced the final result.
As usual, the glass used is Bullseye 90 COE. In this post I won’t cover making the small cabochons in detail, more how I tried using them to make other items.
The cabs used are all about 10mm in diameter and have been fully fused in our glass kiln, cold worked and then fire polished in the kiln to a high polish.
For the test I decided on just a few basic patterns. I wanted to get a feel for how the cabochons reacted in the fuse before making final designs.
This photo show the designs prior to fusing. Nothing too fancy.
These were all cleaned thoroughly and laid up on Bullseye Thinfire kiln paper. They were fused using the firing schedule below.
In the second photo showing final result after fusing you can notice a couple of important things.
In the set of 3 cabs top-right you can see how the cabs have fused with very precise divisions meeting in the middle very nicely. I must admit, I wasn’t sure what the result would be. The down side is that there is some slight devitrification on the turquoise.
The 3 cabs in a line also have fused with very clear divisions and each colour is very similar in size.
The 4 cabs bottom-right surprised me again with the precise divisions and equal colour sections.
But now have a look at the larger piece comprised of 7 cabs. Not so precise and each colour section is not equal. So what happened?
Here’s my take. While the cabs all looked equal in size, they were not. Slight differences in size and thus volume meant that surface tension had the opportunity to pull the glass slightly more in some areas than others, distorting the divisions between colours.
For this piece to work I believe that all cabs would need to be precisely equal and precisely positioned. Any slight variation will result in some irregularity.
In summary, I learned to be more careful with the cabs I select, and consider the design carefully. Any complex designs will need to be well thought out if I am to use different sized cabs. The balance between cabs due to surface tension is a major design factor.
Give this a go as I am sure some fantastic results can be achieved with this simple concept. I will surely be trying it again and I would love to see any results you may have.
Full Fuse – Fuse together small cabs
Please be aware that all kilns fire differently and this schedule may not produce the same results in your kiln.
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