Modeling Glass Tips and Tricks
Every month I'll be writing about how to use Modeling Glass in your work, and hopefully answering some questions that will help you get the results you want. There's always a learning curve with a new product, and there are considerations working with frit and powder that you don't have when firing sheet glass. There is a full set of FAQs on the Modeling Glass website at You can also find back issues of all my e-newsletters there!
In the February issue I showed a photo of some Modeling Glass pieces that had been treated with a red/white/blue craquelure texture effect using powdered enamels and a technique taught through a video produced by Glass Emotions in Ottawa by the wonderful artist Eva Lazar. Here is a photo of the finished piece. Titled "Corvid 19," this bas-relief panel is my expression of the pervasive sadness of the pandemic and how it has affected the United States and the world. With a nod to the Pacific Coast myth of the Raven who stole the sun, this bird holds a coronavirus in its beak; hopefully he will take it away, never to be seen again. The craquelure pieces are what form the number 19. I used high-temperature wire to create the spikes of the coronavirus ball. You can't see them well in this shot, but the raven has three fused glass teardrops below his eye.

18” x 21” x 1”, 2021. Hand-sculpted fused glass mounted on punched brushed metal panel
Hello fellow fusers, and Happy Spring!
At right is a Modeling Glass poppy, built on a single layer of clear, about 4" x 6".

This is a combined March/April issue because March simply got away from me. I attribute this to being super busy, as plans to relocate Glass Bird Studios are afoot! I'm delighted and stretched thin at the same time. So please bear with me as I navigate some big changes that will mean more time in the studio and additional positive developments for Modeling Glass in terms of my creative output and teaching.

I'm going to share some of the great questions I receive from artists who are working with Modeling Glass. I hope these will help answer some questions you may have; I always welcome questions, even though I don't always have answers. It's exciting to help fusers accomplish their goals with Modeling Glass, or to explain why what they want to do might be a challenge.

Please contact me if you have questions of your own, but first take a look at the FAQs on the Modeling Glass website to see if the information is already there. You can also find deeper dives into some topics in back issues of the Enews, or you can order my ebook, Exploring Modeling Glass, which has a ton of great detailed info and projects for working with Modeling Glass.

QUESTION: Hi Lois, I am trying out the Modeling Glass, I love it, but still need some practice getting the right consistency, I think I need to mix a little more as mine is quite sticky, I am carefully measuring correctly but it still sticks to my fingers. My question is in regards to transparent glass, I have not tried it yet and only see reference to opal, can you use transparent?

ANSWER: Thanks for your note. I'm sorry to hear you didn't get a perfect result on the MG texture. If it's still sticky, you might try letting it sit out for a couple of hours and knead it periodically. It's really important to combine the ingredients in the order described in the instructions, and don't add the liquid medium before you have mixed the water and binder into the glass. If it still is sticky, sometimes more water helps, but usually it's because the mixture is too damp. It takes a while to get the hang of a perfect batch.

As for opal vs. transparent, you can definitely use transparent colors, but the result will always be somewhat opaque due to trapped microbubbles that occur in any powder-based approach. I use opals because of the nice intensity of colors. A very pale tint of transparent will appear somewhat greyish, until it is fired to full-fuse. At that point all colors will fire true...but you will still have tiny bubbles.

QUESTION: Can you make a 3 D sculpture with modeling glass like you can with regular clay or will it melt down in the kiln and not retain its shape?

ANSWER: The answer is yes and no. I have done 3-d forms, and when you keep them to a tack fuse and they are mostly flat (bas-relief basically), they retain their shape beautifully. If you are thinking about a 3-d shape that is mostly vertical, or is thin, you will have sagging unless you support the piece during firing with some kind of form. Modeling Glass does not have the clay stiffeners and will not hold its shape the way ceramic clay does. You might make a few small test shapes and fire them to get an idea of what you can and can't achieve.
2021 Education Opportunities
2021 workshops are looking doubtful. Please consider purchasing my ebook Exploring Modeling Glass or check out one of the two videos I produced with AAE Glass here. One features making feathers, and the other shows how to make the Autumn mask shown on the left.
I hope to start another ebook and create small project videos this year, so stay tuned!
Modeling Glass
This product was developed by Lois Manno of Glass Bird Studios. It is a two-part system made of a powdered binder and liquid medium that, mixed with frit or powders along with a little water, turns the powder into a material that can be sculpted like clay. It is featured in the workshops she teaches.
Want to purchase Modeling Glass? A list of retailers is available on the website. The list keeps growing, so check back. Ask your glass retailer to add Modeling Glass to their stock if they don't have it!


Ask your glass fusing retail supplier to purchase refill sizes of Powdered Binder and Liquid Medium.
Dear glass artist: you're receiving this message because you have expressed interest in Modeling Glass or Glass Bird Studios. If you would like to continue receiving occasional emails about Modeling glass, workshops, and user tips, there is no action for you to take. If you wish to unsubscribe from the list, you can do so at the bottom of this message. Thanks for your interest in Modeling Glass!
Glass Bird Studios | Website Modeling Glass | Website