Thursday, May 13, 2010

Working without a work shop

I haven’t been able to work much on my glass lately because my work shop is overrun with construction debris. Besides remodeling the bathroom, we split the family room to include a new bedroom. So, all of the family room furniture is in the garage (aka work shop). So I am limited to working on small, less messy projects in side. This usually means stained glass projects. The latest projects were for Mother’s Day gifts. 100% of the glass in these projects was recycled in one way or another. If you look at the pictures of some of the pieces you will see a variety of colors and a few different types of clear. The colored glass all comes from bottles I collected. The process goes as follows:

1. Collect the bottles. I have a few sources, but it is always difficult to find a variety of colors. Some colors are easy to find like green, brown, and clear. Blue and black are less common, but I can get them pretty regularly. Reds, bright yellows, orange and purples are much more difficult to find. I usually find them at thrift stores in the form of vases.

2. Clean the bottles. Remove the labels and any crusties that might be lingering.

3. Cut the tops and bottoms off. I use a tile saw with a special glass blade. The bottoms get crushed into powder for other uses and the necks get sliced into little rings for jewelry.

4. Cut the remaining body of the bottle in half vertically to make two half cylinders.

5. Clean all the leftover residue off.

6. Place the half cylinders in the kiln concave side up.

7. Fire the kiln and melt the half bottles flat.

Quite the process! However this produces wonderful flat glass that is perfect for making stained glass projects.


  1. What is the temp that you fire these bottles to make them perfectly flat?

  2. I slump the bottles at about 1450F to flatten them. Recycled white has to be done around 1400F so that it doesn't devitrify.