Kiln-Pressed Glass

Are you tired of typical, two and three layer fully fused glass art?

Have you have ever wished you could create the watercolor-like effects that are typical in blown glass – but seem impossible to achieve in fused glass?

If so, this unusual and original glass fusing tutorial is for you.

The technique is one we call “kiln-pressed glass” and it is something we’ve developed at Helios over the past year.  We doubt we’re the first to do what we describe, but we’ve never seen it discussed elsewhere and we are pretty sure that nobody else has documented and shared the technique before now.

Kiln-pressed glass is so full of potential that we want to share it so that we can see what others are able to create with it.   Here’s just one example of what’s possible.   It is the piece that we create with the tutorial:

Finished Kiln-Pressed Glass

To help you fully appreciate kiln-pressed glass, we’ll start with a brief review of how glass melts and why it is difficult to create thin fused glass objects.

Click the “Surface Tension” link below to start!


Kiln-Pressed Glass

Beautiful.  I can't wait to try it and the instructions appear to be easy to follow!  I'll let you know how it goes!

What a neat idea! Since I

What a neat idea!

Since I have only one kiln shelf can I substitute a porcelain or ceramic tile for the upper kiln shelf? I have so many of them laying around and would love to put them to good use. I am wondering if I can coat the smooth side of the tile with lots of kiln wash and then set it atop the glass. Can I use tiles as weights, too?    

Thanks, and have a happy holiday!

Would fire polishing be

Would fire polishing be needed before slumping?


This looks so great. And it

This looks so great. And it seems easy enough to try.  I'm just always nervous trying something new like this, but I may have to try this one.  thanks.

Kay T.

Carol Sloan Does anyone know

Carol Sloan

Does anyone know of rentable kiln space in Kauai, HI?

Slumped shape of bowl

Good Afternoon and Happy New Year,

Thanks for the tutorial and I plan on trying it this week.  I do have a question on the shape of the final bowl.  How was that done? 

Thanks in advance.

The piece was draped over a

The piece was draped over a stainless steel mold.

Helios Kiln Glass Studio


Kiln Pressed Glass

 June Askew

Hi, I am hoping to do this pressed Glass. Is it possible to

use small pieces of leftover coloured glass & add tiny bits

on top.  I was thinking to make a small thing first to try it

out. I would leave spaces between of clear.  There are a 

few pieces I want to eliminate that are larger.  I would

like to use the stainless steel mug & believe it needs to

be roughed up to hold the kiln wash.  I think this has

been a marvellous demonstration, really imitating blown

glass which is pretty hard work.  Do you know a company

that sells  the stainless steel mug at a reasonable amount?

Thank you for this information.     1/1/11

kiln pressed glass

Thought your process and outcome of kiln pressed glass was awesome & couldnt wait to try it - so I did.  I converted the firing program to celcius and using spectrum 96 clear and transparent glass, away I went.  Just checked the kiln this morning - to find it hadnt worked. The bottom piece cracked and the top pieces didnt even fuse together. I checked my firing schedule to make sure I had the target and hold times correct - which they appear to be.  The bottom clear piece was 6mm thick then I had 3mm pieces on top  the overall dimension was 18cm (7")??  Will try again and see wha happens.

Pressed Glass Success

I feel that I have had great success so far in completing the kin pressed glass tutorial.  I followed the directions and firing schedule and came away with a very nice piece of glass.  My final mission is to finish the piece by draping it over a stainless steel mold later this week.  I used a piece of 7" diameter 3mm BE Tekkta glass as my base.  I then fired blue, green and yellow BE glass going up to 4 levels high in my first firing.  The result was very nice with muted blues and yellows and the round was slightly skewed.

I sandblasted both side of the glass and then refired.

My second firing consisted of reds and purple which I placed between clear Tekkta before firing.  For a first time I am very happy with the results.  However, I think the next go round, I will do the reds first and then lay down the blues.

I have posted a picture under texasbridge in the community gallery.

Pressed Glass Success

I have just checked out your photo on texasbridge - very nice - I'm going to have another go tonight.

Kilnpressed Glass

Thank you so much for your generosity in sharing these instructions.  I've fired 2 pieces so far.  Neither have blended as yours did.  My first piece I put a lot of clear in between the piled up sections of glass.  So I thought that maybe I needed to leave space between the colored piles to allow for the "flow".  It seems a little better on the second one, but still not getting anywhere near the blending and the beautiful flow that yours does.  Can you give me any suggestions?  I'm using 2 stacked pieces of 1/8" fiber paper as the stops to keep the top kiln shelf suspended -- is my glass too thick when finished?  Thanks for any suggestions.

kiln pressed glass

I had a 2nd go the this technique - much better result, but I need to improve further - I used pieces of light coloured transparent - the end result was that the colours were not as vibrant as in the instructions, although looked good when placed over opal white.  I would have posted a picture - only I dropped the piece as I took it out of the sandblaster.  Will try again (3rd time lucky) and use darker transparent colours.

