lettering fused into or onto glass - WarmGlass.com

lettering fused into or onto glass

This is the main board for discussing general techniques, tools, and processes for fusing, slumping, and related kiln-forming activities.

Moderators: Tony Smith, Brad Walker

Post Reply
Eric Baker
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu May 20, 2004 9:19 am
Location: Owasso, OK

lettering fused into or onto glass

Postby Eric Baker » Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:08 am

Hi fellow glass lovers,

I've got a potential project that will involve making approx. 300 small (3" x 6" x 0.25" glass panels). They're intended to show off donor names in a hospital project, so obviously, they'll have unique names on each glass panel.

I've never used photo fusing paper, but my idea for tackling some samples (with the hope of winning the possible client over) for the project, and eventually, the actual project, would be to print the donors names as they were needed with Photo Fusing Paper, and fuse them into/onto the glass panels.

I've done some searches here, and on Google, but I'm not satisfied with the information that I'm learning about the PFP. It would seem that I need a special HP or Canon laser printer, and perhaps a special toner cartridge that is high in iron content--the end result being a sepia colored image. That would be fine if the lettering came out that color, and were crisp and readable, but since I'm just making some samples on my own dime, without a honorarium/stipend to explore this, I don't want to invest in a special, expensive printer until I know the project's mine.

If there is no way to make a few samples with another printer, say at a local printshop, etc., then I'll have to find another way to make and fuse on the lettering, and I'm not familiar with screen-printing or enameling.

So my 'plan B' is to perhaps use an item such as a Cricut, or similar device to make a crisp and accurate (repeatable, too) template of lettering with which I might sift powdered glass onto the surface of a pre-fused blank, then fuse the powder on with the hope of making a crisp name of a donor fused permanently onto the glass.

I've a friend with a Cricut, but I'm not sure what materials it can cut which can be used as a template or perhaps a resist. So my hope is that someone here has played with lettering fused onto glass, and has discovered an efficient way to go about making a project of this type, and hopefully in an affordable way.

Any thoughts or help will be appreciated,

Thanks,

Eric

Valerie Adams
Posts: 587
Joined: Mon Apr 19, 2004 2:49 pm
Location: Santa Rosa, California
Contact:

Re: lettering fused into or onto glass

Postby Valerie Adams » Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:17 am

Eric, read through this thread to see if any of the ideas might work for you:
viewtopic.php?f=20&t=39641

Sifting powders through a template will not result in crisp letters. There's not enough pigment in the powder to show up with a very thin layer, and if you do a thicker layer, the powder will spread a bit and you'll get a fuzzy image.

The decal paper is ok but you have to be happy with sepia colored lettering. There are some businesses out there who make custom decals, which I believe can be any color you like, but that'll likely be expensive since each one needs to be unique.

How's your handwriting? You could use a pen nib and write with enamels thinned with a medium. That's one of my favorite methods.

Eric Baker
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu May 20, 2004 9:19 am
Location: Owasso, OK

Re: lettering fused into or onto glass

Postby Eric Baker » Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:36 am

Hi Valerie,

Thanks for that topic link; I had been watching that one for tips and advice.

A funny story: I had bought Jody's book, and it was shipped to me very promptly (thanks Brad and Jody). Upon arrival at my house, my toddler got his hands on it, and carried through the house and lost it. Literally, the book disappeared.

I've searched under every bed, in every toy box, in every bookcase, and in every clothes dresser/closet. I've no idea where my copy of that book went. I remember thinking when I opened the mailer package: "Wow, this looks promising. I'm going to enjoy reading through this!" I'm sure it'll be a great read, but apparently my toddler fed it to the cats, or stuffed it somewhere completely hidden.

I can't bring myself to buy another copy, thinking that I soon as I do, the original will show up. But so far, it's a mystery! Aren't toddlers great?!

Bert Weiss
Posts: 2338
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2003 12:06 am
Location: Chatham NH
Contact:

Re: lettering fused into or onto glass

Postby Bert Weiss » Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:38 am

You might want to look at frit coating a sheet of glass, and then sandblast lettering away from the frit layer. This will yield the crispiest lettering. If you work on clear glass, mount the glass a bit off of the wall, and front light it from the ceiling, the light will go through the glass, bounce off the wall, and back through the glass. I have done this with great success. Everybody thinks you need to back light the glass, but in my experience this works much better and is a thousand times easier. When you front light the glass, the frit layer looks great, and the white letters pop.
Last edited by Bert Weiss on Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
Bert

Bert Weiss Art Glass*
http://www.customartglass.com
Furniture Lighting Sculpture Tableware
Architectural Commissions

Eric Baker
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu May 20, 2004 9:19 am
Location: Owasso, OK

Re: lettering fused into or onto glass

Postby Eric Baker » Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:38 am

Oh yeah, my handwriting is abhorrent... truly.

