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Fusing onto copper switch plates?

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Fusing onto copper switch plates?

Postby JudyM » Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:53 pm

I'd like to try fusing frit onto copper switch plates, and I'm wondering where I can go to find out how to do this. Thanks!
Judy M
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Re: Fusing onto copper switch plates?

Postby marykaynitchie » Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:22 am

Hi Judy,

At Bullseye, we don't have much experience fusing glass frits to copper, but other users may have input.

You might want to research the methods of cloisonné, which is a technique used to decorate metalwork objects with vitreous enamels/glass, as described by wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloisonn%C3%A9

Decades ago, my mom had a little kit with enamel powders and pieces of copper and a tiny kiln for doing cloisonné, but I never saw her do it.

Mary Kay
Mary Kay Nitchie
Bullseye Glass Co.

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Re: Fusing onto copper switch plates?

Postby Dolores » Thu Jan 21, 2010 8:38 am


To fuse onto copper you must have the proper COE designed for that metal or it will likely crack/break off. Copper compatable enamel is somewhere around COE 258+ (melts at a very low temperature). You might want to look into Thompson enamels. Their website offers enamels suitable for different metals as well as information on the process.

BTW:If you ever want to see a bead dramatically explode, just encase Coe 90 over Coe 258+ enamel (no, I didn't try this myself, heard it from another artist who did!).


Re: Fusing onto copper switch plates?

Postby Dierwolf » Thu Jan 21, 2010 10:59 pm

In class we stripped copper wire, and I've fused it to 96 COE glasses, as well as 83 COE window glasses. I've also used copper powder as frit in a hotshop, but if you do such a thing be sure to use a powder booth, inhaling copper will cause real bad damage to your lungs, and potentially kill you. Another interesting effect is using silver wire. When we test fired it into window glass the fumes were trapped thus creating an iridescence. Copper gets nasty dirty when fired in a glass kiln though, i'm not sure how you're going to get around that. We tried all sorts of things to clean it, boiling water, denatured alcohol, sandblasting, nothin worked totally. lemme know how it goes :)

Re: Fusing onto copper switch plates?

Postby Vicki Floyd Willhite » Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:22 am

Good news! I just ran into an example of glass fused to copper in the online gallery of Fusion Headquarters (http://www.fusionheadquarters.com/gallery/index.html). The artist is Julie Dumas. You may be able to contact her and learn about the process that she used. The art work displayed in the fusion headquarters gallery is a large sheet of copper with glass fused to the surface.

Good luck! Let us know if you get a chance to try it out.
Vicki Floyd Willhite
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Re: Fusing onto copper switch plates?

Postby dianmac » Fri Jan 22, 2010 11:44 am

If you look on the web under enameling you should be able to find the info you need. In a nutshell, you can get the frit you need from Thompson enamels (also online). but you preheat your kiln to reach 1500 degrees. You have to thoroughly clean the copper switchplate, then brush with Klyrfire, and dust the frit color or choice onto the switchplate, place in the kiln on a "trivet" and leave for about 3 minutes checking after a couple of minutes to see how much it melted. You may have to redust and refire a couple of times to get the look you're after. If you are going to use multiple colors only fire to the "orange peel" phase so that you don't burn out the colors each time. The final firing should be the look you are trying to obtain. I don't know if this helps but any enameling site should be able to give you more complete directions.
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Re: Fusing onto copper switch plates?

Postby JudyM » Fri Jan 22, 2010 2:59 pm

What great information you are all giving me! It sounds like I have a lot of experimenting to do. You all are fabulous!
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Re: Fusing onto copper switch plates?

Postby johnreeves » Sat Jan 23, 2010 10:46 am

I routinely fuse thick 90 coe Bullseye onto 3/4 " copper pipe fittings to form support sockets for my glass totems-- they are them pluged onto 3/4 " copper pipe, either mounted on a base or free standing in the garden. The glass seals the copper from oxidation and is it often strikes a copper red. The bond is extremely strong with only 1.5 " of copper encapsulated in the glass, surviving gale force winds here in New Mexico years after fusing. :idea: So I'm guessing the coe issue is trivial for what I do, at least. Another good trick is to place a layer of dychro next to the copper for a way to really dress it up. Check out Thompson-- also, a product called Scalex will completely stop scaling on exposed copper. Have fun!


Re: Fusing onto copper switch plates?

Postby KarynReott » Sat Jan 23, 2010 7:32 pm

Thanks John. Could you elaborate? You mention 3/4 inch pipe surrounded by copper. How thick in mm is the glass around the copper and how do you do that? What do you mean by 1.5 inches of copper surrounded by glass? Trying to picture what you mean. Thanks.


Re: Fusing onto copper switch plates?

Postby johnreeves » Sun Jan 24, 2010 3:26 pm

:roll: OK-- let me try to make it a bit crisper-- my fused sculpture-- totems-- have a copper sleeve incased in the bottom. This sleeve is a 3/4" copper pipe fitting into which 3/4 copper pipe is fitted when its time to mount the piece, either on a base or in the garden.

The sleeve is of 1.5" in length, 3/4 + " inside diameter.
It is fused into place by letting the base of the sculpture drape, and then fuse, around the sleeve, or draping and fusing about 1/2 " of clear onto the fitting and later fusing this to the sculpture. In either case, its prudent to roll up a plug of fiber paper and stick it into the fitting to prevent glass from covering the desired opening into which the standup pipe goes.

So the sleeve is encased in anywhere from .5 to .75 inches of a glass and responds fine to the new Bullseye
firing schedule for thick glass.

Sorry about the non-metric numbers, but you can extrapolate.
(You can view examples @ www.new mexico creates.com; then art glass/sculpture, john reeves)

Hope this is useful,


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