Kilnpressed Glass

I thought this was going to be a great way to use up that 1128 purple (which is almost like black), not sure if I didn't use enough clear or used too much.  It did spread but didn't make the watercolor look I was hoping for.  I love this adventure.  I did ones with greens (using some of the light aventurine green); it came out much better.  Looking forward to hearing from others about their results.

Kilnpressed Glass

Forgot to add to the last post that I also added more weight on the green one.

no extra kiln shelf - OK to use the bottom of the kiln?

Is it OK to lay the glass on the bottom of the kiln (kiln-washed) and use the only kiln shelf I have as the weight on top when Kiln Pressing fused glass?  I don't have an extra shelf and would like to give this a try!

You do not want to ever fuse

You do not want to ever fuse directly on the kiln floor. Glass needs even heating - you can't get that unless you have some air circulation under the glass.

Helios Kiln Glass Studio


kiln paper?

I borrowed an extra shelf from a friend and actually had good results...except I don't have a sandblaster.  Is there another way to remove the residual kiln with a grinder or dremel and then fire polishing it?  And would kiln paper be a better option than the kiln washed shelves?  Thanks, I appreciate your help!

Using standard construction bricks for weights

Has anyone tried the pressed glass using standard bricks (not kiln bricks) for weights? I want to try this but don't have any extra kiln furniture yet, but an abundance of bricks that were used on my house exterior.

Kiln pressed glass


I have been doing this for 3 or 4 years now, but somewhat differently: to use as elements to be added into other pieces; and I love all the results I get!. I use any scrap glass- 90, 96 or recycled (depending on what I want to work with, and I never mix COE). I use kiln washed stainless steel sheets with kiln paper, and lay out my glass pieces on the sheet metal that has the 1st layer of paper. This (bottom ) sheet of metal has been placed on a kiln shelf  that is elevated just off the floor of the kiln. Once my glass is down on top of the paper, I never go too thick with the glass layers (as you show in this demo) because I want it to flatten pretty evenly I then  place another sheet of paper on top of the glass and cover with another metal sheet.  SEQUENCE: Bottom to top: short posts on floor-kiln shelf-metal sheet-paper-glass-paper-metal sheet-kiln shelf, then load on the posts.. Top with the kiln posts (or mullite strips) laid flat, as many as possible and as close together as possible. If you can fit another kiln shelf on top of that, do so. I stay well away from the thermocouple as well in case of shift. My firing is similar in heat and cycles, just not as long because I don't use as much glass. By the way, the result has a coating of kiln paper dust that, when all piece(s) are cool, washes off perfectly.  I lay or cut these fired elements on sheet glass and sometimes cap as well- then fire again. Irid and dicro are really beautiful. Really cool, looks like blown glass!  Everybody have fun!!!!!

@ Donnaleesa I have been

@ Donnaleesa

I have been thinking of purchasing some stainless steel to use for forms etc., what grade of stainless do you use?  Does it matter?  Thanks.

Pressed Glass

Karyn Cott


I tried the pressed glass process and used blues, purples, reds, clear and pinks and it was absolutely gorgeous!!!  And I had it in the gallery for a short time and it sold quickly.Laughing

Kiln Pressed Glass

I was so excited to try this, had the most beautiful vision of a vase in mind!! But what a disaster!!!!!

The primer stuck to both sides of the glass, the coloured glass did not flow. I did everything according to the schedule. Now I must try again, but where do I start if I do not know what I did wrong?

Sorry to hear it didn't work

Sorry to hear it didn't work for you.

It is not unusual for primer to stick - especially to opaque glass.  Soaking the piece in vinegar for about 30 minutes should allow it to come off with a stiff brush.

When you say that the glass didn't flow, did the shelf not squeeze down?  If not, it simply means you need to go hotter and/or longer at the top of the firing.  Every kiln is different and it isn't unusual to have to adjust schedules - especially with this kind of "extremem" firing..

Hope this helps!


Helios Kiln Glass Studio


using tiles in place of kiln shelves

Glassy -

Any tile with a glaze should not be used, as it will melt and cause problems.  Kiln shelves are specially manufactured of a dense clay that will heat and cool evenly and not deform or break under repeated firings.  Tiles are not made to be repeatedly put through the firing process, so you run the risk of them breaking.  I suggest you invest in more kiln shelves - I know they seems pricey, but an extra  1 or 2 will really help, and save money, in the long run.  I have 3 for my 15" kiln - one is usually being fired, one in the cleaning and re-coating process, and another being loaded to go into the kiln.  Keeps things moving, and if one does break, I am not stalled.