I took a calligraphy class once. The teacher recommended I become a doctor, and she gave up on my penmanship ever being a 'work of art'. :)

tbach
Posts: 33
Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:35 pm
Location: Hillsboro, Oregon

Re: lettering fused into or onto glass

Postby tbach » Thu Nov 29, 2012 3:05 am

Probably the best idea would be screenprinting with glass enamels . . . but that has a rather steep learning curve. When I first started doing it, I hated each and every project, but I found that over time, the screen preparation, exposure, washout, printing and screen reclaiming are not such a big deal. It took me more than 2 years to get there.

Bert! I love your idea, and yes, it would work marvelously. Not only that . . . Eric already has access to a Cricut to make a perfectly fine resist with adhesive vinyl. I just purchased a Silhouette Cameo plotter, and I'm loving it. The only problem I have had with adhesive vinyl is the "weeding" that is necessary to get useable design and the transfer of the adhesive vinyl to your glass. For now, I am sticking to the recommended transfer product that will stick to the adhesive vinyl and allow you to strip it from the backing and transfer it to the surface that is going to be sandblasted. Just read a suggestion on a plotter forum - it said that putting the whole vinyl design on the glass and then removing the parts you do want to blast is easier that trying to "weed" before the transfer process. This makes sense, and I am definitely going to try it on my next project.

Man! I love the idea of sifting powder on the whole piece of glass, fusing it, and then sandblasting. Thanks again, Bert, and to Eric for bringing it to the surface.

Bert Weiss
Posts: 2338
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2003 12:06 am
Location: Chatham NH
Contact:

Re: lettering fused into or onto glass

Postby Bert Weiss » Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:12 am

My routine is to hand paint and stipple with Ferro Sunshine series onglaze colors. I know how to do this. You could also screen print a uniform layer of color over the whole piece. Sifting dark frits will also do this. All these approaches do have learning curves. A light table will give you a big clue as to how evenly you have applied the color. If you were to end up back lighting, the density of the flash layer will be totally evident. If you front light, this is much less in play.

I have a local business that sandblasts glasses and mugs using a photo resist. My buddy there is an expert at exposing and washing out the photo resist. He warms the glass or mug before he applies the resist. I think you can order custom resist sheets from a company. This approach removes the need to weed the letters. The process is quite comparable to exposing a silk screen.
Bert



Bert Weiss Art Glass*

http://www.customartglass.com

Furniture Lighting Sculpture Tableware

Architectural Commissions

Barry Kaiser
Posts: 286
Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2005 6:54 pm
Location: North Carolina
Contact:

Re: lettering fused into or onto glass

Postby Barry Kaiser » Thu Nov 29, 2012 11:51 am

We do lots of screen printing, which would work for this project. But, it is time consuming to make a screen for each name.

A far simpler and effective method of doing this is to go to Office Depot or similar store and buy the sets of vinyl letters. Lots of sizes and fonts.

If your budget allows, you can simply stick them on a piece of dichro and acid etch. Voila- name on glass.
If you do not want to use dichro, put the letters on a color of glass, and use high fire paints (we have them in our store) to paint the whole piece. Remove the vinyl letter while the paint is still wet, and you have a two color piece with a name on it. Dry well and fire.

Judd
Posts: 291
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2003 9:45 am
Location: Arkansas

Re: lettering fused into or onto glass

Postby Judd » Thu Nov 29, 2012 3:27 pm

I would suggest you just buy the HP Laser printer and print your own decals. 1) The letters will be crisp and easily read, 2) you'll have an awesome tool to use on other projects (even if this one does not pan out), 3) and this project should MORE THAN pay for the cost of the printer and the laser paper and STILL have money left over- unless you under-bid.

Also, if the hospital accepts your bid and has you do the project, don't be surprised if they call later and ask you to do the project for less than the agreed upon price. They'll try to tell you they're a philanthropic organization, they'll tell you they'll used the saved money for cancer research, they'll tell you anything that will save them money to waste on other stupid things. Stick to your guns.

Just my personal experience. Not all hospitals are for-profit jerks.

Eric Baker
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu May 20, 2004 9:19 am
Location: Owasso, OK

Re: lettering fused into or onto glass

Postby Eric Baker » Thu Nov 29, 2012 4:40 pm

Hi Judd,

Thanks for that input. Money's tight, as it is for many of us, and I'm not entirely sure what printer (and how expensive) will suffice. I'd hate to drop a couple of hundred dollars and then find out I missed buying the right one.

