Thursday, January 20, 2011

The other side of Fiber Paper -Embossed Glass

I think most people know that fiber paper is used when fusing glass. It's used as a buffer between the glass and kiln shelves to prevent glass from sticking to shelves and air from being trapped under the glass and forming large pizza-crust type bubbles. In addition, the thicker fiber papers (1/16", 1/8", and 1/4") can also be used under Thinfire paper to give a smoother surface to the back of your glass projects if a kiln shelf is damaged. If you have rough kiln shelves and only use Thinfire paper, the back of the glass will show every imperfection in the shelf, whether it is glaze stuck to the shelf or craters left from pulling off glazed pottery that was stuck.

Basically fiber paper is just an afterthought to fused glass projects. A pretty boring product, right? Well, I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Fiber paper can also be used as a design element. Sounds crazy, I know. The truth is that there are several other uses for fiber paper besides a fusing surface. However, I'm only going to cover one now. You'll have to check back later for more.

So what I am going to show you is how to use fiber paper to make embossed glass. People of all ages can do this project. It's really very simple process that yields very cool results. You can use just one color of glass to make really cool pieces. I just kind of came up with a few project ideas on-the-fly. So once you see what I've done, let your imagination run wild and give it a shot.

Materials needed:
Transparent glass cut to the size of your project, two "blanks" for each project. You must use transparent glass to be able to see the embossed image.
Transparent or Opalescent Frit
1/8" thick Fiber Paper
Sharpie marker or pencil

In a nutshell, we are going to cut shapes out of fiberpaper,place it under the glass, and then fuse it to create an embossed look.

Because of the time of year, I did a Valentine's Day themed project with hearts, hearts and more hearts. The sky is the limit as to what you can up with. Christmas ornaments, Easter eggs, flowers, stars, etc are just a couple of examples. Basically, any shape you can cut out of paper will work. It can be a recognizable shape, or random shapes for texture.

I also did one with X's and O's from scrap paper I had left over after cutting out the hearts. So in a way, fiber paper is like glass, in that there is no waste.

Step 1:
Assuming the glass is already cut to the size you need it, draw a shape on the fiber paper that will fit within the dimensions of the glass. Or, if you don't need to draw it, just go ahead and cut the shape out.

Step 2:
Place the fiber paper shape under two layers of glass and set your kiln to Full Fuse.

Step 3:
Full Fuse the glass.

Step 4:
Soak the glass in water to help dissolve the paper. Then rinse off the glass and use a plastic bristled brush to remove any remaining paper.

Here is one I made with a heart with another heart cut out of the middle. This was made with two pieces of clear glass and a piece of fiber simple as can be.

This one is a heart in light purple glass

Here is the back so you can see the the detail of how it works:

This one had Frit glued to the top of the fiber paper

I used Millefiori around the heart on this one.

Using the scrap fiber paper I had left over after cutting out hearts, I cut a bunch of X's and O's.

It can be that simple; although, you can add other steps to further customize your project.
-Frit can be glued to the top of the fiber paper, but doesn't give the best results. If you decide to use Frit, use fine-textured.
-Use other design elements around the shape.
-Decorate the top of the glass

So there it is. I hope you have fun coming up with other projects that use this technique. Email any project or random glass questions to


  1. Really cool idea....I just started a kids fired arts after school class and this may just be our glass fused project idea for this month.

  2. hi, I tried fusing crushed bottle glass on kiln paper but the glass stuck to the kiln shelf. What did I do wrong??

    1. Hello Gill! Can you give me the details on how you set it up? What kind of fiber paper did you use? Did the glass get through the paper, or expand off the sides?