In Part 1 of my series on how I make Recycled Glass Wine Bottle Cheese Boards, we had just finished cleaning our wine bottles really, really, really well. What’s next? Well, first, as in any glass fusing project, you have to make sure your kiln shelf is primed. I use Hotline primer. I’ve tried both the Hot Fire and Primo variety. I haven’t made up my mind on which I like better. But I will say that the Primo primer is a lot easier to clean off the shelf. I usually get two bottle firings out of a primed shelf.
Before I put the bottles in the kiln, I put them on my work table and see if they want to roll. Unfortunately, glass wine bottles aren’t uniformly thick. I roll them to see where they stop rolling. Sometimes there are markings on the bottom of the bottle that helps me visually remember which side goes up. These can be a series of dots, or a quantity stamped into the glass. One more thing before I lay the bottle on the kiln shelf… You guessed it! I clean the bottle again. If the bottles have been sitting around, they collect dust. And having just rolled the bottle on my work table, I have to give it another quick clean. I use vinegar in a spray bottle with a lint-free dish towel. Then without getting any finger prints on the bottle I place it on my shelf. I also place a kiln post on the edge of the shelf as a precaution, just in case a bottle decides to roll.
And now for the firing schedule! You probably don’t want to hear this. I know I didn’t when I first started, but it is true. No one schedule works for every kiln, or even every bottle type. I read through all that I could find in books and on the internet about melting wine bottles. I tried all of the firing schedules I found. None of them worked well for me just as they were. I tweaked soak times, ramp rates, temperatures, and finally came up with my own schedule. Since it is nice to have a jumping off point though, here is the schedule I am currently using in my Paragon Pearl kiln.
The slow ramp up in segment 1 and 2 and the hold times are there to help minimize bubbles. Segments 4 and 5 are a conservative anneal schedule.
In Part 3, I will summarize some of my other findings and lessons learned in making wine bottle cheese boards.
Recycled Glass Cheese Boards – Part 1
Recycled Glass Cheese Boards – Part 3
27 thoughts on “Recycled Wine Bottle Cheese Board – Part 2”
Your info has been very helpful –I had lady come into my ceramic shop and ask–Do you melt wine bottles-Not having ever done this before I tried it. Well first I put to many bottles on the shelf -they rolled together and then off the shelf at the bottom /then they cracked / then I got some info from my ceramic supplier /then bought molds for slumping–bottles melted to molds //then later I found out they also needed kiln wash /also have the problem of kiln wash sticking to the bottles -but now I think I have it and your info has been very helpful —I do have a question –when do you put the hole in the bottle if you want to hang it ?-I’ll try anything once -lol–thanks
Wow! Sounds like quite an adventure. I hope you didn’t ruin your kiln floor! Make sure your kiln shelf is level. I also roll the bottles on a table to see where they naturally stop rolling than place them in the kiln that way and I always put a kiln post at the end of the shelf just in case they roll. If the bottles cracked, most likely they were heated or cooled too quickly. And yes, all molds need to be kiln washed. I also heat up new molds once before I use them.
If you want to hang your bottles, I would suggest including a piece of wire in the bottle neck before you fire them. Either a high temp wire or copper. I have seen them done with a U shape wire inserted into the neck. Personally, I’ve never done the wire, but if I did I would use a bit of glue to secure the wire – make sure the glue dries before firing. You’ll need to brush the wire when it comes out of the kiln to clean it up. I wouldn’t drill it. The bottles are pretty thick when they are done, and it would take some time and patience to drill through it successfully. Also, whenever I drill a hole into glass, I usually fire it again to smooth the edges of the hole and give it a more finished look.
Let me say, your work is nice. I was looking for some fused glass Ideas in the internet and I found your site then I found your Facebook page. your ideas are so creative and they show a great talent :).
Regards from a Kuwait Glass artist
Thank you for your kind words. The internet is so amazing. Connecting artists from all over the world.
I have a large whiskey bottle that although unmelted has depressed finger prints that would appear as though someone had grasped the bottle so hard the fingerprints were embossed into the bottle. Have you ever seen or heard of a method for doing this?
Interesting. I’ve not seen this. Unless this is a molded bottle that started out that way, I don’t know how you could apply just the right amount of heat to an empty bottle to form just finger prints on it and leave the rest of the bottle intact.
Thanks fur the swift reply Margot. No one else seems to know either, I will continue the quest, thank you.
A local nonprofit is looking at making these cheese boards as a fundraiser. Your site has been very helpful. They’d like to put a decorative label (with the nonprofit’s logo, etc) on the cheese tray. Have you done these? I’ve seen a few that look like the label is melted INSIDE the bottle – do you know how this is done? Have any hints/tips/tricks?
Thanks so much!
I have not done the ones with the label. From what I can tell, it looks like the labels are glued on to the bottom of the cheese board after they are flattened. Probably use something like modge podge to affix the label and then seal it. Not sure how that would hold up to washing though. Somedsy I will have to try it. But if I can’t put my cheese board in the dishwasher it is not happening! Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful. Let me know how it goes if you try it!