Doing some googling before I posted this query led me to a couple of HP printers that I could only find used (on ebay, etc.). That led me to believe that the information given on the particular website that I read through, which mentioned what kinds of printers can be used (MICR type?), might have been dated. I don't have any trouble buying a used printer, especially since I doubt I do much printing of decals (or screenprinting, either, for that matter) other than this one project.

And yes, I'd make sure that the cost of the printer/cartridges, etc. was included in the bid, too. I've done my share of underbidding, trust me. #-o

Regarding this project, going the decal route, I'd have to invest in the printer just to make the two or three samples needed, regardless of whether I win the project or not. Screen-printing, it sounds like there's going to be a severe learning curve (read that: time and money) just to make the same samples.

I've got a date with a local FabLab in the nearby city for this coming Saturday. I'm going to familiarize myself with their vinyl cutter and try to create a resist that I can use to sandblast the glass using some of the techniques suggested above. But I do notice from phone discussions I've had with them today, that their vinyl cutter only cuts up to 4-mil thickness. For sandblasting, Glastar sells vinyl resists that are 6-mil and thicker, so I worry that the thinner vinyl (theirs is 3.2-mil) available at my local FabLab won't hold up to a sandblast (I intend only to etch with my blaster, not carve--I'm only interested in removing the irid/dichro, or glass powder/enamel). And if their machine's limitation of 4-mil means I won't be able to easily make the three hundred names in a resist, I'll need to consider other options. So hopefully, after Saturday, I'll know more of which direction I'll be forced to take regarding this work...

The decals were the direction I'd wanted to head, but money and time-wise, and because of my ignorance in the decal process, I may have to settle for sandblasting some irid/dichro combination. Not my first choice, but maybe the best choice to make a couple of samples inexpensively, assuming the experimenting this weekend goes well enough...

Thanks for the input from all of you.

Any other thoughts or experiences, please share!

p.s. And Judd, it sounds like you've had an interesting experience regarding hospital/public works... I too share in your cynicism.

Brad Walker
Site Admin
Posts: 1362
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2003 9:33 pm
Location: North Carolina, USA
Contact:

Re: lettering fused into or onto glass

Postby Brad Walker » Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:05 pm

You can buy an HP printer that will work with decal paper for under $200. Jody's book has the cartridge numbers that work, the model numbers change faster than the cartridge numbers. Email me if you want a particular model suggestion. Not all MICR toners will work.

If you use resist and only surface blast, you don't need 6 mil resist, 4 will work fine. Even contact paper will work in a pinch, so long as its not repositionable contact paper.

If you have to buy decal paper (not to mention the printer), sandblasting should be less expensive than using decals, assuming you have the blaster already and they don't overcharge you for cutting the resist Any sign shop can do this, by the way, and their sign vinyl usually works fine.

Another option for doing this with a resist is to use the resist with enamels. This is called monoprinting in Jody's book.

Also, if you want to use glass powder, the best method is probably Carrie Iverson's gum image transfer method, which is covered in one of Bullseye's (fee-based) online videos. If you go this route, be aware that it's a fairly complicated process but it does give good results with powder and allows for more color options than photo transfer methods.

Finally, the least expensive way to do this is probably using the right laser printer on normal typing paper (rather than the decal paper). That technique is also covered in Jody's book, but it does take some practice to get it right.

Eric Baker
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu May 20, 2004 9:19 am
Location: Owasso, OK

Re: lettering fused into or onto glass

Postby Eric Baker » Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:17 pm

Hi Brad,

thanks for all of those options, too. Particularly for this project, I bought Jody's book. Then my toddler stole it and hid it somewhere in the house. I mentioned earlier in the thread this funny, but frustrating, situation.

I'll grill my toddler under a bright lamp and under the threat of violence, or make him clean his room again... If that doesn't work, I'll bribe him with ice-cream.

How can a two-year old cause so much harm?

He looks sweet in all the family photos... which of course, I can't transfer onto any glass because of his shenanigans!

Thanks again, Brad. I'll check out the Bullseye videos, too.

warm regards,

Eric

p.s. I love this website. I want to thank you personally, for creating this place of creativity and sharing (not withstanding all the political junk that wears out the Spab forum...)

Valerie Adams
Posts: 587
Joined: Mon Apr 19, 2004 2:49 pm
Location: Santa Rosa, California
Contact:

Re: lettering fused into or onto glass

Postby Valerie Adams » Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:28 pm

Brad Walker wrote:Also, if you want to use glass powder, the best method is probably Carrie Iverson's gum image transfer method, which is covered in one of Bullseye's (fee-based) online videos. If you go this route, be aware that it's a fairly complicated process but it does give good results with powder and allows for more color options than photo transfer methods.


I've taken Carrie's class and I can assure you this method wouldn't be the one to use when you want donor's names to be easily read. Carrie's technique lends a soft, ethereal result. For crisp, readable letters, decals, sandblasting, silkscreening, or hand lettering are the way to go.

