I’ve been concentrating a lot on perfecting my ceramic pet coasters to get them ready for wholesale but recently I had time to play with slumping wine bottles. Pictured is my first success with a regular size amber green recycled wine bottle which I slumped into a cheese tray.
You can slump wine bottles without a mold. I haven’t tried this yet. To do so make certain you have plenty of kiln wash on your kiln shelf or use the special Bullseye thinfire shelf paper (my preference).
Or you can invest in a wine bottle mold which is what I did. Below is the picture of the mold I used for this wine bottle cheese tray. I purchased this from DelphiGlass.com
The mold helps give the bottle more contour and shape other than just flattened out which is what you get when you just put the bottle on a shelf. There are many different bottle molds to choose from.
You don’t want your glass to fuse to your shelf or your mold so that’s why you need to use the paper or the mold primer. I used Primo Primer on my mold, brushing on 3 layers (letting it dry between layers). It has a lavender hue when it is dry. There is no need to fire it before you place your bottle in it.
When preparing your glass, handle it as little as possible using a window spray to clean it from any finger prints. To remove the bottle label, I soak it in hot water for about 15-30 minutes. Then I use a sharp putty knife to scrape it off. Any residue usually comes off with an SOS pad and a little more scrubbing, although some labels can be stubborn.
Be aware that any bubbles that are in the glass bottle before you fire it will probably still show after firing.
With colored glass, if you don’t want the exposed part to have a dull hue (caused by devitrification), you can buy a special spray called Super Spray. It’s very strong smelling so it’s best to use a mask when applying it and good ventilation. Either spray or brush it on the side of the bottle that will be exposed (not the side that goes in the mold.) I used a small, flat brush.
Once the mold and bottle are prepared, I put the bottle in the mold and placed it in my kiln. I found a slumping schedule that works for me after trying one before that that didn’t work. It may differ with different kilns so don’t be afraid to experiment.
I prop my kiln open with a wedge until it reach 900 degrees and then close it. This helps fumes and gasses escape and helps with the process. Make sure you have ample soak times (holding) times included to help get rid of bubbles which can be a problem. If you still have bubbles play around with adding a longer soak time. You also want to make sure the kiln shelf is level as an unlevel shelf can cause bubble issues.
Wait until your kiln drops to 100 degrees or lower before opening so you don’t shock the glass which can cause cracks and breakage.
Once your bottle is slumped, if there are any sharp edges, smooth them out using a whetting stone or a Dremmil with a sanding attachment. Sand until smooth.
If you want to embellish your work you can. I wrapped 20 gauge copper wire around the neck of the bottle three times and then added a funky swirl as a separate piece. Then I added three glass beads. You can find this wine bottle tray and other handmade creations in my Serendipitini Etsy shop.
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