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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My Vintage Style Christmas Tree – Part Two

I thought it would be fun to make some colorful ornaments to brighten up my tree.  They are all pretty simple … System 96 glass with some noodles and stringers. I fired everything in my small tabletop kiln, on kiln paper. All of these were taken to about 1700 degrees. I like to watch the action through the little window so I don’t over fuse and get that muddled look.

There had to be a stocking, of course! I used two pieces of thin white for the stocking top.

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Something circular would be nice, but not just solid and plain. I’ve found the easist way for me to save some grinding time, on something like this, is to drill the hole first. Then center the hole under your clear plastic pattern, trace and cut out.

How to combine glass and metal had me stumped for a little bit, until I noticed a pile of little bells I had laid aside to rust .. hmm? Wouldn’t it be neat if they could dangle in an ornament somehow? I started with 1/4″ wide strips of glass, and laid them out as shown below … it worked! I may have to make some of these on a larger scale for my big tree!

The little candy canes are time consuming, but so stinkin’ cute! These are 2 1/8″ long, and made the same way I make larger ones for patchwork candy canes. I’ve read many tips for keeping marks on glass while using a glass saw, but using my scribe and marker has never failed me.

After tracing your pattern, go over your line with a pencil scribe. You could probably use an electric engraver for this too, but I haven’t tried it yet. Fill in the scribe line with black marker and let it dry a little bit. Lightly wipe the marker off, leaving a noticeable line for saw work.

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All of the cutting can be done on a ring saw, but I like to use a band saw to cut the inside line of the cane. Use a regular glass cutter to cut the outside line. On a ring saw, I shape and grind the inside arch and side of the cane first, then go to the glass grinder for the outside edge. Decorate and fire.

Joann Fabric had the perfect piece of fabric for my tree skirt. But, in all honesty, my sewing machine has not seen the light of day for probably two years. I don’t hate sewing, it’s just not in the list of my top 10 things I like to do. With that being said, I asked our close family friend Alison to make my tree skirt for me. Fantastic Job Alison!

My daughter graciously offered her collection of small glass vintage Christmas balls. They’re lovely, old and faded, and in all the right colors. I’m just guessing here, but I’ve seen her eyeing my garland .. She’ll probably want to borrow it next year to go with her Christmas balls. I know how these things work.

The bay window in my kitchen doesn’t offer much of beautiful view this time of year, just out buildings and empty fields. But it does offer a lot of light to shine through the beads and glass, and it will be safe from little curious hands.

I’ve never decorated one of these trees before. There’s a lot of empty spaces, and a little different with no lights, but I’m pleased with the way it turned out. It’s been raining here all day, really dreary. I’m looking forward to seeing it in a whole new light tomorrow.

It was not a good day to take pictures either, I’m afraid. I worked for hours trying to get a real clear shot of my tree. I added light from lamps, a snow blanket background over the window, nothing helped. I waited until dark and tried again. Sorry, they aren’t fantastic, but better than the earlier ones, and the best I have for now.

I invited some little elfish friends to play under the tree.

I hope you and yours enjoy a wondrous holiday season.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!