Fused Glass "Puddles"

What’s a “puddle”?

Component making is a big part of working with fused glass.  Pot melts, pattern bars, and powder wafers are just a few of the things we make that become parts of bigger projects This tutorial shows you one of the easiest to make and most useful components, something we call “puddles”.*

The technique takes advantage of two of the most important glass properties:

1) Surface Tension:

When glass melts it seeks a height of 6 mm (1/4 inch).  You can thank surface tension for that. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surface_tension)

2) Gradual Melting

As glass is heated, it metls - and softens - gradually. This allows glass to fuse together without colors mixing completely (the way ice cubes made from colored water would mix if allowed to melt together in a drinking glass).

Fused glass cabochons.

All you need for this tutorial are some small pieces of sheet glass, your kiln, and some glass breaking tools. A hammer and mosaic nippers are also useful.

Let’s get started!

* Don’t walk into your local studio and start talking about making puddles unless you want to be shown the way to the restroom.  “Puddles” is a name that originated in our studio in Austin, Texas.  For better or worse, the name stuck.



LOVE the puddles.  "Puddles" aren't always a problem -- there is a very well known bakery in Middleburg Virginia which has raised "puddles" to an art form, as have you.  They make Cow Puddles and Pig Puddles which are spectacular!

Thanks for this, it sounds

Thanks for this, it sounds fun and fantastic and it's going in my kiln today!!  Cool

size of pieces of glass

I stacked six 3"x3" tiles.  Fused them using shelf paper.  Your firing schedule worked fine.  The top came out nice and smooth, the bottom not shiny.  I have nipped them into smaller odd sized pieces (vary from 1/2" to 1.5") which I intend to fire after I finish putting kiln wash on my 15" shelf (as I don't want to risk ruining the pieces).

Not knowing your kiln size, it is difficult to determine the actual sizes of the pieces you cut up.   What are the sizes of your cut up pieces?

The pieces average about 1/2

The pieces average about 1/2 - 3/4 inches across.

Helios Kiln Glass Studio



I made one of these "puddles" when I took the boot camp class in May. Haven't done anything with it yet but now I can chop it up and kiln it again. Thanks again Paul! Great tutorial!



I made the puddles and they're so great. I didn't have 7 3' squares so I used large scraps and it worked great. They turned out very shiney, didn't have do any of the clean up process. Thanks again. It was fun. Jan

After my second firing,

After my second firing, parts of the cabachons are not shiny.  I think this may be due to the bottom of the first firing becoming part of the top as it flattened out.  What can I do to get the entire piece shiny?  I did some wet sanding.  Will a fire polish help to return a FULL shine to the top?  Or do I just have to be happy with the current look.



Is it ok to convert the F to C  - I think I read somewhere that it is not that simple when converting fusing programs?

Love your tutorials, thank so much!

Sandy Robertson

Puddles - opaque only

Do these only work with opaque glass? What happens if I use transluscent glass? Will the various colors still show up? Should I alternate light and dark colors?

I made two stacks and just love the results. Made pendants, a coaster and a dish so far. Next going to try a bowl.

Transparents work fine. As

Transparents work fine. As with any transparent work, lighting is critical.

Helios Kiln Glass Studio


I was so excited to try this

I was so excited to try this but am a little frustrated with my results.  When I did the first firing the pieces stuck to the shelf but I assumed I hadn't let the primer dry enough.  Since the pieces needed to be broken up anyway I still had plenty of usable glass.  I cleaned and treated the shelf with 4 coats of primer and set about to do the second firing.  Nearly half of the cabochons stuck to the shelf!  I thought maybe I wasn't using the right primer so I researched and found the Hot Line Hi-Fire was the most recommended but that's what I'm using.  Could it be that I'm using Spectum 96 glass?  Does this high temp require more than the recommended coats of primer?

The ones that didn't stick are great and there is plenty of glass still to play with.  Thanks for this tutorial and all the project ideas.  Sure wish I could make the January Boot Camp :(


also had problems

Shelf primer also stuck to the bottom of my 1st melt.  It took some doing to get the primer off and the bottom was rather dull.  For the second melt I used shelf paper instead and they came out much better.

