Fused Glass Snowman Ornament

Christmas orders have been keepin’ me busy, busy, this last month, and delayed progress on my other crafting projects.  Every year I tell myself I’m going to get a jump on things and get started in August, but, yeah, it never seems to work out that way. I guess maybe I’m just not disciplined enough to do it.

But, wanting to share something in the spirit of Christmas, I thought I’d show how I make my snowman ornament.  This little guy was my first ornament design. He’s been a good seller for me and I still offer him today.  I know there’s not much time before Christmas, but he’s pretty simple to make. Please feel free to make him for gifts for your family or friends. He is my original design, so I do ask that you do not make him for sale or profit, Thank You.

I had a client request a few snowmen in purple, so you’ll see the purple colors in this post, but, I’ve used a variety of colors as you can see in the feature picture.  I use Spectrum System 96 colors and a COE96 Uroboros 602502 red.

I like to get all my little embellishment pieces out of the way, so before I start ornaments, I make a batch of holly, carrot noses, and berries.

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After using my pattern pieces to cut my glass –

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there’s three steps I’m mindful of as I shape and grind –

#1 – I lay the hat brace on the backside of the hat piece to make sure it mimics the top shape of the hat, and will fit neatly behind it.

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#2 – Make sure the hatband fits nicely about 1/8″ up from the bottom edge of the hat.

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#3 – Shape the top curve of the hat brim to match the bottom curve of the hatband.

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Clean glass pieces thoroughly. Bend a short length of 17 gauge high temp wire to form a loop.  Glue it in place, in the center of the hat brace, propped on a small piece of kiln fiber, let dry.   I always use kiln shelf paper for my ornaments, but, to each their own..

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While you have the glue out, glue the hatband on the hat and the end on the scarf.  Prop the scarf end with a scrap of glass until its dry.

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Once everything is dry, brush a little fusers glue along the bottom edge of the hat brace, and carefully lay the hat piece over it, covering it completely.  The hat will meld over it so its not seen after firing. Let glue dry well before brushing a little glue on the bottom edge of the hat, and laying the head in place, slightly overlapping. Let glue dry.

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Brush small line of glue along bottom edge of head, and lay the scarf in place, slightly overlapping, at neck.  Let dry.  Place hat brim on the shelf, separately, to fire.

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I use a small tabletop kiln to fire my ornaments.  I start on medium, with the lid open a bit, until the temp reaches 1000 and the kiln paper is done burning, then close the lid and turn it to high. I like a sharp clean look, so I watch closely through the kiln lid window when the temp gets to around 1600 degrees, and shut the kiln off quickly once the glass edges have rounded smoothly .. most often at 1650 – 1700 degrees. After unplugging the kiln, flash vent to 1100 degrees, and shut the lid until the kiln is at room temp.

After completely cooled, glue the hat brim on with E6000.  I always prop the hat brim and/or lay the rubber ends of my small pliers across it to hold in place until dry.  Use a toothpick to help glue on nose, holly, and the berry.  To add the glass seed bead eyes, squirt a small amount of glue on waxed paper.  Hold the bead with tweezers, touch it in the glue, then put it on the glass.  Let glue dry. Clean away any unwanted glue, that is showing, with a craft knife or small ceramic tool.

Hope you have fun with him! Please contact me if you have any questions. I’d love to see what you create if you’re willing to share!

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In The Spirit of Christmas!

A friend and I were visiting the other day and trying to decide exactly what you would call our obsession with saving scraps and bits.  The term “junk collector” isn’t really fitting and sounds so cold.  We are more like “gatherers”.  We like to gather and save all kinds of intriguing things, big and small, until we discover or create a way to use them.  With a husband in the scrap business, I may get to do more gathering than most, but I really enjoy the challenge of creating with my finds.

After pinning another great Pinterest post on crafting with Epsom Salt, I figured it was time to give it a try.  But, what was I going to put it on?

During short breaks from glass work the last couple of weeks, I’ve been having fun rusting wire, bells, and a few other tidbits.  Looking through them. I found a couple large notebook spirals that rusted nicely, and thought they would look good as flocked wreath ornaments.

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I started with a large rusted spiral approximately 12″ long.  Shape in a circle and clip ends together to determine the diameter of the wire circle you will need for an inner circle, to prevent sagging.  Pre-shape a length of rusty wire into the circle size needed, with a little extra on the ends.  Scrunch the spiral in your hand and thread wire through.

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Trim off excess wire and form small hooks on wire ends.  Cross hooks over and connect the spiral together to form the inner circle.  Pinch hooks tight.  Wrap the loose coil ends of the spiral to the coil opposite of it (right to left, left to right) to complete the outside edge of the circle.

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Not wanting fumes to choke everyone out of the house, I moved to the garage for spraying and coating my wreaths. Using long tweezers to hold the wreaths worked like a charm, and they cleaned up easily with a wipe of  mineral spirits.  Spraying over the garbage bin kept sticky overspray residue at bay.  Adhesive sprays may differ; please follow manufacturers directions.

After spraying, coat wreath well in a shallow container of Epsom Salt.  I waited about 10 minutes, then sprayed the wreath again, before sprinkling it with crystal clear glitter.

You can stop here if you like the look.  Wanting a heavier, fuller appearance, I waited about 20 minutes and repeated the coating step. Then moved the wreaths inside to dry thoroughly.

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Flatten a small piece of textured scrap aluminum for the holly.  Trace first leaf, then flip the pattern before tracing the second leaf.  Cut them out with tin snips or all purpose scissors.  Be Careful Please … edges may be sharp!

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Re-flatten the leaves and punch a small hole for a wire.  File the edges, sand with steel wool, and paint them with a Christmas green craft paint.

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Sandpaper the leaves to distress the green paint.  Spray lightly with adhesive and coat them lightly with glitter.  If the glitter gets too heavy, brush it off with a soft bristled brush.  Let dry well before using your fingers to curve the tips of the leaves, to add dimension.

Many small gauge wires will work for the leaves and bells.  I used Christmas hook wires because they were on my workbench and easily accessible.

Form a small circle on the end of a straightened, long green plastic coated Christmas hook.  Bend it to the side.

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Over lap the ends of the holly, lining up the holes, and clip them together.  Insert the shaped wire.  Squeeze a little E6000 in the gap, where they meet, on the backside.  Let dry.

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Spray two 3/4″ rusted round bells with a clear sealer.  Wire them tightly together.  Hold leaves and position the bells as you view them from the front.  Hold in place and hot glue them enough to hold them in place on the backside of the leaves.  Lay them down to secure with more glue.  If there is a lot of adhesive and glitter on the leaves, you may need to lightly sand the area before gluing.

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Push the long leaf wire through the coils of your wreath, from the front, covering the spiral connection.  Keep leaves firmly positioned while wrapping the long wire around the inner circle wire and coils.  Use small pliers to help thread it through the coils and keep it pulled tight.

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Do any additional shaping on your leaves.  As a finishing touch, give the crown of the bells a quick spritz of adhesive and a little sprinkle of glitter.

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Hope this little project has inspired some Christmas crafting.  If you’re willing to share, I’d love to hear how you are using Epsom Salt in your creations.

For now, I guess it’s back to a little glass work for me … there’s candy canes to be make!  glassicartistry.etsy.com

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