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Monday, April 23, 2012

Frit Painting Mandalas with NO Days Liquid Fusing Adhesive

Ready to fire in the kiln
No Days Liquid Fusing Adhesive can be used with frits to easily create complex designs. In this set of Mandala plates, I've added Glassline Pens to the mix to add extra layers and dimensionality.
Base layer of clear becomes the clear cap

For a quick primer on how to use No Days Liquid Fusing Adhesives with frits, check out this video:
For these plates, I began with a clear circle of System 96 glass placed on top of my mandala template. Then, I outlined the design lines with a black Glassline pen. After letting that dry (you can help it along with a hair dryer or heat gun), I added layers of frit, securing and stacking with No Days Liquid Fusing Adhesive. Once my design was dry, I loaded the plate into the kiln to full fuse it. (I used a lot of adhesive on these three plates, so I had to let them sit overnight to thoroughly dry. That said, I still had adhesive left in the 4 oz. bottle after making three 10" round plates.)
In the kiln for the full fuse firing...currently at 1145º F
You definitely want to adhere to the firing schedules below for a slow ramp up to burn off binders and adhesive. I'll explain more about this with the "Sand Dollar Mandala." After your full fuse, you're ready to slump. I have become really addicted to firing in this drop out mold from Slumpy's lately. Instead of using it as a drop mold by lifting the mold off of the kiln shelf, I use the shelf to create a flat bottom platter.
After the second "Slump" firing
I raise my slumping temperature a bit when using the drop out mold, so that I get really crisp lines and good definition.
"Tiger Lily Mandala" by Carrie Strope Sohayda
Here's another piece with a lot of Glassline paints on both the underside (frit side) and top side of the clear glass:
"Flower Mandala" by Carrie Strope Sohayda
You can get quite a bit more dimension by adding paint on both sides. For this effect, you'll want to put your plate in the kiln and fire the frits to the clear sheet of glass. Then, turn the plate over so the clear is facing up and paint on additional designs. 
For some silly reason, I tried to fire the plate only once before slumping it. It involves lots of tinkering with firing schedules and extensive planning ahead for design outcomes (painting on both sides of the plate before really knowing what the glass is going to look like.) You may also get more bubbles on the under side (frit side). You may be able to coax them out of there with a little tinkering in the firing schedule. For more information on bubble squeeze segments, give a search of the forum. Basically, my recommendation for success every time is to fire twice before slumping.
Detail of layering achieved by applying Glassline Pens
on both sides of the clear glass
And this is why...the piece below, "Sand Dollar Mandala," was not supposed to be one shade of lavender/grey. And, before I painted the top side, it looked quite dismal. (So, there's a lesson can almost always fix it by firing again. As long as you're not attached to the outcome. In fact, you may be surprised and stumble upon a new-to-you technique!)
"Sand Dollar Mandala" by Carrie Strope Sohayda
By examining the back side, you see a lot of grey. I did not use grey frit. I had some lovely light sapphire frit, with some pale amber, and quite a bit of bright orange, yellow and red, too! However, I zipped right by 600º F in my firing schedule, and only waited at 1000º for 30 minutes before continuing on with the rest of the firing. And, well...a lot of stuff got trapped. You'll notice that the colors are noticeable on the edges of the plate, whereas the center of the plate starts to go grey. Here's what happened...
Reverse side of plate shows the "oops,"
if you know what you're looking for
The binders in the Glassline pens and the adhesive was not finished burning out before the slump part of the firing schedule began. That means that the plate edges sealed against the kiln shelf, sealing in all the binders. So, I've got some ash going on in that plate. However, I was able to fix it by painting over the top of the plate with some Glassline metallic pens. Now, the plate actually gets a lot of compliments, and I say, "Yeah, I meant to do that." Errr....

One last important point...If you're going to flip your design down on the shelf so that the base layer you're building frit on becomes a clear cap, don't fire on Thinfire or other shelf paper. Make sure that you fire on a kilnwashed shelf. (The shelf paper binders burn out at around 1000º F, turning the fiber paper to dust. The frit falls into and around the dust, which becomes part of your plate. Doh!)
   Side Note: If you're working with a larger plate, and having burnout issues, you may need to fire on shelf paper or fire the plate frit side up, before flipping it back over to fire again.

Full fuse firing schedule for mandala plate (the layers of glass will melt together and have no texture left):

 Full Fuse 
 300 dph 600º F 45 min
 300 dph 1000º F 45 min
300 dph 1100º F 30 min
50 dph 1250º F 20 min
500 dph 1480º F  10 min
AFAP 960º F 45 min
 100 dph 800º F 0 min
 200 dph 700º F 0 min
 400 dph 100º F 0 min

[Assumptions: 2 layers of standard thickness glass (3mm or 1/8") stacked to make a thickness of 6mm or 1/4"] 

The firing schedule is fairly conservative, so you shouldn't have any breakage.  However, please note that this firing schedule is just a general guideline.  It is up to the user to take into account their glass fusing setup and design, materials used and kiln being used to yield their desired results.  

dph = degrees per hour (Fahrenheit)
AFAP = as fast as possible, represented by 9999 when programming your kiln
min = minutes

SLUMP SCHEDULE:  This firing schedule is for a slump schedule. After using one of the above schedules to fuse your pieces together, you're ready to give it shape by placing it in a mold. Make sure that the glass is not bigger than your ceramic mold, or you can potentially break your glass, your mold or both while firing.

 Slump Schedule
 250 dph750º F10 min
 250 dph 900º F 30 min
 300 dph 1150º F 15 min
 300 dph 1280º F 30 min
 AFAP960º F 90 min
 50 dph 800º F 0 min
 100 dph 700º F 0 min
 300 dph 100º F 0 min


  1. Good Morning,

    I recently purchased some Glassline Pens and was looking for fusing instructions. I've been searching all over and cannot seem to find anything other than "Fuse at 1500 degrees for best results". I've never fused before, but do understand tacking and annealing. Would your full fuse schedule work for a piece just using the glassline pens?

  2. Hi, Chris:) The firing schedule above would work for glass and glassline along as long as you have at least 1/4" (6mm) of glass thickness. I've had success firing the glassline pens to 1480, but if you fire them lower, they don't gloss up and have texture. Play around with them by making a small sample project! Have fun!