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Saturday, April 19, 2014

2014 Magless Exchange

For my mosaic friends, this probably won't be an interesting post but once again it details how inept I seem to be at times. And I have only been doing fused glass in earnest for a few months. There is a great difference between doing a mosaic and doing something in fused glass. With the mosaic, you see results right away. You can move pieces, change colors, add bling, etc. and you see right away how it looks. With fused glass you come up with what you think is a good idea and you think you've done everything right, but you don't get to see your results until the next morning. It's a much longer process and therefore it takes a longer timeframe in which to make all the mistakes. And mistakes I have made!!!! But this is part of the learning process so I'm enjoying it very much.

This is my first Magless venture. For those of you who have never heard of it, it is an exchange of fused glass pieces without the actual magnet attached. This keeps shipping costs down and, I imagine, saves us money because not everyone will like the magnet we make. So after the sign up is finished, we need to make a enough maglesses for everyone. I was the last person to sign up and my number was 48. And we were asked to make an extra to raffle off for charity, so I made 49 magless.

Previous years' participants had written many interesting and informative things about their processes, and I read all of their notes. Three thoughts were repeated many times:


So in February when the final count was in for this year's magless group, I started to work on them. I decided I wanted to use up scrap glass, and I wanted to try working with custom color decals. I have long been into photography and have hundreds of images of my cats and so I decided to make a magnet with a kitty picture. (Surprise!)

I tried a different sizes, colors and configurations and had varying degrees of success. I started with this idea:

Base layer in color
Middle piece white or light color so the decals would show
Top it with a clear glass piece

But there were problems. The clear glass slid off the top, bubbles emerged, glass shifted, pieces stuck together and many of the colors weren't pleasing me. I experimented with tack fuse and full fuses and had more problems. So I decided to leave the clear layer off and that worked much better.

But, even without the clear glass top, I still had trouble with top pieces sliding. So I did tests using six different glues; Zuper Glue, No Days Liquid, Elmer's gel, hair spray sprayed on, hair spray - used a wand and placed a dot of liquid on the glass, and Glastec. They all held the first time I tried it. Hallelujah!  But that was just beginner's luck. In the next batch I must not have let all the glues dry, and some slide off again. Plus I still wasn't pleased with the colors and sizes.

I finally got the sliding under control. And I tried many different color combinations and finally came up with colors I was pretty happy with. I liked the look of the tack fuse so I began making 48 maglesses in this configuration.

1.75" base color
1.25" white layer

On the decal issue, after reading a previous year's person's note about Micro-Mark fusing paper which would keep the color rather than just fusing into sepia I decided to try that approach. A package came with 10 sheets that I could print on my color laser printer so I could make some mistakes and still have sheets left.

First I had to create a printable sheet that had the right size pictures. So a made a sheet with 80 pictures about 1" each. And first I thought I'd just do Boots. But then I thought I should mix it up a bit so I made the same size sheet with several different pictures of my kitties. I printed them out on my laser printer using the decal paper. This worked but the images weren't very bright. They were much more colorful when just printed on some type of photo paper.
Boots and More

Meanwhile I made 50 fused glass "blanks", color in the back and some form of white/beige on the top. And I decided to go with the bright images. I cut out all the pictures and used Martha Stewart’s decoupage to attach the bright, colorful photos to the glass. This worked well. They are sealed and permanent with a nice gloss.

Then I signed them all on the back, put each one in a snack-sized plastic bag, attached a sticker, wrote my number 48 on the front and mailed them off to the magless coordinator, Jennifer! Thank you, Jennifer, for all your work on this project.

I learned so much making these pieces, and I look forward to doing it again next year!

1 comment:

  1. Hi your mosaics... I do a few of them and teach them at the Mental Health drop in Centre.
    About the fused glass: I do a lot of fused glass.. mostly small pieces... check out my blog: to see some of my work with Gr. 1's. We use either Weldbond White glue (PVA) or Elmer's Blue School gel... it works every time.. even with the school kids who tend to use too much.. Both burn off great.. However the glue MUST be dry. You run the risk of 'blowing up' in the kiln otherwise. Hope that helps!
    PS would love to participate in the Magless venture... Happy Glassing!!