Pot Melt Tutorial
Design and Tutorial Courtesy of Slumpy's
So What is a Pot Melt Anyway?
Pot melts are a great way to turn all that scrap glass laying around into something beautiful. This technique allows you to combine various hues of compatible glass (same COE) in a opt and heat it to a very high temperature. As the temperatre of the glass rises and becomes liquid, it oozes like honey out of openings in the bottom of your pot. The thick drip can result in a radial pattern that spirals outward onto a prepared kiln shelf or casting frame. The resulting fused glass will ahve stunning random patterns similar to marbling and can be used in a number of different ways.
Let's Get Started!
Each pot produces a different pattern and marbling effect based on the size, shape and number of holes and how they organized on the bottom. Experimentation is key to finding what works best for you. Select a pot with the opening pattern that you prefer and start filling it with glass. The marbling effect can vary based on how the glass is loaded into the pot and the size of the holes. For example, standing the glass on its side tends to separate the colors and stacking the glass flat on top of each other will cause the colors to appear more blended. Keep in mind when arranging glass pieces that the glass will flow slower from smaller holes or faster from larger. If you want more detail in the pour, elevate the pot with additional kiln furniture.
As a general rule, pots should be loaded with approximately 3.5 pounds of glass which will produce a 12 inch round disk. Keep in mind when selecting colors that darker shades (black) can overwhelm other colors and take over your design.
Do not use kiln wash or any glass separator on the pot melt bowl. After completion of each Pot Melt you will have leftover glass in the bowl. No problem, these colors will blend into the next pot melt you make. The bowls can be re reused. However, we recommend that you use the same bowl for a particular glass color each time you run a pot melt.
Kiln Shelf Preparation
During the pot melt process, glass can be allowed to flow onto a kiln shelf that is lined with a thick fiber paper 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch thick, a ceramic mold, or into another type of enclosure like a stainless steel casting form.
If you are dripping the glass onto a fusing tile or mold make sure it has been coated with 3 coats of primer. In addition, you may want to coat the firebrick bottom and pot melt support stand in event of overflow. A stainless steel casting ring is one of the easiest ways to ensure a quality pot melt form. Casting rings do not have to be primed but, you will need to line the inside walls of the casting ring with 1/8 inch fiber strips. To avoid leakage and sticking, overlap the two cut ends of the strips and check to be sure fiber strips are sitting flat against the kiln shelf.
Load your kiln!
The surface is primed and the casting ring is covered with a fiber strip. Now it's time to setup the pot melt to fire. To ensure success, the kiln interior should have at least a 20 inch diameter and 10 inch height for good air flow. Find the shelf center and place your prepared casting ring on primed surface, position the pot melt stand over the ring and place the glass filled bowl in the opening of the pot melt stand.
Do not ramp the ceramic bowl too fast or you will end up with a broken bowl.
High temperatures are used during the Pot Melt process, so protective clothing for the face and hands as well as safety glassses should always be worn when opening the kiln for flash cooling. If during the cooling process you notice a thing strand of glass flowing from the pot to the surface, you may want to extend your hold time. Listed below is the suggested firing schedule for the Pot Melt.
Firing to 1700 degrees Fahrenheit can be harmful to your kiln, coils, and the ceramic pot and pot melt support won't stand. These firing schedules are to be used as guidelines as each kiln can vary. You will need to experiment with your kiln to see what will give you the results that you are seeking.
Each pot melt is a unique piece of art that is impossible to duplicate. Finished pieces can be used as is, slumped into your favorite mold, or cut into strips and used as decorative elements for another project.
With the pot melt, you can let your imagination go wild and create your very own colored glass for slumping or fusing.