Decals have the least amount of learning curve. If you don't want to purchase a printer, I'm sure there are folks here who'd print you a few pages, for a small fee. I don't know much about sandblasting, so I can't comment on ease of use, but there's also the investment, if you don't already have a set up. Hand lettering is easy but you've already said you don't like yours. Silkscreening isn't difficult, especially on a small scale.

Eric Baker
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu May 20, 2004 9:19 am
Location: Owasso, OK

Re: lettering fused into or onto glass

Postby Eric Baker » Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:36 pm

Thanks for that insight, Valerie!

Richard Blummer
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Jul 14, 2010 9:15 am
Location: Egg Harbor Township, NJ
Contact:

Re: lettering fused into or onto glass

Postby Richard Blummer » Thu Nov 29, 2012 6:18 pm

I would try something like "Flexi-Glass". Make a sheet of dark Flexi, cut the letters out with stencils and an exacto-knife, and fuse them capped with 2mm clear. Simple, quick, cheap, and as legible as your skill in cutting allows.

You may even be able to cut the Flexi-glass directly with the Cricut...
אָשֵׁר חַיִּים

bob proulx
Posts: 186
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 7:13 pm
Location: Nahant Massachusetts
Contact:

Re: lettering fused into or onto glass

Postby bob proulx » Thu Nov 29, 2012 6:24 pm

Eric, I use the hp p1006 laser jet and it cost me $99.00, direct from hp with no shipping, It only prints in black and white. They do not make this particular model anymore but I am sure they have a replacement for it. If you want pm me and tell me what you would like and I'll make up a few copies for to try so you can see if this will work for you before you go out and spend to much money.
Bob

Valerie Adams
Posts: 587
Joined: Mon Apr 19, 2004 2:49 pm
Location: Santa Rosa, California
Contact:

Re: lettering fused into or onto glass

Postby Valerie Adams » Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:13 pm

Chaim Ascher wrote:I would try something like "Flexi-Glass". Make a sheet of dark Flexi, cut the letters out with stencils and an exacto-knife, and fuse them capped with 2mm clear. Simple, quick, cheap, and as legible as your skill in cutting allows.

You may even be able to cut the Flexi-glass directly with the Cricut...


Your cutting skills must be amazing! :D

His finished pieces are very small, and I'm guessing the lettering will be something in the range of 18-24 point; not exactly conducive to hand cutting.

judith
Posts: 49
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2003 8:57 am
Location: Vitrum Studio - Maryland - DC area
Contact:

Re: lettering fused into or onto glass

Postby judith » Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:38 pm

Eric,
We bought some of th e photo decal paper and were astounded that the TWO old printes at VItrum worked for this process. It would certainly be the easiest, fastest and least expensive way to do it. Send me an email reminder and I can send you the names of the printers that work with the paper we have. When fired, in my experience, the sepia color is quite elegant and would be a fine very well with the thought behind memorial names.
judith
NEW Spring 2014 session of classes on line.......Nathan Sandberg, Richard Parrish, Martha Pfanschmidt and more!
http://www.vitrumstudio.com
http://www.judithconwayglass.com

judith
Posts: 49
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2003 8:57 am
Location: Vitrum Studio - Maryland - DC area
Contact:

Re: lettering fused into or onto glass

Postby judith » Fri Nov 30, 2012 12:28 am

Eric-
On second thought, why don't you just send me an image of some names in the script of your choice (and whatever else will fit on the paper) in strong B/W contrast and I'll print them out on the paper (it's 8.5" x 11") and send you the sheet to use and fire. That way you can have a true test - and I have some extra paper on hand. My treat.
judith
NEW Spring 2014 session of classes on line.......Nathan Sandberg, Richard Parrish, Martha Pfanschmidt and more!
http://www.vitrumstudio.com
http://www.judithconwayglass.com

Eric Baker
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu May 20, 2004 9:19 am
Location: Owasso, OK

Re: lettering fused into or onto glass

Postby Eric Baker » Fri Nov 30, 2012 12:39 am

Judith,

you're the bomb! (Bob, you are too!)

This sharing of experience-- and materials, too-- is why I love the glass community. I'm typing this up on my tablet, Judith, when I get back home tonight, I'll get my sample names together and send you an email. I don't know why I'd need more than one sheet. The finish lettering will be quite small...

Thanks so much,

Eric


Post Reply

Return to “Techniques and Tools”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], Majestic-12 [Bot] and 67 guests

Warm Glass

2575 Old Glory Road, Suite 700
Suite 700
Clemmons, NC 27012
Phone: (336) 712 8003
Email: wg@warmglass.com