Can you Fuse Glass at home??

Can you Fuse Glass at home??

Glass Fusing at Home: Essential Tips and Techniques

Crafting with fused glass at home offers an exciting hobby for beginners to delve into or even establish a small business. The versatility of this art form allows for the creation of various items like jewelry, plates, coasters, ornaments or other decorative art pieces, all from the comfort of your own space.

Exploring the realm of fused glass allows you to experiment with different approaches. It allows you to choose whether you prefer a smooth, contoured or  flat finish. It also allows you to incorporate textures, shapes, colors, or to add embellishments using precuts, glass frit, powders, noodles, stringers, vitrograph, or murrini. The creative possibilities and the number of techniques to learn is endless. To learn one of the techniques we teach, read about it here

Fused Glass from the home studio of Kirsten Burkett

Understanding Glass Fusing:

Glass fusing, whether conducted at home or in a more commercial setting, revolves around a fundamental principle – heating two or more pieces of glass in a kiln until they melt together into one piece. This process requires high temperatures ranging from 1400F/760C to 1500F/815C, depending on the desired outcome. Higher temperatures yield smoother finishes, known as 'full fuses.' Lower temperatures can be used for forming or slumping glass into a form. These temperatures range from 1200F/650C. This can be done in a glass kiln purchased for personal use. At Fuse Muse Fused Glass, we have 3 kilns, all from Paragon Kilns, a leading kiln manufacturer for glass fusers, ceramicists, knife makers and more. 

Preparation Steps:

Before embarking on your glass fusing journey, it's essential to select the right type of glass that can withstand the intense heat of the kiln without compromising its integrity. Fused glass, is a chemically formulated glass, that looks and feels exactly like stained glass. Specialized fusible glass, with a recommended thickness of 1/8 inch (3mm), is ideal for this purpose. When two pieces of fused glass are heated in a kiln to become one piece they automatically become 1/4" in thickness.

Ensuring compatibility among glass pieces is also crucial for a successful fusion. There are 2 main COE's of glass used in glass fusing. COE stands for Coefficient of Expansion and is a number used to describe the temperature that glass molecules change fusing states. For example, the molecules of a specific COE of glass will cool (anneal) or crystallize at a specific temperature. So if you fuse two pieces of glass they must have them same COE or they will crystallize at different temperatures and eventually (or immediately) crack. 

Tools used in Glass Fusing. Grozier pliers, breaking pliers, a glass cutter and safety glasses.

Equipment and Materials:

Equip yourself with the necessary tools and materials for your project, including fusible glass, a pattern, glass cutter, grozing pliers, glass cleaner, safety glasses, and a glass fusing kiln (preferably with a digital controller).

Further Reading: What do I need to start glass fusing?

Where is the best place to fuse Glass:

Many fused glass artists have home studios. This is because as you delve into this hobby, you can afford to buy the equipment needed and bring it home with you. When you are setting up your studio you should consider a few things. 


You will need space to store your glass and to work on it. This means storage racks and a countertop or table. You must also have a place to put your kiln and it must be 12" from any other item in your room or from the walls. 


Aside from safety glasses and close-toed shoes you will need appropriate flooring. A carpet is likely to grab stray pieces of glass and may be difficult to vacuum. Linoleum, wood flooring or cement is the best flooring for any glass studio. 

Other users:

Do you have small children or pets? This is a no go zone for both. Children and pets can get glass shards in their feet or toe beans (see cats and dogs). 

Light Sources:

The ultimate glass studio would have sky lights and windows everywhere. Alas, not many of us would be able to afford such amazing spaces. None the less, a window to view your glass against the sunshine that is flowing into the room is lovely. A bright light is a must though just for working purposes. You will need adequate lighting so that you can see what you are cutting and ultimately building. 

Fused glass made from many colors of frit with a screen print on top

Step-by-Step Guide to Glass Fusing:


Begin by sketching your desired pattern for a finished project, keeping simplicity in mind for easier glass cutting. It is ideal to have a finished project in mind before starting to cut your glass. Start with a basic design, of straight pieces of glass. Maybe add some frit on top. This is an experimental process to start. Once you have figured out what the glass is going to do, you can make your designs more complex. 