Fused Glass, Wood, Beads, PMC, Ceramics

Usable and Wearable Art

Art for the Sake of Art

Kiln Pressed Glass

Tried this after reading about it yesterday. It works and is fun. At least I think I have the tecnique now I just have to get my part together and "press on" Hope to do many more of these. Liking my new art glass hobby in my retirement

I uploaded pics on the community section

I was wondering if you could

I was wondering if you could use art glass or if it could only be fusing glass.  I am brand new at this and would like something to use up my scraps.

central crack on pressed glass

I have tried two pieces of pressed glass and each one cracked right down the middle.  The cracks could be repaired by another firing and the pieces look good.  Could the crack be caused by too much weight?

Kiln pressed glass

So many techniques, so little time!  This is absolutely beautiful.  I'll definitely make time for this one!

Broken Kiln Pressed

Liking my new art glass hobby in my retirement

Another breakage, in the kiln, appearantly after annealing as the breaks are clean but many.

I used basically the schedule recommended, 300-1200-90/fast-1500-90/fast-900-120/50-800-00/100-700-00/100-100-00. wighted with a ceramic kiln shelf with 4-2x2x8 fire bricks. I did not vent at 500 and open at 300 as recommended, Can this be the problem, too much weight for too long in the cool down?



shelf paper

Hi Donnaleesa,

Hope your still checking in.  I used your idea about the paper using BE thinfire above and below.  The only difference in setup is I have no stainless steel sheets so the paper is on a kiln washed shelf.  I'm getting a ridge around the circumfrence about an inch or so in and think it may be the paper causing it (i.e., the glass is flowing, pushing the paper and the paper gets pushed into a circular ridge).  Can you offer any suggestions or advice?

question re: final piece

Hi texasbridge,

Hope your still checking in a year and a half later.  Saw your piece in the gallery-nice job!  I just finished my second firing.  My only criticism of my result is that there are visible lines where the original glass pieces had lain prior to firing (on both firings).  I'm using System 96 glass and the only change I made was to anneal at 950 per S96 guidelines.  I posted pics in the gallery but don't think the lines are visible there.  Any thoughts...?

Sandblasting and

Sandblasting and fire-polishing will usually fix those lines.

If you don't have access to a sandblaster, using an overspray like Super Spray and fusnig to about 1415F for 5 minutes should also do the trick.

Helios Kiln Glass Studio


correcting lines in kiln press

Hi Paul,

Thanks so much for taking the time to respond.  Even as I receive your post I sit here with my books and computer trying to commit to fire-polishing (to be my first) and determining a schedule.  This project has provided a welcome depth of experience & understanding not evident until practiced.  It's been quite exhiliarating (read scary) and I intend to see it through for just those reasons. These skills will serve me well on future projects.

Seeing your advice appear at just this time is truly invaluable.  Plus, I got to hear from the artist, himself  :-)

In humble appreciation,


This project was such fun

This project was such fun and a bit exciting at not knowing if it will come out or not!! LOL

Thank you so much for the tutorial and I have posted some pics of my work made from this glass. I think mine came out a bit thick..but It is beautiful!! and for a FYI kind of thing.. I had a bunch of clay left from my last stab at making my own molds, so I siced the clay up bisqued it and air dried it... to use for my weights... wasn't sure if it was enough weight as it came out kinda thick... It worked tho ...Laughing

Thanks again ! Lioness

Pressed breakage

I had my first pressing and it turned out beautifully. I used the schedule except I did not vent at 500 or open at 300, like Mary. The glass didn't break in the kiln. No cracks or anything. I cut all of it into smaller pieces intended for some jewelry projects, then fire polished to round the edges and polish the cuts. 300-900-20, 1000-1320-3, fast-950-30, 200-700-0. 400-100-0 (96 coe). Fire polish went beautifully and I made a couple of pieces. Drilled them, finished them, and then, after a few days wearing... they broke. The end of one rectangular piece and then right up the middle of another. Almost like it was crumbling.

I did use several handfuls of frit in the pressing and I'm wondering if somehow it didn't all flow together and was weak where it joined.

Anyone have any ideas?

Can you post a

Can you post a picture?

