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How to Make Powdered Glass (Frit)

Another way to reuse glass is to make stringers (glass rods the size of a pencil lead).


How to Make Powdered Glass (Frit)

Announcement: Ray Shirley of New Zealand Passes Away

Reader Response: Tornadoes

Recent Q&As: slumping wine bottles; removing kiln wash from glass; connecting the controller to a computer

Another tornado in Dallas


Along the way to becoming a great glass fusing artist, you will make pieces that you consider throwaway scraps. But no matter how disappointing the results, don’t throw anything away. Every glass piece can be turned into frit (powdered glass) and used again as part of a new piece. A large cracked or bubbled plate can yield $20 worth of frit.

Remember to sort frit by the coefficient of expansion (COE) rating of the glass. Otherwise the new pieces that you make may crack after the firing. The easiest solution is to use only glass with the same COE.

How to make frit:

1) Judith Levinson of Rockville, Maryland places her glass in newspaper and a plastic bag. Then she and her husband take the glass to the nearest road construction site. “Please run over this,” she tells the steamroller operator. The road crew looks at her inquisitively. Some shake their heads and smile, but the steamroller operators always run over the glass. Judith then sorts the frit into different grades with sifters.

2) Cut dichroic glass over a large piece of paper. After making a number of cuts, you will find tiny shards of dichroic. Never discard these, because even the smallest dichroic particle glitters when fused onto a contrasting base color of glass. Fold the paper in half and pour the dichroic pieces into a jar.


Ray Shirley of Laville Studio in Morrinsville, New Zealand passed away two nights ago from a heart attack. For some time he had suffered from two broken hips and a gall bladder removal.

Ray had been a loyal Paragon distributor for many years and was known by ceramists throughout New Zealand as a man of integrity. He stood behind every Paragon kiln he sold.

At age 14 or 15, Ray joined the New Zealand Army and saw combat at Tarawa during World War II. He told me a little about his unforgettable experiences there.

I admired his loyalty, hard work, humor, and wisdom. We will miss him.


Teri Trice is Paragon’s new customer service manager. She brings a wealth of customer service experience to Paragon. Teri, welcome to Paragon. Email Teri

READER RESPONSE Carol Gross of Beaverton, Oregon wrote, “You don't know me, and it's not really important that you do. I just wanted to say that I'm glad the tornado didn't harm you. I was in Americus, Georgia, in March with the Red Cross after a tornado went through. It's not the first time I've seen the damage a tornado can do, but it reinforced in me the power of nature. Living in Oregon, we have a lot of rain and some flooding, but we can get out of the way (and Mt. St. Helens only blows once in a while!). I can't imagine what it must be like to huddle together in a bathroom hoping the funnel will pass over.”

Thanks, Carol.

Two nights ago winds of about 50 mph hit Mesquite, Texas. The power went off at my house as the sky darkened and the wind bent trees in the front yard. I opened my north-facing front door and watched the storm with complete protection from the rain, because it blew in from the south. In very high winds, the rain becomes a swirling mist.

When the power came back on, the television news showed a funnel cloud sighted near Dallas. But it never touched down.


Q. When I'm slumping glass into a mold such as the wine bottle slumper, do I need the kiln shelf under the mold, or can I set the mold directly on stilts?

A. I recommend the shelf under the mold to protect the kiln from melted glass. If there is no danger from melted glass, you could eliminate the shelf. The mold should be separated from the shelf with short posts or stilts.

Q. What is the easiest way to remove kiln wash from molds and shelves? I have tried scraping with and without water, and it is very time consuming.

A. Is it necessary for you to fire to a full fuse, or have you overfired the glass slightly? The lower the temperature, the easier it is to remove the kiln wash.

You could change brands of kiln wash. Some are easier to remove than others. Also, some glasses hardly stick to kiln wash. You might try changing to a different brand of glass. I’ve seen glass that did not stick to kiln wash at even 1700 degrees F.

Q. I am interested in the computer interface for the Sentry 2.0 controller, but my laptop doesn't have the RS232 port. Is it possible to use a USB port to connect the controller to a laptop?

A. If your computer has only a USB port, you can connect to the controller with a USB-to-RS232 adapter. The adapter connects externally to the laptop USB port.

Thank you,

With best wishes,

Arnold Howard

Paragon Industries, L.P. – Better Designed Kilns

2011 South Town East Blvd., Mesquite, TX 75149-1122

Voice: 972-288-7557 & 800-876-4328 / Fax: 972-222-0646 /

Feel free to email this Kiln Pointer to friends. To read back issues Click here or go to, select “Support,” and then “Kiln Pointers” from the drop menu.

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Copyright 2007, by Paragon Industries, L.P.

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