When I did the project a 2nd time, I used shelf paper for both fusings and was happier.


I love the idea of these puddles.   I only have a small microwave kiln but have lots of very tiny bits of glass left from pendant products.   Could I still make puddles in this and make smaller stacks?   I would need to use kiln paper or fibre paper as I have a dip in the bottom of my kiln.

Puddles -opaque vs. transparent

I made 3 batches this past weekend.  What fun and easy too.  I love them.  Regarding the transparents, though, I did one (stack of 7) exclusively transparents, stacked light, dark, light, dark...  They turned out horrible in my opinion --- very very dark cabachons.  Not sure what they can be used for, they only show color variation when held to the light.  I did one batch of only opaque and they are beautiful.  On the third batch I had one or 2 pieces of transparent mixed with the opaque, yet the transparents didn't compliment the opaques whatsoever.  Just my observations.  Anyone try this method with a piece of dichroic yet?   GREAT TUTORIAL, Thanks!



Firing schedule for large puddles

I  have  8 stacks of 11 sheets of glass, each stack is 4x4. .. Would the firing and annealing time be the same?  Im thinking I  should anneal for longer .. Would I fuse for longer as well?  Could someone help me with a firing schedule please?

Thank you warmly


Great Tutorial and Experience!!

I just found this tutorial last weekend and I was excited to try it. I didn't have any 3X3 pieces of glass so I used scraps of all the same size. One stack was all opal (Spectum 96) and was about 2X3. The other stack was a mix of opals and cathedral and was only about 2X2. The first fuse went well on my kiln shelf. I cut them up and did my second firing of about half the pieces yesterday and they turned out GREAT!!! Only one piece had any devit. Several pieces had kiln wash on the back, but after a 30 minute soak in vinegar, the wash had all dissolved and the pieces were shiny and beautiful. Without needing to do any further work,  I have several pieces that will be beautiful pendants and I even have two sets of earrings with matching pendants. What a wonderful surprise! And for whatever reason - the transparent glass was just the right amount and shows up nicely in several of the pieces. I am doing the second firing on the remaining pieces today and can't wait to see them. I even cut up some other "experimental" pieces that I didn't like that were intended to be pendants and put them into today's firing. Hopefully there will be some nice surprises there as well. Thanks for a great idea!!!

Glass Puddles

I just made three of these.  It is a great idea and tutorial!  I have a question abou usin the pieces in a plate, bowl, or tray as shown at the end.  Is it best to fuse the peices into cabs first before placing them together into the design or do you just it the broken pieces into the design and fuse it all together.  I guess I'm asking how to use them in a plate or tray design as shown.  Thank you for your help.


I used your explicit instructions for doing puddles and cabochons. The first batch came out fine without problems except some mild defitrificaiton as you explained. However, when I repeated the process, following the same exact directions - 1/2 of the cabochons cracked or left small pieces of glass behind when removed from kiln shelf. Any ideas about how to correct or what problem was? Thanks, Kim

It sounds like the glass

It sounds like the glass stuck to the shelf.  That usually means you didn't have enough shelf primer.

Helios Kiln Glass Studio


How to fire cracked puddles into a sheet

I like the idea of firing the cracked puddles into a sheet to use as an element in a larger piece such as a plate. What type of firing schedule would I use for this? Do I place them closely together and use a full fuse schedule? I have never done this before so I need some expert advice here. Thank so much.


When I fire small pieces I always use fiber paper to keep from getting wash on the bottom of the pieces.

Puddles fused in plate

I have fused them into glass using two 3mm. pieces of glass.  I just layed them on the glass and used my full fuse tech.  They melt in and it is very pretty.  My tech. takes 14 hours but its worth it.  No bubbles at all.  The main thing is to have enough glass for it to fuse into.  Thats why I use the glass amount noted above.


Cover up the puddle and hit with a hammer.  You will get all sizes.  If you get big ones that you want smaller, I use tile nippers to get the size I want.


When your schedule states "FULL" what exactly does that mean?

I use COE 96, is this the same as 9999* (fast as possible)?



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