Microwave kilns have been garnering some attention for a good while now.  People use them as an alternative to the more expensive electric kilns. One enthusiast is Vivienne Wagner over at The V Spot blog.

The Great and Powerful Oz Pendant with a Recycled Bottle Glass Charm
She shared her recycled bottle glass charm tutorial  for her Great and Powerful Oz movie inspired necklace AND raved about how much she liked her microwave kiln.   She broke up a wine bottle to get pieces of glass to melt in the kiln.  The sacrifices crafters and bloggers must make!  She  had to drink up the contents first!  The melting rounds the cut edges.

The microwave kiln is definitely easy to use for fusing bits of glass together in just a few minutes.  The basic steps are covered here in this short video on how to fuse glass together using the same Fuseworks model Vivienne has.

What the above video didn't cover were the additional safety considerations besides the obvious ones about gloves and the special heat proof surface to place the hot kiln.  Here are a few more :

  • The special paper you put the glass pieces on to prevent the glass from sticking to the kiln, disintegrates after firing.  Inhaling the dust residue is not a good thing so you should be wearing a mask during disposal
  • The vent hole in the kiln releases a lot of heat so there should be sufficient clearance between the kiln and the top of the microwave oven
  • Firing different materials including that paper leaves residues inside the microwave so a dedicated non-food microwave oven is recommended although some people are quite okay about cleaning out the kitchen one after each firing.

This video from Pearsons Glass shows the different sizes you can get with the estimated times you need to fire each.  The instructor also goes over more tips on how to fire an easy dichroic glass pendant.

The key to successful firing is experimentation.  Microwave ovens themselves vary in wattage.  Different glass (and some types of metal clay) also require different firing times.  So you have to test with say 50%, then 100%,  one layer of glass etc and make notes on how long it took to get what effects.

The variability is why many experienced artisans recommend electric kilns which have temperature controls  - these help take the guess work out of fusing. But electric kilns do cost more.

Please do read more about microwave ovens if you are keen to own one. A couple of suggested resources :

If you have time, watch The FrugalCrafter's demonstration on how she made this pendant and earring set from just a few snips of glass shards.  The video is delightfully spiced with her sense of humor!

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