Hi Margot. Love your work! Where would you recommend I get a slump mold for the cheese trays? I haven’t been able to find one as of yet. Also, do you have a source for glass for the fusing? I have a ceramic kiln that isn’t heating as high as necessary for ceramics, so trying to breathe new life into it (and myself). I would like to try fusing and melting bottles, just not sure where to get supplies to get started.
Hi Darla! Thanks! To do the flat cheese boards, I don’t use a mold. I place them directly on a kiln shelf. The only thing you will need is a flat kiln shelf and kiln wash. If you want to make the dish shaped ones, you can buy molds from http://www.bluefiremolds.com or Slumpys to name just two. If you do a Google search on “fused glass supplies” you will get a list of online places that sell glass. I buy my glass locally so I don’t know how the online stores compare on prices. I use Spectrum System 96, but Bulleseye 90 has some beautiful glass. Just know that you can’t mix the two. If you haven’t already, look for the link on my blog to the Bullseye Online Education videos. The have some good information about fusing glass. Some are free. Some require a paid subscription. Worth every penny in my opinion. Good Luck!
Hi- I was just wondering if you have any ideas about washing the bottles after they are slumped as one I made cracked. Would you suggest only hand washing them?
I put mine in the dishwasher all the time. But two things… First, make sure you have a good anneal schedule – slow down and hold longer. The bottom of the bottle can be really thick. If it isn’t annealed properly it can break. I anneal at 1030 degrees F for 90 minutes and then 100 dph to 700. Also I always tell people not to put them on top of their stove where they will get direct heat. They can get too hot and break that way also.
I was recently given some 3 Litre wine bottles. I did them on the usual program, but a lot slower since it was so big, 250 intstead of 350, and a longer hold time. I got two huge bubbles side by side under the neck. IT looked like the neck closed while there was still air inside the bottle. Any recommendations?
I did a lot of experimenting trying to eliminate or reduce the bubble at the neck. My conclusion was that the shape of the bottle is the real culprit. A bottle with shoulders, like a cabernet, always produced a neck bubble. The bottles with sloped sides, like a pinot noir bottle was less likely to have large bubbles. I found that a longer soak time on the way up resulted in smaller bubbles but I got two bubbles side by side like you described. My theory is that the air gets stuck in the shoulders. Just a theory. If you find a solution, please come back and let us know.
Have a few bottles melted. Any tips on keeping color..ex..grey goose has most of white color left but all blue burned off..thanks so much. Cheryl
Cheryl, Wish I had some wonderful tip, but whether or not the color stays depends on what kind of paint it is. Some paints will burn off at lower temperatures. Use the lowest temperature you can for the least amount of time that you can.
I have a question, I have a mold that slump two bottles together, why does one bottle always crack inside while the other is fine?? Thank You for your help!
I have never tried that mold. Personally, I am leery of combining wine bottles because of the uncertainty of compatibility. But I do see people do it all the time. A few thoughts… Are you using two bottles that are the same or different? Different bottles could definitely have a different COE. If you are using two identical bottles, there is a better chance that they will be compatible. Does the crack happen as it’s heating up or cooling down? Whichever it is, slow down the ramp in that part of the schedule.
How would you reapply labels that you have removed onto bottles you have flattened?
I have never put the labels back on. I soak the bottles and the labels really aren’t salvageable. If you managed to save the label I suppose you could decoupage it on, but I’m not sure it would be food safe then.
I have tried to slump a few bottles but they have come out of the with a satin look – any advice on how to achieve the smooth glass bottle look?
Several things could be causing it. First, the bottles have to be very clean. Also, check your firing schedule. You don’t want to be in the devitrification zone too long. And, here is the bad news, sometimes you can’t help it. Some bottles are just more prone to devit than others. I have a 25% failure rate. There is a solution you can use on the bottles before firing that can help as well – Super Spray and Spray A are two. There are recipes for a homemade solution, but I have never had any luck with those.
Thank you for your response. I am very new to this art and new to using a kiln. Can you help me understand what the devitrification “zone” is? I have tried the Super Spray once and did not see much improvement. I will play with using it on a few more pieces. In the meantime, a better understanding of the devit zone in the fire schedule might be helpful. I used the firing schedule noted on Slumpy’s and Bisque Imports web site. I have a Paragon Janus 27 Kiln. Thanks again!
The devit zone is usually around 1300 degrees F. You want to move through that temperature to the process temperature as quickly as possible, and you don’t want to fire too hot for too long. Once I hit 1100 I fire as fast as possible to process temperature. In my kiln that is 1480 for 10 to 15 minutes. Then you want to cool as fast as possible to the anneal temperature. Do a google search on “Glass with a past” she has a lot of good information on her site about working with recycled glass.
Hi what does afap means? Do you just raise it to the maximum capacity of your machine’s RA?
Yes. AFAP – As Fast As Possible.