Hurrah! We are now stocking stringers in smaller packs! To celebrate this momentous occasion (and the fact that I have finished uploading all 160ish of the new sizes- phew) I thought I would take a look at what you can do with this versatile and popular accessory glass.
What are stringers?
Stringers are basically threads of glass pulled from re-melted sheet glass. They come in neat, straight lines packed in a tube. We stock Bullseye stringers, so they are compatible with the other glasses we sell (as are all of the Bullseye Accessory Glasses). Stringers are available in 1mm and 2mm thickness, and a limited number of colours are also now available in 0.5mm thickness.
Ideas for using stringers:
Stringers really are extremely versatile. Even used straight from the tube you can create some great designs with them. Try criss-crossing them (it is OK for them to overlap, as they will melt flat in the kiln), or line them up in alternating colours for a ‘barcode’ effect. This piece has some reactive frit sprinkled over the top too.
You can cross-hatch stringers between layers of glass to create a pattern of small uniform bubbles. Lay the stringers in a row along the base glass, and then do the same with the cap glass. Sandwich the stringers together at 90 degrees to each other before firing. This creates an elegant grid of bubbles.
Stringers can be bent into different shapes using a wax candle to heat them (just be careful as the ends can get hot!) Try curling them up into spirals using tweezers or you can make tapered ends by pulling the tip of the stringer off with some tweezers over a flame. You can stretch sections midway along the stringer using the same technique, creating nice organic shapes suitable for depicting grass, stems, tendrils etc.
Check out the Tipsheet on candle bending for more ideas: Candle Bent Stringers
Stringers can also be bent into uniform shapes by slumping them in a mould in the kiln. Serpentine moulds and double curved moulds are good for creating wave shapes. Fire your stringers at 150C per hour to 650C. No annealing is required as the stringers are so thin.
Megan created this fantastic piece by creating part sheets of lined-up stringers, then cutting and re-ordering them. It’s almost like an Escher print if you stare at it for too long!
Tips on using stringers:
- Wear goggles! Flying bits of glass stringer are not good for your health.
- The best way to cut stringer is with glass cutters, as snapping them by hand tends to leave a ragged edge which will show in our final piece and make you say ‘Arrgh!’
- Stringers are usually laid over a flat glass sheet but they are quite keen on rolling about. A small drop of Glastac at each end of the stringer will hold it in place prior to firing. It always amazes me how well this works!
- When candle-bending, make sure you don’t get any wax on the stringer, as this will contaminate your final piece (‘Arrgh!’ again), but don’t worry about the soot marks as these will just burn out on firing.
- Don’t use the stringers between layers as you will trap bubbles (unless this is the effect you want of course). If you would like to use stringer designs between layers, then pre-fire the stringer onto the base glass first so that it is flat.
We hope that you now feel inspired to experiment with stringers! We would love to see your creations, so if you want to share your work with us you can do so by posting it to our Facebook page. We look forward to seeing them!