How do I get those bubbles?
- May 9, 2009 at 12:00 am #9094
I have admired some gorgeous fused glass jewelry that has imbedded bubbles. I know there’s a way to use baking soda. I’ve seen recipes that say 1 teaspoon per cup of water, and another that says “make a paste”. But when I tried the paste I got HUGE bubbles that burst. The 1 teasp/cup didn’t work at all. Have any of you found the right balance? Any other tips from you members on achieving bubbles in jewelry pieces? (I have discovered that brass inclusions sometimes bubble a little around the edges–a nifty look.) Thanks for your help.May 9, 2009 at 10:42 am #11297
Have you tried sifting it onto the glass? Have you tried borax? What kind of fusing schedule are you using?
RoxaneMay 10, 2009 at 9:46 pm #11298
Hi Roxane, I will try sifting–that’s a new idea. And I’ll get some borax too. These have worked for you? My small kiln seems to require a slightly higher temp so I fuse at 1505. I also add in an anneal before that at 1250 for 20 mins. I got better results w/ all my fusings afterI built that extra anneal in. Thanks for your help.May 11, 2009 at 10:07 am #11299
I’ve had some fun with copper foil. It provides blue bubbles if using only a single layer. That was a happy accident.
Someone told me that a mixture of copper oxide and CMC can also produce blue bubbles. I have yet to try this– real life keeps getting in the way of playing mad scientist at the kiln. I got a recipe that I traced back to Tom White in Texas: 100 parts P-25 ceramic frit to 10 parts of copper oxide black in a 2% solution of CMC gum. Again, I haven’t tried it.
I did small “crumbs” of baking soda and borax dry that turned out okay as bubbles. I’ve experimented with putting the textured side of glass together. With a thin reeded glass, the bubbles are consistent in size and pattern. I keep trying for a “spray” of bubbles, and the best was the copper foil since the color added a nice bonus.
Hopefully someone has more experience with creating bubbles or has used the bubble powder that Delphi and others sell.
RoxaneMay 11, 2009 at 1:09 pm #11300Pam BParticipant
I just use bubble powder. (it’s cheap enough and even comes in colors) Just a few grains will give tiny bubbles. the more you use the bigger the bubble. When a small amount is mixed with fine frit it also looks great. You can get uniform bubbles by creating a grid with stringers or thin strips of glass with a clear layer on top. bubbles will form in the small empty squares. You can exagerate the bubbles by putting a few grains of bubble powder into each empty square too. It is definately something to use sparingly I learned that the hard way.May 15, 2009 at 7:43 am #11301Stephen RichardParticipant
Just a note to say that what ever you are doing at 675C, you are not annealing. That is a bubble squeeze temperature. It seems to me you are letting all the substance of the glass equalise to the 675C temperature before you go to the annealing soak and then on to the anneal cool.
675C is above the upper strain point of both Spectrum and Bullseye, so no annealing can occur at that temperature.
Perhaps if you describe (if you want to) what this soak at 675 cured, we could figure out what is being achieved.
Stephen RichardMay 15, 2009 at 4:41 pm #11302
Thanks to all of you for your helpful suggestions. I bought borax and I have bubble powder on order from Delphi. I’ve made some new frit and will try that great suggestion about mixing powders with it and see what develops. Like Roxane I’m looking for that pleasant “spray” of bubbles. This mad scientist will eventually stumble upon the likeliest solution and will reveal it in the forum in the coming weeks. BTW, have any of you crumbled copper leaf from Michael’s Craft between two clears? You get the coolest aqua color in varying shades along w/ small and medium sized bubbles. Nifty! This makes a nice coaster.May 19, 2009 at 2:13 pm #11303marytParticipant
I am using my regular full fuse schedule (the one I use for plates) to fuse jewelry as well, but sometimes I get little “snags” at the corners of the small pieces. Am I firing too hot (1465 for 96 coe) or maybe too long?? Thanks!May 19, 2009 at 7:26 pm #11304Stephen RichardParticipant
Depends on lots of things. Three of them are:
Thickness of the piece – 3 & 4 mm typically does as you describe.
