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How to use fused glass scraps: pot melts

Part of being a fused glass artist is dealing with the sheer amount of scrap glass that you accumulate. Every time you cut a piece of glass, chances are there is excess material that you don't use right away. I do try to recycle and reuse as much scraps in my pieces as possible, but I still feel like I have glass coming out of my ears!

Enter: the pot melt. The idea behind a pot melt is to fill an upper chamber with scraps of fusible glass, then melt it at a high temperature so the glass liquifies and drips from the upper chamber to either a mold or kiln shelf below. Some people have made their own pot melt molds using terra cotta flower pots, but I opted to purchase this mini single hole pot melt mold from Delphi.

Holding a white ceramic pot melt mold
Single hole mini pot melt mold from Delphi

Following the directions from Delphi, I coated the whole mold, inside and out, with ZYP Boron Nitride Mold Release. This allows the glass to flow through the mold without sticking. I applied two thin coats, allowing the first coat to dry for about five minutes before applying the second coat.

Now on the the fun part! I wanted to include a lot of clear glass in my first pot melt to hopefully give a ton of depth to the finished pieces. So I started with a layer of clear, then added tiny bits of bright opaque colors.

Fused glass pot melt mold being loaded with glass scrap
First layer of clear, starting to add some color

I kept working in this manner, layering clear scraps and small bits of color. I also added some clear iridescent glass to see if the iridescent coating would be visible in the pot melt.

Fused glass pot melt mold being filled with clear glass scrap and bits of bright opaque colors
More and more glass!

I also decided to incorporate some glass frit, as I had a mixture already made with similar colors. I wasn't sure how any of these colors would look together in a pot melt, but that's why we experiment!

A container of fusible glass fruit in white, turquoise, orange, blue and purple.
Glass frit

Here is the mold all filled and ready to go into the kiln. I was wary of using too much glass, as there was a note in Delphi's instructions to keep all glass within the bowl portion of the mold, otherwise you could risk glass running down the outside of the mold. Some of the clear scrap had sharpie on it, I was assuming it would burn off like in any other project.

Here is a view from the side, the glass was basically filled just up to the lip of the mold.

I definitely erred on the side of caution when filling the mold. Glass pouring out over the sides was something I really wanted to avoid.

The Results

After eagerly waiting for the kiln to cool, I have to say I was a bit disappointed with the end result, but I learned a ton and can't wait to experiment some more!

On the up side, the glass did not stick AT ALL to the mold thanks to the ZYP spray. I lifted the mold up and the round glass slab was left on the kiln shelf. I also learned that I can be more generous with the glass, the amount I used didn't fill the bottom chamber so I was left with an irregular shape instead of a circle.

Here is the result, held in front of a window so the details are visible. I'm surprised the color got so muddy as I only used clear and opaques, but the colors must mix any in a pot melt. Next time I think I will stick to one color, clear, and white.

A round glass slab with swirls of yellow and brown
Fused glass pot melt results

I do like the layered effect along the edges, and the the bubbles throughout are nice too. The back side is a little foggy because of the shelf paper, but that can be sanded out.

A close up of some of the details.

Overall I'm happy with this pot melt experiment and will take what I learned into my next attempt. There is never a lack of scrap glass to use, so I see many, many more pot melts in my future!


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