Cutting and Cleaning:

Exercise patience when cutting glass to avoid heartbreak. Cutting glass is a skill that takes time and practice to master. Mark and cut your glass pieces according to your pattern, then meticulously clean each piece to remove any oils or fingerprints. The simplest cleaning fluid for removing oils and other dirt from glass is a simple water and vinegar mix. Put it in an old spray bottle and you are set. 

Loading the Kiln:

Carefully position your glass project inside the kiln, ensuring it rests on ceramic fiber paper or a kiln shelf treated with kiln wash to prevent sticking.

A large bathtub glass fusing kiln with a digital controller.

Kiln Firing Schedule:

Follow a prescribed firing schedule tailored to your project's dimensions and desired outcome, gradually ramping up the temperature, holding it at specific points, and cooling it down gradually to avoid thermal shock. Hold your glass at the specific annealing point (as determined by your glass COE). Some kilns have schedules programmed into them for the beginner. This can be a good place to start. The manufacturer of your specific glass is the best place to find a schedule. Over time, you will adjust your schedules according to your kiln. Every kiln fires differently and you may find your fires hot or has spots that fire cooler/hotter than others. 

Opening and Cleaning:

Exercise patience before opening the kiln, allowing the piece to cool to room temperature to prevent cracking. This is especially important. Many have opened their kiln prematurely only to have their glass crack once in the cooler air in the room. Thoroughly clean your fused glass creation once it's cool.

Safety Measures and Tips:

Always wear safety glasses and closed-toed shoes. Safety is an important part of glass fusing and these measures will keep your hobby a safe and enjoyable practice. 

Glass Fusing FAQ's and Tips


Glass fusing at home is safe with the right setup, including a kiln, heat-resistant gloves, eyewear, and adequate ventilation.

Safety first sign for Fusing Glass

Glass Selection:

Opt for COE-compatible glass renowned for its uniform expansion properties to prevent breakage. Oceanside Glass (COE 96) or Bullseye Glass (COE 90) are both reputable fused glass manufacturers. Most beginning fuser's will choose one or the other. This will stop you from heartbreak if you mixed up two different COE of glass. 

Kiln Size:

For the typical home fuser a small kiln is best to start with. You can get a small microwave kiln, but you will have trouble dialing in your fusing schedule to get what you hope. A small kiln, with a digital controller is good for beginner's that only want to make jewelry or very small dishes. This one would have an inside measurement of 8" x 8". A larger kiln that has room for multiple projects or ones that are bit larger would be one with an inside measurement of 14" x 14" or 16" x 16". Kilns though, are one of the most expensive part of this hobby. Every glass fuser who is hooked will always want a larger kiln. The larger the kiln, the more power it will need as well. The best advice I can give is to get the largest one you can afford. 

Fusing Time:

Fusing glass typically takes 8 to 18 hours, depending on factors like size, thickness, and kiln characteristics. A common sentiment among glass fusers is "low and slow". This basically means don't take your temperature too high and make sure your schedule is slow or long. Annealing glass takes time and unfortunately can't be rushed. 

Improving Skills:

Hone your skills through practice, exploration, and learning from experienced artists. Consider joining classes or workshops for hands-on experience and community support. There are so many classes that one can take, in person or online now, that you can learn almost any technique related to glass fusing. 

A greenman that was screen printed onto Fused Glass

Glass fusing opens up a world of creative possibilities limited only by your imagination. With dedication and perseverance, you'll unlock the full potential of this captivating art form, turning simple pieces of glass into stunning works of art.

Additional Resources:

Screen printing: A growing technique for putting Images on Glass

Fused Glass Christmas Ornaments

The Glass Craft and Bead Expo: What you need to know

How to Remove tabs from Precuts

Fused Glass Ideas for Beginners 


A biography of Lisa Martin - Glass Fusing Artist


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