Hot Glass Painting

1st attempt at glass painting using Reusche best tracing black

1st attempt at glass painting using Reusche best tracing black

There are various methods of Glass Painting. The one that I recently started to study can be seen and read about in glorious detail at

This is not the semi permanent variety using glass paints that sit just on top of the glass this is the permanent variety that are fused in a kiln to the glass. The paints are often the same varieties (according to some) that are used in porcelain painting.

I brought some Reusche Best Tracing black glass paint and some Powdered Arabic gum from the local stained glass shop (Reading Stained Glass) (after reading a few books ) and just tried it.

An absolute failure, I will post pictures of the results later. suffice it to say that it’s not THAT simple:-) My first attempt just popped off the glass and resulted in hardly any trace lines visible. So then I started reading some more books and doing some research and then I found the Williams and Byrne Glass Painters methods… and now I am reading and practicing. I haven’t gone full in to what they say just because I only have a small amount of the paint and don’t want to ruin it… but already my later tests are getting better as you can see. But still not there yet. There is still some pop off of the paint. So I am also reading their firing schedule to compare it against mine… what am I still doing wrong… and yes just as they say it could still be that I am not starting with enough paint! But this stuff is not cheap at 12 pounds+vat for a very small jar! I need to be convinced that I am getting somewhere:-)

See above for my first attempt.

The painting is easy but keeping the paint on the glass during the firing tis the trick. I have been reading some really interesting information from one of the leading stained glass painters, in the UK.  You have to have a lot of patience especially if you want to paint and fire in just a single fire.

I went up to a studio near Scarborough and saw some experts at work but there wasn’t much sharing.

Most of the painters intend to fire well below full fuse temperatures which causes me a bit of  problem as I want o be able to full fuse flat items..

I started to look around further and found people using frit to paint with. Frit is crushed glass which is carefully controlled in size and cleanness. t comes in powder, fine, medium and coarse. As the size increases the air trapped between can change depending on long you use to let it escape. When air is trapped you get bubbles which reduces the transluscency. There is also a description of glass frit that describes it as being crushed glass mixed with ceramic paint. This is not what I am talking about. Until writing this article I did realise such a thing existed. The frit that I used and I think most use is actually ground already coloured glass such as you might get from suppliers of Bullseye glass frit for fusing.

Still there are some fantastic examples of around of people painting with frit.  One of the challenges iof using frit is keeping it in place. Yesterday I tried to persuade some frit to create stripes in a mould of a fish. Good job it was a mould! There are ways of making the lkeep together easier. There are a number of glues.the fish mould

pate de verre glue


alldays glue

are three that I have tried so far. I definitely haven’t perfected their use. I think one needs to work at any of their use! But I was so impressed by David Alcala that I did put a bit of money towards his second project.

a poor example of frit held n place with alldays glue

a poor example of frit held n place with alldays glue

As David says one can easily create paper like pieces out of mica powder. The challenge though is which powder to use. That came back to the paint tests that I was doing. Although the punching part worked well the colour aspect didn’t when I used Pearlex Blue and red. Eventually I found a reference that indicated that Pearlex colours have a max temp. Its high but not high enough to cope with the sort of full fuses that I was doing.

Hence the search for something that might.

Josephine from the US have colours that are quite good.

Most recently I have obtained a number of paints from Held of Harrogate.

They have a number of interesting paints. The best bit for me, a ‘colour’ addict is that the paints are available in small quantities and as such less expensive to test.

Held of Harrogate also have multiple ranges. The different ranges have different required and maximum temperatures. The required temperature is needed to reach a bonding and glossy temperature, and sometimes the colour wont appear fulfilled without it. The maximum temperature is the temperature beyond which colour starts to fade, and sometimes the colour disappears altogether.

There are other aspects though. Translucency, is the final colour opaque or translucent. One of the difficult things is that the translucent colours when on clear glass become very pale. Whereas against white say, they can look rather good. They have Glass colours these are generally lower temperature colours, they do disappear if you try and full fuse them at above 740deg C. But they aren’t always smooth until a little over 600.

There are opaque glass colours they don’t generally survive a high temperature either. Most will fire nicely at 600. The picture below shows 3 different glasses all fired to same temperature with their Gnumber. Clear, white and black fire differently so this test was to see that effect on the same set of colours.


Held Glass colours fired at 600deg C. On clear, white and black bullseye.

Held Glass colours fired at 600deg C. On clear, white and black bullseye.

The opaque porcelain colours I generally fire at low full fuse temperatures (740 – 780 C)between glass. But fire them on top of the glass and some, in particular the lead free ones do not fire smooth but stay rough. The other colours often seem to sink in to the glass. Pinks and Blues need the higher temperatures to appear, but these can be higher than I wanted to use. There are documents on their website that talk about some of these features.

One of the things I wanted to do was use interference colours to paint flowers on black. I made such a picture a long time ago on black gauze using interference acrylic colours. But the problems that I have hit are; the paint disappears (sink or just disappear not sure), the colour changes but the shine – mica – stays without colour, or the shine becomes dull, the colour becomes opaque like a white chalk. The irritating thing is that back when I first started I did a test piece on black that did work for a couple of colours, and I cant even repeat those.

my original test back in 2005 that I am trying to replicate

my original test back in 2005 that I am trying to replicate


There are another set of colours called lustres. These come as liquid rather than powders. Sometimes they come in glass form and sometimes need higher temperatures. There are colours and metallics.

In both low and high temperature ranges there are satins and sparkle colours. Some of the satins  still show shiny under glass as well as on top, but some don’t depending again on the temperature. I also think that the hold time is important. The satins and mica based powders come in different varieties, some have inbuilt bonding agents. The trick with these agents is that they have their own temperatures. So if you want to use them at a lower temperature then you have to use a lower binder. One of the things I have done is use a glass colour like a blue and then a dusting blue\twinkle on top.


fire at 600

fire at 600

And here various of the mica based colours are fired on white at 600 using 1B as a binder.


mica based colours fired at 600 using 1b binder

mica based colours fired at 600 using 1b binder

attempt to fire mica like Held fireworks example on clear that was previously fired at 740 fuse with 49c. A cadmium based paint. The idea was to stop the mica sinking.



attempt to fire mica like Held fireworks example on clear that was previously fired at 740 fuse with 49c. A cadmium based paint.

One final set of Held product are their transfers. I found that I could fire some of the lustre transfers on the surface of simple glass baubles at 600deg C.

Whilst doing a test with platinum lustre on various glass – supposed to be a paw print – the base glass was iridized. Irid tends to hold things up so would that stop the micas sinking at full fuse? Fuse done at 780 and held for 20mins.

Before image:


and after:


You can see in the result image the colour changes of both the micas and clarity of the of the base colour.



About alfeze1

Although computing has my way of life and has been for the past 30years or so my loves are; making things inc many arts and crafts, gardening, photography, birds and wildlife and the occasional bit of sport like skiing... or at least apres ski:-) We are also involved with the NWPG and the Kennet and Avon Canal Society and crew occasionally on the Rose of Hungerford. A canal boat that runs public trips to raise money for work on the Kennet & Avon Canal. In a few months I hope to leave behind computing, and devote myself to creation instead of just fixing. I will them start to publish on a more regular basis.
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