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Flow Bowl? Skip The Bar! Fused Glass Project Tutorial

Fused Glass Flow Bar Project

Skip the flow bar, or pattern bar if you prefer. Go straight to the fused glass bowl. In this glass fusing project tutorial, I’ll be making a beautiful bowl using flow bar techniques.

The video tutorial includes the design, materials, and equipment information, as well as cutting the glass with a ring saw, and coldworking including sandblasting, fusing, fire polishing, and slumping.

Project Information

Flow Bar Bowl Project

In the YouTube video, you will find links to related videos, a chapter list with time stamps, and links to more resources.

All of the glass, I’m using is Bullseye 90 COE. I normally use Thinfire fiber paper on my shelves and boron nitride spray, on moulds.

In this video, we skip over making the pattern bar, which is usually cut up and incorporated as a feature. The entire bowl is the pattern bar. This removes the need for any cutting of a thick slab.

The goal was to make a bowl that had a complex and sort of random pattern of colour in thinner stripes. The colours were to be more subdued pastel-like colours. The choices were 1409 Light Bronze Transparent, 0301 Pink Opal, 0110 Caramel Opal, and 0105 Powder Blue Opal.

The size was dictated by the bowl mould I used. Make it to suit your mould. Mine was about 28 cm (11 inches) in diameter.

All the glass is 2 mm, even the glass used for the pattern bar blocks. The glass pieces for the block are 3 cm (1.2 inches) square. The calculation for working out the number of squares is in the video, but basically, you work out the area of the base piece, decide on the size of your block squares and then work out how many of them are needed to have an area equal the base piece. Then cut the number of squares of each colour.

When I made up the blocks I alternated the colours. Of course, that’s completely a personal preference. Set them up in any way you choose.

When I tack fused the blocks they started to drop to one side. I suggest you don’t have as many blocks in a run as I did. This should reduce any lean and thus a need for grinding the bottoms to make them sit upright.

While the full fuse was processing, I did notice a couple of holes and thought I didn’t have enough glass. I think the holes were due to the 2 mm glass. The glass must have pulled towards the surrounding blocks so strongly that it separated. But my thoughts regards the quantity of glass proved to be unwarranted. When viewing inside the kiln I couldn’t tell that the glass was still thick and hadn’t finished spreading. However, there could have been a little more glass, so an extra 10-15% would be a good idea.

To refine the circular disk I used my ring saw as if cutting a disk of glass. If you do this just watch the pressure against the blade and take it slowly. If you go too fast the blade will push outwards and the disk will end up out of shape. And you may damage the blade.

The fire polish went fine, but the holes didn’t close as I had hoped. I would suggest adding a small piece of glass over each hole and taking the fire polish a little higher so they melt down into the hole.

The slump was processed without any problems and the final result was very nice, though the holes were a little annoying.

If you have any questions please ask in the comments section on YouTube.

💥 Tack Fuse Firing Schedule

  • #1 – 222 C (432 F) up to 535 C (995 F), hold 30 minutes
  • #2 – 333 C (632 F) up to 750 C (1382 F), no hold
  • #3 – Full down to 482 C (900 F), hold 240 minutes (due to thickness)
  • #4 – 10 C ( 50 F) down to 425 C (797 F), no hold
  • #5 – 27 C ( 81 F) down to 371 C (700 F), no hold
  • #6 – 132 C (270 F) down to room temp.

💥 Full Fuse Firing Schedule

  • #1 – 222 C (432 F) up to 535 C (995 F), hold 60 minutes
  • #2 – 333 C (632 F) up to 670 C (1238 F), hold 30 minutes
  • #3 – Full up to 815 C (1472 F), hold until all blocks melt down into base
  • #4 – Full down to 482 C (900 F), hold 120 minutes
  • #5 – 38 C ( 100 F) down to 425 C (797 F), no hold
  • #6 – 82 C ( 180 F) down to 371 C (700 F), no hold
  • #7 – 132 C ( 270 F) down to room temp

💥 Fire Polish Firing Schedule

  • #1 – 222 C (432 F) up to 535 C (995 F), hold 60 minutes
  • #2 – 333 C (632 F) up to 720 C (1328 F), hold 10 minutes
  • #3 – Full down to 482 C (900 F), hold 90 minutes
  • #4 – 65 C ( 149 F) down to 425 C (797 F), no hold
  • #5 – 132 C ( 270 F) down to 371 C (700 F), no hold

💥 Slump Firing Schedule

  • #1 – 167 C (333 F) up to 630 C (1166 F), hold 5 minutes
  • #2 – Full down to 482 C (900 F), hold 90 minutes
  • #3 – 65 C ( 149 F) down to 425 C (797 F), no hold
  • #4 – 132 C ( 270 F) down to 371 C (700 F), no hold

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