Using Inclusions

Using Inclusions

Inclusions are an excellent way of adding a new dimension to your glass work. Metal foils, wire and meshes, mica and Glassline pens and paper can all be used to add interest, as well as enamels, decals and stencils.

How do I apply decals and how do I fire them?

decals on glass

Decals are a simple and effective way to add images to your glass work. They work particularly well in jewellery pieces. The firing schedule you use depends on the type of decal you have. As a general rule, decals should be applied to your finished, fired piece, and re-fired at a lower temperature to fix them permanently to the glass. Check the instructions that came with the decal or take a look at the product page for the decal you bought for instructions on how to apply and fire your particular decal.

What is the difference between a high fire and low fire decal?

Different decals fire at different temperatures for optimum results, depending on the compounds within the decal. Generally if the recommended firing temperature for the decal is below tack fuse temperature then it is classed as low fire, and if it is fired at tack fuse temperatures or higher it is classed as high fire. It is usual for decals to be fired below full fuse temperature in any case. If you fire low fire decals too high they discolour and can wipe off.  High fire decals do not fix to the glass unless fired to at least 760 (tack).  See individual decals for their appropriate firing temperature.

Why is the film from my decal leaving a mark on my glass?

If you are seeing a mark from the decal film this usually indicates that you need to use distilled water to soak your decals. Your tap water may contain a slightly higher concentration of calcium which can leave these marks. Make sure you change the water regularly if you are using lots of decals and ventilate the kiln when firing decals for the best results.

Can you use the Glassline pens like paints and build up layers or will they crack?

painting with Glassline pens

Glassline pens are great to use like paints, you can build up lots of layers into your pieces. They can crack when they are drying out but this cracking will not affect the glass, just the look of your piece. To avoid such cracking apply the paints in thin layers. Paint one layer and let it dry then paint another layer on top. Layering up the paints also gives a good covering of colour, if you use them too thinly they can look a bit washed out after you fire them.  A good way of telling if you have enough paint down is to hold your piece up to the light and if you can see lots of light coming through it you probably need to add a bit more.

Why does silver wire cause a golden glow around it when used as an inclusion?

The golden glow around the silver is silver oxide. This will always be present in silver but if you clean the silver with vinegar before use and try Crystal Clear 1401 as your clear cap you will reduce the possibility of this happening. Naturally, if you want you can get impressive reactions with glass such as French Vanilla and the reactive glasses such as Reactive Ice Clear.

I love the reaction of fusing French Vanilla with silver. Really beautiful. Are there other colours in the Bullseye range which react with silver?

silver reactions in glass

The best silver reactions happen with Red Opal, Reactive Ice and Reactive Cloud, but you can expect interesting things to happen with any glass containing sulphur as well. To find out which glasses contain sulphur just look at the check the Reactive Glass Chart.

I would like to make my own bails with silver wire and fuse them in between the glass. Which size would be better, 0.7mm or 1.0mm? Will it tarnish in the kiln?

Both the 0.7mm and the 1mm can be used between glass and it really depends on what thickness will look best with your piece. All silver will tarnish a bit and this can be removed with Silvo or vinegar. The silver wire we sell is 999 pure and therefore will tarnish less than sterling silver. Please be aware that silver will react with some glass types, see our How To... Kilnforming Guides section for more information.

Is there an easy way to use mica powder with glass? It is beautiful but so tricky to use!

The best way to use mica powder with glass is to use the 'painting with mica' technique, painting it onto Thinfire paper to make the mica much more controllable. Take a look at this video:

For a fine line, writing or intricate pattern work with mica, inclusion pens are excellent:

Do silver and gold flakes have to be used between layers like mica powder?

Using silver and gold flakes in glass

Yes, the silver and gold flakes need to be used between layers of glass; they are made of mica and will not stick to the glass otherwise. They are a bit tricky in that they can trap a lot of bubbles. Try using them sparingly to add a little sparkle here and there.

I have Sunshine Enamels and the water based medium. Should the piece be pre-fired before topping? Does it need to be completely dry before firing?

The Enamels we sell mature at 750 - 810C and therefore can be used in a full range of kiln work. There is no need to pre-fire before applying enamels, however the lower you fire the enamels (within the maturing range) the stronger they will come out. Pre firing layers before topping is not essential but will help to reduce potential bubbles.  Enamels do need to dry before firing or they will blister badly. Sifting a very thin layer (2 grains thick) of clear glass powder over the enamels can help achieve a smooth glossy finish and will also reduce bubbles if sifted between layers.

How do I use Glassline paper?

Using glassline paper

Glassline paper can be fused between glass layers to add interest to your work. There is a tipsheet on how to use it here.

How do I use Millefiori?  On top? In between glass layers? 

orange millefiori sample

Millefiori can be used on top or between layers of a fused piece. It's good to start by making some jewellery pieces and work up as you get used to the way the millefiori works with heat and class thickness. If you are placing it on top it is good to sieve a very thin layer of clear powder over the millifiori to prevent devitrification. If you are placing it between layers use our super bubble squeeze program and ensure that the design will not trap air.

What is the difference in use between the water based and oil based mixing mediums? 

Both are used for mixing enamels for painting or printing onto glass. Water based mixing medium is an easy to use medium for mixing enamels to use for printing, with a quick drying time. It is water soluble making clean-up easy. Good for quick, one-off prints. Oil based mixing medium has a slow drying time, which is useful for mixing enamels for printing especially when printing large batches when you do not want the medium to dry in the screen for silk screen printing process. Needs to be cleaned up using white spirit as it is not water soluble. Can also be used to print onto decal paper to create your own decals.

Can I use glass stringers for the glass weaving/tapestry method? Are they straight enough?

glass weaving sample

We have done so with success here in our studio, yes. Glass weaving and tapestry techniques rely on parallel arrangements of stringers, so if the stringers are bent, the arrangement will have small gaps which may not be desirable. The weaving technique process benefits from very straight stringer. However, as with any handmade product, there is a potential for variance. Bullseye’s latest production methods have improved straightness; but there will always be a range of acceptability.