Helios Kiln Glass Studio


pictures posted

wow. I got your reply and was so grateful. Thank you. I think I figured it out. I think there's some white frit that's just not fuseable. I get some of my 96 coe from Olympic Color Rod. I'm going to try my next pressing with sections of different whites (small sections) and also more weight. The glass is uniform in thickness but might need to be a bit thinner. Not sure. Right now it is 4mm. I had a bottom layer of clear, a layer of different cut glass pieces and a layer of frit on top and in the spaces between the cut pieces. Some of the frit was clear.

I did post some pictures in my gallery.

Again, thank you so much.


I am slowly working my way

I am slowly working my way through these great lessons. Being a maverick I tried something else.I took all my dichroic on clear scrap fails placed them on a clear base , mixed in a bit of colored clear and put clear top on them then I pressed them. I did not have another kiln shelf so I used a large terra-cotta flowerpot base which I  primed several times. It worked like a charm. The bowl shape held the weights beautifully. My first press began to show some interesting effects but because I had been so carfull not to let dichroic touch dichroic there was little dimensional feeling. So I cut the piece in 3" squares and stacked them and ran it through again. It came out with some fascinating dimension. One side is much nicer than the other due to a few piece of solid I left in there. In the future I wouldn't put any solids. Now to decide what to do with this piece.

Thanks for the tutorial. They are lots of fun.

Kiln Press Feedback

George McGinn

I "just found" Paul's article about the <B>kiln press</B> method. So while this seems to be an "old" area, it's new to me and I thought I would add some thoughts. But first, thank's PAUL for an excellent tutorial. I've finished two small vases using this method and am very pleased with the results.

<B>Faint marks on the glass blank</B> - I noted one or two comments about this. Both my first melts had these shadow marks. However, a normal fire polish eliminated these ghost lines yielding  a perfect blank for slumping.

<B> Kiln wash residue on blank</B> - In the totorial this is mentioned and the suggestion was to sandblast. (UGH) While I didn't have any residue on the blanks I created, I have used a vingear soak very successfully for removal of residue from full pot melts. One needs a larger glass cooking pan. Just fill with vinegar and let the blank soak for a few hours. The thick kiln residue just flakes off. I'm sure even with a rough surface just an old tooth brush would take it off after some hours in the vinegar. I reuse the vinegar 3 to 5 times before it seems to lose it's "power". Just pour it back into a glass jar, keeping the heavy residue in the bottom of the pan from going into the "resue" jar.This residue is easy to dispose as it's wet.[Safer too as there is no fine powder just a wet mush.]

comments on "Kiln Press Feedback"

Hi George (& all):

Just wanted to concur with comments on shadow marks and kiln wash. Had the same issues on my first run but just recently completed a second, successful piece.  Picture in my gallery.

Soaking in cleaning strength vinegar took care of the kiln wash.

Fire Polishing took care of the ghost/shadow marks.  (I did use diamond hand pads on one side of mine and managed a satin finish on (what was finally) the bottom side and a glossy top.  I love the way the satin finish looks inside the bowl: rich and expensive :-)

Cracking and breaking

Hi, I have tried this technique twice but each time the glass cracked badly. This first time on first pressing and I was able to rejoin the 2 pieces and finish the project but the second time it has cracked and broken in several places and the rounded edges show that it must have happened early in the firing. I don't think I can salvage the piece although I will try when it is completely cold. I really hate to waste glass. I only use Bullseye glass so it can't be incompatible.

I fired onto a 9inch disco and then added a second layer. Both firings were on thin fire paper on a kiln washed shelf.

I would be very happy if anyone can help as it seems to be a great technique! (Sorry for bold text, this is my first post at this site )


top plate broke in half


Had mixed success with this project and need some advice as to what happened. I used 4 layers high of glass and bought a used shelf board for the top piece. This is what the problem was, the glass fused beautifully but the top shelf cracked in half. I had on for weight 5 or 6 high density fire bricks and some pieces of dam walls and stilts.

My question is two fold,  was the old shelf worn out and couldn't handle the weight , or did I use too much weight .

Also could you use a plate of stainless steel instead of shelving for the pressing layer?


FredB: top plate broke in half

On one of my attempts I used a pizza stone as part of the weight and that shattered.  Probably my fault for not pre-firing it. Otherwise, I've had success by very carefully stacking my weight as evenly as possible.  Haven't used a SS plate but have read that another fuser has and am intrigued but no money to buy one, much less two if memory serves the set-up described.  Best of luck on your next attempt!

Kiln-Pressed Glass


This is a very cool topic. I have tried several times to create thin glass using this general method to make small parts for use in bigger items, but I never thought to try it on a bigger scale. I can add that it is a fun way to use dichroic glass for sparkle effects. Before thinning the glass, add a thin layer of frit to the dichroic side if concerned about fusing dichroic to dichroic.

I am looking forward to a new project using this method!

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