Honeycomb Plate

Turquoise Fused Glass Honeycomb Bowl

This project has been hanging around on my list for some time now.  Not sure why exactly, but it may be because I knew it would be a little tedious. You will see what I mean a little later.

Anyway, the time came to give it a go.

I chose turquoise simply because it is one of my favorite colours. The fact I had a piece of turquoise handy may have also helped.

The basic idea to create the honeycomb effect is to fuse a whole stack of small clear transparent cabs into a base sheet of glass. As the clear glass cabs melt down into the base sheet they push the coloured glass aside and create the honeycomb effect, as you will see.

Your first decision is do you want a random honeycomb effect where the cells are not uniform in size and pattern, or you want a more typical honeycomb effect where the cells are uniform in size and arrangement.

I chose a random effect. To get this I would need cabs of varying sizes. If I had chosen a more typical honeycomb effect I would have needed cabs all the same size.

Something I must mention is this. You can vary all sorts of things with this design. You can mix up sizes of cabs, mix up clear and coloured transparent cabs, even add in a few opal cabs, arrange them in any sort of pattern you choose and so on. You may also not bother to fuse the clear glass in to cabs and just lay it straight onto your base and fuse it in. You really do have a lot of design flexibility with this effect.

Simple Round Fused Glass CabochonsSo the first task is to create a stack of small transparent glass cabs of varying sizes. And I mean a stack. This isn’t that hard, just a little tedious. To create a small cab all you have to do is full fuse a small piece of glass  until surface tension pulls the glass into a small round cab.  Have a read of this post to see how I do this. A simple way to get rid of any kiln paper from the cabs is to tumble them with some silicon carbide grit for a few hours. You could use kiln wash instead of kiln paper and this may result in a cleaner finish.

This is also a good time to use up any scrap clear glass you may have. I chose to dig into my scrap and just cut it into all sorts of sizes, not necessarily square and this worked fine. You can see that a few pieces fused together so take care to leave some space around each piece.

Once they are fused, clean and dry the cabs.

Honetcomb PlateNow decide on your mold and cut the base glass to suit. For my mold I needed two pieces of glass 240 mm square. To help with the dilution effect I decided to fuse Bullseye Turquoise Opalescent 0116 onto a sheet of clear. I hoped the clear underneath would further lighten the dilution through the turquoise.

Honetcomb PlateOnce the base pieces are cut, clean and layup on a sheet of Bullseye Thinfire paper, or a kiln washed shelf. Now comes the fun.

Get all of your little cabs and lay them up on top of the base in what ever arrangement you desire. Just be sure to leave a small gap between each cab. If you don’t they will merge together and you will get odd shaped dilution cells (that’s another design option).

Now full fuse until all the cabs have fused down fully into the base sheets and you have one piece. The firing schedule I used is below.

Honetcomb PlateThe result of my fuse was a little devitrification around the cabs. This was probably due to spending a little too long at the top temperature. Keep an eye on your piece and minimise the hold as much as possible. If you get devit you can remove by hand sanding but I sandblasted my piece and then did a fire polish (schedule below). If you have any other problems now is the time to clean them up and do a fire polish if necessary.

Honetcomb PlateYou could opt to not fire polish if you sandblast, and slump into the mold as is. If you do you will get a nice satin finish to your piece instead of a high gloss. However, if you have just spot sanded I do recommend you do a fire polish before the slump. If you don’t you make get an uneven finish.

Now you have your piece ready for the slump prep,are your mold. I always use boron nitride spray now as it is just so easy and gives an excellent finish. However, use whatever means you prefer to prepare the mold.

Honetcomb PlateSlump according to whatever schedule necessary for your mold. The schedule I used can be found on this post.

I was very pleased with the end result. It’s a beautiful bowl and is a great addition to my collection.

Honeycomb Plate

Firing Schedule

Full Fuse – Bowl

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. Release 222 537 30
2. Process 333 790 20
3. Anneal Full 516 60
4. Cool 83 371 15

Fire Polish – Bowl

Segment Rate (C/hr) Target (C) Hold (mns)
1. Release 222 537 45
2. Process 333 722 5
3. Anneal Full 516 60
4. Cool 83 371 10

Slump – Bowl

Segment Rate (C/hr) Target (C) Hold (mns)
1. Process 167 663 30
2. Anneal Full 516 90
3. Cool 83 371 10

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