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Designing with Dichroic Glass

The top piece of dichroic is fused with coated side up; the bottom dichroic is coated side down.


Designing with Dichroic Glass

Reader Response: A multimeter left on a kiln lid; heating pizzas



The easiest way to enhance a glass fused design is to add dichroic. Fuse a small piece to earrings or a pendant, and you will hear admiring comments.

Dichroic glass has a shiny metallic coated side over a clear or opaque glass base. The type with an opaque glass base is fused with the coated side up. The type with the clear glass base can be fused with the coated side up or down.

When fused with the coated side up, the dichroic surface has a metallic sheen. With the coated side down, the same dichroic glass sparkles like diamonds and changes colors as you look at it from different angles. The base transparent glass on top magnifies the colors and makes them glisten. Sometimes you will see the colors of the rainbow.

As you assemble the glass pieces, it is easy to tell which side of dichroic is up when you know the trick: Look for the shadow at the edge of the glass. The coated side will have no shadow. With the uncoated base side up, the edges of the glass will cast a shadow onto the coating. Turn the glass so that the shadows move, and you will see them.

Dichroic glass is expensive. A small bag of scrap pieces is over $60. But you don’t need much. In fact, too much dichroic can overpower a design. Add a few shards of dichroic to a dark background for the full effect.

Test a sample piece before gluing a transparent-base dichroic into a design. The glue can discolor the coating.



Last week’s Kiln Pointer included an anecdote about a cell phone that had been placed on the lid of a kiln. David Coggins, a kiln technician in Queensland, Australia wrote, “Your item about the slightly melted phone reminded me of a similar tale.

“When I was repairing kilns, I looked after an Italian-made ceramic tile tunnel kiln at a large factory. The tiles were taken on a conveyor belt from one end through a pre-warming area, through the main chamber, then through a cooling area and out the other end. The main chamber had rows of elements above and below the conveyor.

“The conveyor rollers were special high quality stainless steel to withstand the chamber heat. They required replacement from time to time and were very expensive. At one time, a penny-pinching manager decided to use ordinary steel rollers instead. After a while, the plain steel rollers corroded through and broke, destroying a couple of elements and their supporting ceramic rods. My job was to make new elements, replace the elements and support rod, and fit a stainless steel roller.

“I had been called to repair the tile kiln. It was late in the day, I had a long drive home and was keen to get away, so I was glad to complete the job and head for home. When I got home, I realised that in my haste to leave, I had left my $500 Fluke digital multimeter behind, and that it was probably on top of the kiln! They usually turned the kiln on the previous night before a firing run to ensure that it was up to temperature. I hoped this was not going to happen that night. I couldn't call as they had gone home by then, so I had to wait impatiently until the next day.

“I called first thing, and of course they had switched the kiln on the previous night. They rescued my meter and said, ‘Oh, it's a bit warped.’ I rescued the meter, but of course it was useless. Another expensive lesson.”

Lise Brown of Nashville, Tennessee wrote, “If you place a pizza still in the cardboard box (this is crucial) on top of a kiln lid that's cooling down (of course!), it creates a perfect crust: still chewy but with a delightfully crispy bottom. It's even better than fresh, so we put fresh ones on it right away. Regular crusts work best, pan crusts benefit some, and thin crust doesn't matter much.

“Furthermore,” Lise added, “garlic-butter dip, soy sauce, salad dressing, and aprons accidentally toasted on the lids cause no harm and are no reason for panic, though they may leave unsightly spots and minor brief smells. But why do I suspect you already know some of this...?!”


Two nights ago I woke up at 1 a.m. to the sound of thunder crackling like shotgun blasts. The rain-pelted windows rattled, and the lightning cast momentary shadows in my room. I have always enjoyed thunderstorms.

I hope you have a great weekend.

Thank you,

With best wishes,

Arnold Howard Paragon Industries, L.P. – Better Designed Kilns 2011 South Town East Blvd. Mesquite, Texas 75149-1122 Voice: 972-288-7557 & 800-876-4328 / Fax: 972-222-0646 /

PRIVACY NOTICE: Under no circumstance do we share or sell your email address.

Copyright 2008, by Paragon Industries, L.P.

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