I recommend using a pistol grip
glasscutter that has a small reservoir to hold cutting oil. Apply firm
pressure when scoring the glass. It
is advisable to practice cutting on
scrap glass. Stand up when scoring
the glass, and apply even pressure
while making one stroke on the
You will hear the cutter making
a scratching noise as you etch your
line into the surface of the glass. If
you see little flakes of glass in your
scored line, then you are pressing
too hard. Only score the line once
and never go over the line twice.
Wear gloves when snapping the
glass along the score line. You may
want to tap along the opposite side
of the score line prior to breaking.
Hold the glass with two hands and
apply firm pressure to snap the glass
into two pieces. It is helpful to cut
on newspaper; when finished, simply wad up the paper and throw it
Working with glass requires
practice, patience and sometimes a
little luck, especially when combining glass of unknown coefficients of
expansion. Information on this can
be found on the Web sites listed at
the end of this article.
Students placing the assembled glass pieces into the kiln.
ties in Glass Art” (Jeanine Smith,
SchoolArts, December 2004), or
visit the Web sites listed at the end
of this article.
Firing schedules and results for
different firing temperatures vary,
and experimentation is necessary
to discover what temperature range
suits your kiln. This unpredictability can lead to happy accidents.
Mistakes can be refired or recycled
into other glass projects. Remember
that persistence, patience, and practice will produce exciting results.
Materials and Resources
• kiln wash—ceramic or Hotline shelf primer made specifically for glass work
• glass cutter-pistol grip
• glass nippers
• safety gloves
• safety goggles
• glass-float (window glass),
fusing glass or stained glass
Firing the Kiln
I follow the same guidelines when
firing ceramics or glass, and I have
had good results. I do not ramp kiln
settings or flash cool the kiln. If you
have made a considerable investment in glass materials, I suggest
that you read Contemporary Warm
Glass by Brad Walker (Four Corners
Intl. Inc., 2000), “Infinite Possibili-
A Note on Safety
Fiber paper has special safety precautions associated with it, and
children and adults should never
be exposed to the particles that can
become airborne after firing.
Safety precautions also need to
be observed during the fusing process. I have students wear small
rubber gloves that I get from our
school nurse or cotton gloves when
handling glass. When cutting glass,
students should wear gloves and
safety goggles. My younger students
are allowed to use tile nippers to
cut small tiles from a longer three
quarter-inch-wide strip of glass.
Upper elementary students can
score and snap larger glass pieces,
but I recommend one-on-one supervision.
Heather White is an art teacher at E.P.
Rayzor Elementary School in Denton,
Students select media, techniques,
and processes; analyze what makes
them effective or not effective in
communicating ideas; and reflect
upon the effectiveness of their