Heat work – each kiln has its own characteristics so it is not possible to be categoric here. For some kilns 795C would not be hot enough, for others too hot. For some ramp speeds it would be too cool, and for slower ramp speeds it might be too hot.
Separator – Different separators have different characteristics. Batt wash can be the smoothest separator if properly prepared, but will react to too hot or too long top soaking temperature. Ceramic fibre paper often leaves little needles on the edges, but are easilly dealt with by use of a diamond smoothing pad. Thinfire (a Bullseye product) is least likely to leave needles, but does under some cirucmstances.
As you don’t indicate your ramp speeds or soaks, it is difficult to give specific answers.
Stephen RichardJune 18, 2009 at 7:56 pm #11305
Folks, I promised to tell what my results were, after your helpful comments. The bubble powder from Delphi didn’t work at all, even when I experimented w/ quantity. I did not use a thick sprinkling, however. Perhaps I’ll give it one more attempt. I found that for my purposes (pendants) an equal mix of borax and baking soda sprinkled on and capped w/ clear, worked the best. I also found that by sprinkling this mix onto clear base and cathedral frits, the easier for the bubbles to be seen. Thanks to all who gave me suggestions.September 16, 2009 at 3:40 pm #11306addicted2glassfusionParticipant
I’ve tried the bubble powder from Delphi but it leaves a white residue around the bubbles and it looks like a white cloudy paste in the glass. I’ve tried mixing mica powders into the bubble powder and that didn’t work either. I’ve tried sprinkling the bubble powders inbetween the glass with the bubble powder. I’ve seen a couple of things saying to use Borax, but is this the Borax you find in the laundry isle or is there a chemicle Borax that I need to order somewhere? If so, where do I order it.
I’ve also tried baking soda with mica powder which worked, but I think I used too much baking soda and the bubbles were so huge they popped, but the mica powder didn’t color the bubble like I was looking for, it just left a colored residue on the bottom of the glass, not a colored bubble.
I’m looking for small colored bubbles on the glass. Which it sounds like you’ve all tried. So, my next attempt will be to try to mix enamels or powdered frit with bubble powder, baking soda or even Borax (as soon as I find out what the borax is and where to get it).
I won’t get a chance to try any new things for a few weeks, but when I have some time, I’ll report back to you. Maybe in the end we’ll figure it out.September 16, 2009 at 11:30 pm #11307
The borax is the same that you find in the laundry aisle of the supermarket. I get the 20 Mule Team Borax and use some for glasswork and the rest in my laundry.
A little of the baking soda or the borax goes a long way.
I know that many people are searching for the holy grail of colored bubbles and the idea of mixing enamels in with the “bubble powder” seems like a good plan. Enamels, essentially ground glass, when incorporated well with the bubble juice, will melt in. Brilliant idea,
Roxane.September 17, 2009 at 3:47 pm #11308addicted2glassfusionParticipant
Thanks Roxane, I’m still new at trying enamels and glass frits, so I’m not very familiar with the differences between the two. It’ll be several weeks before I get a chance to sit down and try some new things, but I’ll let you know what happens.
Thanks againSeptember 17, 2010 at 6:29 pm #11309NorthernPossessionsParticipant
So here we are a year later…
How did it go? I would like to try making some and thought I would see how you were doing with it.
-KrisSeptember 24, 2010 at 5:58 pm #11310
My best bet has been to use a mix of baking powder and borax rather than the bubble powder. I am careful to not sprinkle too much on the piece and am careful to not have any large piles anywhere which will result in huge bubbles. It’s all in the experimentation–hard to be exact in my description of how much to use. My tries w/ enamel powder were never satisfactory, it stays granular and doesn’t melt. I intend to try fine frit next. Good luck w/ your experimentation.
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