Glass fusers are fond of this little saying. But I am here to tell you that this is indeed not true! Turns out making frit is actually quite tedious.
Glass waste is always a byproduct of making any fused glass or stained glass piece. In an effort to recycle as much of this waste as I possibly can, I bought a frit maker.
The basic process of making frit involves putting scrap glass in a metal tube and then crushing it with another metal tube that has a blade like piece across the bottom. The slightly smaller crushing tube is placed inside the first and then you pound away. After pounding the frit is put into a set of nesting sifters that sort the frit by size. A strong magnet is placed in the glass and moved around to pick up any metal pieces that may have come off of the tube during the pounding.
Here is what I learned.
You can’t overfill the tube. This means it takes more time to make frit than you would think.
Crushing glass is a dusty process. A respirator and googles are a must. I placed a towel over the handle of the frit maker to keep the dust down.
It’s not fun… just sayin.
My conclusion is that I am not about to go making jars of frit from leftover glass. I have a variety of frit that I bought in jars. If I need a color that I don’t have and just need a small amount, I might do this. Maybe. Probably not. This could be something productive to do if there is an electrical outage.
I did get some good results on my clear scraps and was able to make a nice recycled glass bowl. Next time I think I will try putting the scrap in an old pillow case and just hit it with a hammer to see what results I get. I also remember seeing something online once about retrofitting an old garbage disposal to make frit. Maybe I need to look into that too!?
If you have had good results with a frit maker, please share.
11 thoughts on “Frit Happens!”
Is this where the phrase “Frit away your time” comes from?? Nice dish, though!
I bought one, it was useless! I put scraps inside heavy duty, clear polythene and smash it with a ball hammer. You can see what you’re hitting because it’s transparent, and it keeps the dust down. I sieve it with 3 grades of bonsai sieves and store. Have a good batch of heavy duty poly bags though, they don’t last long!
I had to google bonsai sieves. What a great idea! The bigger surface area is more practical too.
Hi Margot. I purchased a food mill to make frit. Bonnie Doon sells them at their website. I found mine on amazon. The food mill has no problem making frit And Powder In under 5 seconds. Truly. While this can help make frit in a color Bullseye doesn’t make frit in, this will easily crush and pulverize easily. The powder is achieved in under 4-5 seconds.
Thank you for all of your great posts. Nice learning of glass artist here in north Houston.
Have a blessed, safe day.
You are welcome. Wish I could keep up with the blog more.
After I’ve washed my scraps I heat it up in my kiln to about 500 degrees celcius. And straight away I pour it intp very cold water. After that It’s easy to smash with a hammer between to sheets of thick paper.
I am not sure I am brave enough to do that. How do you get the hot scraps out of the kiln into the water without burning yourself?
I smash mine with a hammer wrapped in the paper that my glass comes wrapped in or divided with. I make powder in a coffee grinder. That is easy but very dusty so have to wear a respirator. The blades are stainless steel so even though I go through it with a magnet I am not sure any metal fragments would be attracted. Haven’t had a metal inclusion issue yet though. I do this when I don’t have a color I need or run out, but it is kind of a pain. I can get exactly the sizes I want though. Good to do when I am lacking creativity or need to vent frustration.
Smashing glass with a hammer is definitely therapeutic. 😉
coffee grinders work well-buy them at a thrift store because they don’t last long.