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How to Color Handblown Glass

Learn how to color handblown glass from glassblower Todd Hansen in this Howcast video.


Hello my name’s Todd Hansen we’re here at the Art of Fire Contemporary Glass Blowing Studio in Laytonsville, Maryland. We're at I’ve been a glass blower for about twelve years now, I’ve got several different lines of glasswork that I work on and I’ll be talking to you about glass blowing. Clear glass is really pretty but colored glass is nice to look at too. There are several ways to get color into blowing glasswork. The way that actual colored glass is made is to add minerals or elements to clear glass so when you hear the term cobalt blue, the manufacturer’s thrown cobalt into a vat of clear glass and has turned that glass blue. Copper ruby is just that, it’s copper that’s been thrown in and that makes the glass a really deep red. Cranberry glass, the pink glass is actually made from gold so depending on what you throw in, the concentrations that you add and maybe whatever element you might add as well you can get a pink or a transparent versions of different colored glass and one of the ways we color our glass when pouring into it is taking colored rods that someone else has made. We’ll take a chunk of glass and we’ll preheat it and then stick it on the tip of a blowing iron, that becomes the very first bubble that you’re working with that’s actually a bubble of color, we’ll take that and we’ll heat that piece of color up, we’ll blow into it just a little bit and trap the air with our finger and I’ve got a small bubble my piece of color now then what I’ll do is layer clear glass on top of that. With those layers of clear glass you can also pick up frit, which are the smaller crushed versions of colored glass to decorate the glass and also take threads and trails of glass and wrap that around the body piece too so you’ve got a little color on the inside, color on the outside and then depending on how you manipulate that you can decorate the piece even further.

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