I have noticed that there are a lot of people who like to use frit in their lampworking projects and custom frit blends have been really popular for a long time.  If you are one of these folks that like to use frit in their hot glass projects but would like to try some unusual frit or personal blends, there is a simple way to make small amount of frit for your own personal use.

Short bicone bead with fine Triton frit.

The things you need for Making Your Own Custom Frit :

  • Torch
  • Pair of lampworking glasses
  • Pair of big mashers
  • Jar of cold water
  • Small fine wire strainer
  • Good size slab of graphite (optional but nice to have)
  • Hammer
  • Some really thick brown paper or thin cardboard
  • Dust mask (always a good thing to have on hand)

 

This whole process is really neat because you can take glass rods that you really like the color of, but there is no frit available and you can make your own in no time.

Make sure before you start that you have really cold water ready at your work area.  Take a rod of the glass color you want to make frit out of and heat it in your torch until you have as big a ball of hot glass on the end of the rod that you can handle ( it is different for everyone).  Take your mashers and flatten the ball to make a paddle and then return the paddle to the flame to totally reheat it but not melt it, this gets the paddle ready for the next part of the process.

Heating large ball of glass to make a paddle.

Mashing heated glass ball to make paddle.

Take your red hot paddle over to your ice cold water and plunge the paddle into the water, making sure that you have glasses on in case the water splatters a little.  It seems too simple, but the plunging process fills the paddle with tiny fractures that cause the paddle to turn to frit.

Once you have made enough paddles to make the amount of frit you want, the next thing you do is take your strainer ( never reuse the strainer for food after this process, it should be for glass work only – find them at the thrift shop) and pour the water into another container.  Some people like to use coffee cans for this process, but they do rust after a while.

Reheating glass paddle, notice how floppy it gets and needs to be flipped back and forth.

Plunging hot glass paddle into cold water.

Let the frit drain for a little while to get most of the water off of it.  I take a graphite pad and I dump the frit on to the pad (wear your dust mask when you do this, even though the glass is wet) and spread it out as thin as you can.  At this point you can either place it in the sun (if you actually have warm sun) or you can place the graphite pad on top of your kiln and use the heat the kiln gives off to dry the frit.  Since I live in the Pacific Northwest, the kiln drying method is the one I use most.

After your frit is dry, you can use it as is or you can put it between two pieces of heavy paper (I save really heavy brown shipping paper or thin brown cardboard for projects like this) and lightly hit it with a hammer (wear your dusk mask for this process also).  You don’t have to go crazy with the hammer because the glass is already filled with tiny fractures and will break down to smaller pieces fairly easily. I typically save portions of the frit from each phase of the hammering, so that I have an assortment of frit sizes to use.

Chilled paddle explodes into water and makes frit.

Frit drying on graphite pad on top of kiln.

All you have to do now Making Your Own Custom Frit is label and store any frit you don’t use immediately.

Red brown tabular bead with fine Triton frit.

Go to www.FrantzArtGlass.com for your lampworking needs