Step 3: Powder-Coating the Leaves

Place one of your leaves (or branches) onto a sheet of paper towel, newsprint, or other paper.  The plant should lay relatively flat.  Spray it with a moderate coating of hairspray.  The leaves should look wet – but not be dripping.

To make the branches stand out use a small sifter to place some color – in this case Sienna and Woodland Brown – on the woody parts of the plant.

Now, using a larger sifter, add powder to the still wet leaves and branches.  For the most realistic results, sift different shades of green onto different areas.  Once you’ve covered the leaves, spray another coating of hairspray.  Repeat several times, layering the powders.

It is helpful to visualize how the powders you place on the leaves will be layered on the final piece.  Take another look at the illustration at the start of this article.  You’ll see the glass is fired design-side-down.  This means that the first powder placed on our leaves will be the top-most powder on the finished piece.  The last powder placed on the leave will be the glass that fuses to the base glass.

With this in mind, I will often place transparent powders on the leaves first and then back them with opaque colors.  With practice you’ll learn to layer your powders to create a wonderful depth in the colors of the final piece.  If this is hard to visualize don’t worry.  It will make more sense after you complete your first piece.


Powder sifted on plants


Once the branch and leaves are covered with powders add a final coating of hairspray and let it dry.  Lift the plant using the paper underneath it and set to the side.

Repeat the above steps for all the leaves and branches you will be using in this project.


Powder sifted on plants


Now we are ready to assemble everything for firing.