Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Make Frit Blends At Home!


The other day when I was sooo not into making beads, but had the kiln on, I put it to good use! I heated a few rods of this color.. a few rods of that color.. and let them meet there sweet death in the happy bucket of water!
*insert evil happy laugh here*
I have been telling myself that I need a blue frit blend for some simple frited spiral pressed beads (click here to see the posting about Jim Moore spiral tongs) I also figured since I was doing it, I would throw in a green purple mix just for fun. I have made frit before by heating a glob and dousing it in water, but found this to be much easier, and give you faster more bountiful results! Recipes are at the bottom!

After you pick out your colors....
1) Heat glass in the kiln.
2) Plunge hot glass into clean water bucket.
3) Evil laugh as it crackles and breaks apart.
4) Dry
5) Quick 3-5 second blend in coffee grinder, repeat as necessary.
6) Flip contents onto a coffee filter, allow to dry if needed and run a magnet through to pick up any metal flecks the grinder blade may have left behind.
7) Sift if desired.
8) Use to make beads!!!

The Breakdown!
Making the actual frit is surprisingly easy! Just heat up rods and dunk them into a clean water bucket. They turn into 3in pieces of crackled glass. They look like those antique baked marbles really, and they crumble like sand stone! Very much fun to a dork like me! Please be careful when doing this though!!! It is glass, and you are intentionally breaking it!!!

You can either use shorts, or full rods. This is a GREAT way to use up all those shorts! I knew what I wanted in a frit blend, so I used full rods as my means of measurement. I gathered a few rods proportionately and plunged them into the same water bath. IF you plan on making multiple blends, experimenting with the proportions, or are not sure what your colors will do together, SEPARATE your plunges! Use a clean container (glass or metal) for each color.  It is a good idea to spray your glass with a squirt bottle to minimize the glass dust. You do not want to breath in glass dust!!!! (google it if you do not believe me!) Also make sure to clean the coffee grinder between colors, and DO NOT use your coffee grinder for anything but crafts anymore!

You will have a mix of different sized frit. You can buy sized mesh sifters to sort them, or just find a few different sized metal or plastic mesh pieces at the hardware store and fit them anything that will create a small rim (think soda bottle slice, or small PVC pipe slice left over from storing glass, and a rubber band or larger hose clamp. You know the kind most lampworkers have laying around!!!! Tim Gunn says "make it work"!) Sift through different sizes starting with the largest size and working towards the smaller sizes. Create as many sizes you would like until you are happy with it.
When mixing crushed glass record your measurements in a journal and measure with a teaspoon or like item.
When you run out of frit you can look in your book and know exactly how to get your new favorite frit blend!!! It is a good idea to spray the glass with a squirt or 2 of water doing this as well. This will minimize glass dust. If you plan on doing a lot of this, consider wearing a respirator to avoid the glass dust!.

Remember, Mixing Frit is like mixing cocktails! They are great when they look good, and taste good! But there are always those ones that should never be mixed again! EVER! Think Rubino and Ivory, or Baily's Irish Cream and Jeggermister! Both are fun experiments, but some drinks, and frits have better results the next day....

Frit Recipes!
I used rods for proportion. I left the end of the rod stick out of the kiln, so it would not shatter. I then kept the ends so I would remember to record the results, and kept them with the crushed frit until now. (I am using them as now to list the colors I used.) The rods are all standard size about 5-6mm and all about 13in long. Standard  rods or comercial 1-2mm stringer, also 12-13in  in length. Even though I retained the top 3in of the rod the proportions stay the same.

Blue Blend #1

1 Rod Each:
(ET052) Trans Light Blue
(VT058) Trans Med Blue
(EP242) Pastel Medium Lapis
(EP232) Pastel Light turquoise
1 Stringer
(ET060)Trans Cobalt Blue

Blue Blend #2

1 Rod Each:
(EP242) Pastel Medium Lapis
(ET052) Trans Light Blue
(VT080) Trans Pale Lavender
2 Rods each:
(VT058) Trans Med Blue
(T034) Trans Light Turquoise 
(Unknowingly I grabbed one Effetre, and one Vetro. They are interchangeable.)

Green And Purple Blend

1 Rod Each:
(EP273) Pastel Pea green
(EP212) Pastel Purple
(ET071) Trans Yellow Green
(ET040) Trans Purple

1 comment:

  1. Great tips Jaci - thanks heaps.
    I'll give it a go next time I have some "play time" on the torch :)