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Keeping Copper Inclusions Bright

This is part of an ongoing series about inclusions.  For basic information about inclusions, click here.

Copper is commonly used as an inclusion between two layers of glass.  A typical firing schedule involves sandwiching a thin piece of copper (often cut or punched into a desirable shape) between the layers, then firing to a full fuse.  In most cases the copper will turn a purplish color, with the darkness of the purple varying depending on the type of copper used, the length of the firing, and the firing temperature.

Often, it's desirable to avoid the purplish color change and maintain the bright copper color after firing.  This can be done by coating the copper prior to firing.  Although some people report success with borax solutions, Klyr-fire, or related products, the most dependable technique is to coat the copper with a clear glass paint. 

One brand of paint that works well is Unique Glass Color's clear (GC950T).  This can be applied to copper with a brush, but for best results an airbrush should be used.  It's also helpful to scrub the copper slightly prior to applying to give the metal some "tooth" and help the paint stick better.  (A Scotchbrite brand scouring pad or a Kemper greenware file will work.) After the paint dries, sandwich the copper between two layers of glass and fire as normal.  As with any inclusion, small trapped air bubbles are possible, so a good bubble soak is a necessity.

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Copyright 2006 Brad Walker.  All rights reserved.

Thanks to Tom White for suggestions incorporated in this tip.

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

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