Photos on Glass

Home Forums Glass Fusing General Fusing Discussion Photos on Glass

Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
  • Author
  • #9533

    I am interested in glass fusing with photos. What kind of printer should I use? Can you fuse color photos? I understand a lot has to do with the content of the toner and it has to be a laserjet printer.


    In order to print images on glass you need to purchase “Photo Fusing Paper” (available at Ed Hoys, D & L Stained Glass, Delphi or The Vinery).  This is a paper with a decal coating that will accept the image when printed with a Black and White (only) laser printer that uses a carbon based toner with Iron Oxide in it.  Most smaller office sized HP Laser Printers work.  Don’t use the large laser printers at Kinkos – they are too hot and the paper jams in them.  Remove the protective paper coating from the sheet of Photo Fusing Paper (it’s like thin wax paper) and put the paper into the single sheet feed of the printer.  Print onto the glossy side of the paper.  When your images are printed, cut out the image, cutting as close to the image as possible and then float the decal (image side up) in a shallow dish with distilled water in it.  Let it float for about 3 minutes or until the decal begins to lift off the paper.  Get your base glass ready by smearing some water on it to give the decal “slip” when it is applied.  I slide my glass into the water in the dish on an angle and slide the decal (image side up) onto the glass.  Hold the decal with your fingers and angle the glass to let the excess water drip off.  Take a section of paper towel and fold it over several times to make a “squeegee” and gently wipe across the top of the decal to begin removing the water and any air bubbles.  Do this very gently, the paper towel can scratch the image.  Use a dry section of the paper towel with each wiping.  Let the decal air dry for a few hours or dry gently with a hairdryer before firing.  Images do not come out well when capped with clear.  Always fire your image on the top of your base glass.  Fire to 1350 degrees.  Images will fade if fired to higher temperatures.  Even though the image is printed in black and white it will fire to a dark sepia brown (because everything burns off in the kiln except the iron oxide in the toner).  Start with images that have a high contrast of black and white.  Images with very fine detail or thin lettering don’t work very well.  There are a lot of quirks with this paper and you should try a few samples before your main project.  I teach a class for this technique at The Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee ( called Fused Photo Pendant. Good luck to you.


    Live life … you can sleep when you’re dead.


    I don’t have a B/W printer, do you know someone who would print the decals for me?


    Petra Kaiser prints your images out for you. Check out her website: 

    Or if you are some of the yahoo glass groups too, you might find people that are willing to print your images for you. (yahoo: warmglass, glassfusion, artglasspics, kilnglass).

    If you do get a b&w laserjet and you are ready to print your own, check out for the transfer paper….last time I bought it theirs was the best price I could find.

    If you do buy a b&w laserjet…I highly recommend a basic HP model, but do your homework first and check the MSDS sheet to see which model has the highest iron oxide content. If you can get your hands on an older HP LaserJet 1020….get it. That model seems to have the highest content and prints nicely. (I bought one new, and I bought one at a thrift store for $1.29, I also have the HP LaserJet 1006.) The newer models have less iron oxide and you have to either manipulate your photos in a photo editing program to be darker or layer your print. Or another option is to buy a MICR toner (magnetic ink character recognition, like they use in the banks) as they tend to print darker than a normal printer due to the increased amount of iron oxide.

    When printing your own it is best to print a few copies before you put your decal paper in the printer, so you can warm up the printer, and it lets you see what your copy will look like and if you will need to make any adjustments. Be sure to remove the tissue paper from the decal paper before printing. I try to let my decals dry overnight after printing before I use them.

    Cut them close to the design and soak in lukewarm water. Place it on the glass and position it where you want it. Once you are pleased with its’ location, take a paper towel and blot up the excess water, get another paper towel and place it over the decal and use a brayer and work any more water that is left around and under the decal. Make sure before you fire your decal/glass to remove any residue (from the decal) that is on the glass around the edges of the decal….sometimes if you move the decal around very much it will leave a smear …if you don’t clean it up with water or rubbing alcohol before firing, it is permanent and will show after firing. Make sure the decal is completely dry before firing.

    All kilns are different, but I fire my decals at a tack fuse. I find if I go any hotter it will distort or even make the decal crack due to the glass moving. Therefore if I want any embellishments on my glass piece I will full fuse those in one firing, and the next I apply the decal and tack fuse.

    Some people add powdered frit for color on the decal, or around the decal.

    As far as clear capping decals, I have had this conversation with lots of glass artists….overall it is not a successful venture. If you clear cap decals no bigger than 2″ x 2″…you can do it, but go any bigger that is when you get into trouble. You either get bubbles between the clear cap and base glass that generally end up in the most conspicuous places, or the decal will distort and tear. I do know of someone that uses clear powder frit over the top to achieve the look of the clear cap…but I haven’t seen it in person. At first I didn’t like the decals without the clear cap, but now I think they look very nice, and many times more crisp.

    Experiment, experiment, experiment! If you do have someone print your images, have a few extras made so you can try them before you do your final piece.

    Have fun!




    I have read a million posts and topics about printing your own decals. I as so excited about finding this forum and was ready to get myself an old HP 1020 only to find it is not compatible with my computer so I went to the store to pick up an HP that people said they have used to print their own decals for fusing and when i looked at the system requirements my happy glass bubble popped :( Has anyone used a brother model laser printer to print their decals? I just want to make sure someone has the model and has had success before i go out and spend $$ i shouldn’t be spending anyway on something that is not going to work well or work at all!


    I would be tickled pink if someone could help me!


    i forgot to mention i am fusing COE 90


    Hi There:

    I found your post very helpful. I just did my first fusing with the fusible transfer paper that I bought from Delphi. Everything looks great, with the exception that I can slightly see the outline of where the edge of the paper meets the glass. I fired (3) 2 3/4″ X 1 1/2′ pieces in my small Evenheat kiln to 1350 F. I held it there for about 5 minutes before I turned it off. This fusbile paper came with instructions, except for any actual fusing instructions with temperatures or time. I did some investigating online & around 1350 F seemed to be what I could find & that firing much higher might burn off the photo fusing image. If I still see the outline – does that mean I should fire it longer? Hotter?

    Thanks for any additional help!

Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

People Who Like Thisx