I’ve never done glass fusing before, but after seeing an advert for workshops in my local Hobbycraft, I decided to give it a go! On Saturday, 12 October, I and 3 others arrived to have our first taste of this exciting new craft.
Jason Leggett of Gift of Glass was leading the workshop – he first became interested in glass 5 years ago after attending a stained glass workshop in Bristol. He then went on to try out other techniques including fusing and copper foiling which he now specialises in. Before we got stuck in, Jason spent some time explaining the basics of glass fusing – a technique whereby different pieces of glass can be stuck together with gel before then being heated in a kiln to fuse them together. This technique can produce many beautiful items from small decorative pieces like tree ornaments and earrings, to larger pieces like bowls and wall art.
At the workshop, there was an array of materials set up for us including sheets of different coloured glass, small pieces and tiny specks of glass that we would later learn could be fused as decorative highlights on our pieces.
Jason explained that glass fusing relies on layering 3mm pieces of glass to a maximum thickness of 6mm, because firing glass thicker than 6mm would result in it bulging out/spreading, and less than 6mm would result in it shrinking in.
We first needed to practice cutting different pieces of glass so we could start working on our designs. It’s a simple process, using just a scoring tool and either a set square or freehand to draw lines in the glass from one parallel edge to another and then snapping down the line. You have to apply quite a lot of pressure when scoring, but this means that the glass then snaps very easily with no loose fragments or sharp edges.
Once practice was over, it was then time to draw our designs on white A4 paper so we could then begin layering the glass on top before then gluing the pieces together. As it was only a few weeks to Christmas, I decided to do a festive design with trees and snow on a clear background. It was then a matter of cutting small pieces of various shades of green glass and gluing on to the background. I chose a mixture of transparent green glass and some opaque ones, so that I could use the ornament with tealights behind.
To give some extra decoration to my design, I cut tiny shards of glass noodles to make tree trunks, glued on grits (tiny fragments of glass, almost like powder) as tinsel, and then painted on snowflakes with white glass paint.
Since I wanted my piece to be able to stand up on its own, Jason said he would take it away and bend it over a mould to make it into a curved design. We had to wait around 1-2 weeks for our pieces to be fired and ready to collect.
I’m super pleased with how my piece turned out, particularly since this was the first time I’d ever attempted anything like this (and I cut most of the pieces myself – there were only one or two trees that I got lucky with as they were already the right size!). I’d definitely recommend it for any beginners, though probably not for young children due to the risk of sharp pieces and injury.
Jason regularly offers workshops for beginners to glass fusing – and will be holding more in November and December at his studios, making Christmas ornaments and utilising techniques such as copper foiling that we didn’t get an opportunity to try in this brief taster session. I thought the session was great value at £20, which included all materials and the 2-hour session during which Jason spent time with each of us.
To find out more about Jason’s glass fusing studio, you can visit his Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/thegiftofglass/
===== Summary =====
Inspired to try glass fusing? Here’s my breakdown:
Suitable for beginners? Yes, no prior experience is necessary, however for the fusing you will need access to a kiln – it’s not something you can do at home. Basic techniques are simple to learn and you can make something very effective.
Minimum age? I recommend 14+ due to the (small) risk of glass shards and potential injury. Protective equipment is a must!
Accessibility? Tools are available to help with breaking glass, as this can be tricky.
Fun factor? 8/10 – it’s easy to make something that looks great with only a little effort, however it’s not a craft you can do 100% at home due to needing a kiln (which can cost hundreds of pounds), but it’s worth going to a class! I would also have loved to try more techniques.
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I was not asked by Jason Leggett of Gift of Glass to write this post nor given any incentive from him in exchange for writing it – I paid for my own ticket, and it is purely a record of my own experience.
Links marked with * indicate affiliate links through which I make a small commission (pennies!) if someone clicks through to an item and makes a purchase. I only link to products I have used or would actually use. Links without a * are not affiliate links.