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Fused Bracelet Making

This is part three of a multi-part tip on making fused bracelets.  Click here to go to part one, which discusses the equipment you'll need.

Now that you have fused the blank for your bracelet, you're ready to begin the slumping process.  In addition to the mold, you'll need a piece of fiber paper (1/8"/3mm works well).  The paper should be slightly larger than your fused glass blank.  Place the mold in the kiln, then position the paper on top of and perpendicular to the mold.  Center the fused glass blank on the fiber paper, also atop the mold.  Many bracelet molds have a flattened portion on top, making it easy to balance the glass for slumping. 

Once everything is in place, it's time to heat the kiln.  You can fire quickly (at as much as 800F/450C degrees per hour) until the temperature in the kiln reaches approximately 1300F/700C.  Soak at that temperature and the glass will soon begin slumping on both sides of the mold.  Watch until it slumps into a vertical position; that's when it's ready to form into a bracelet.

Turn the kiln off to prevent electric shock.  Using graphite tongs, gently squeeze the ends of the fused blank so that they curve around the mold.  (Until you get used to it, this will be an awkward motion.  It's a good idea to practice holding and squeezing the tongs in the confines of a cold kiln before trying it on hot glass.)  

It should only take you a few seconds to form the fused blank into a bracelet.  If you can't form it quickly enough, you'll need to close the kiln, turn it back on, and heat again up to 1300F before trying a second time.

Once the bracelet is formed, plug the kiln in and check the temperature.  If it has fallen below 1100F/600C, heat again until it gets above 1100F.  Let the temperature stabilize, then cool and anneal as normal. Don't forget to soak at the annealing temperature.

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Copyright 2006 Brad Walker.  All rights reserved.

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Copyright 2005-2006 by M. Bradley Walker.  All rights reserved.

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