I receive a myriad of questions regarding the “pictures” on my fused glass artwork. This blog will explain how the pictures / decals are fused onto the surface of a pre-fired fused glass. I use several types of decals (including gold, color, black, white, sepia, etc.). In addition to the decals, some designs are etched on dichroic, painted on, and images, which will not be included in this blog. I will do a YouTube video on how I put the decals on my fused glass (pendants, earrings, poker guards, night-lights, etc).
Decals began in Europe in 1750’s. I obtain my decals from several different sources including; AAE, Glass Art Patterns, Ceramic stores, etc. Decals (including gold, color, black, white, etc) are pictures fused on the surface of the fused glass. If done properly the decals will not rub or scratch off the fused glass. Glass decals are water slide; which means, water is used to slide the decal off the backing and onto the fused glass. It is best not to rush adding decals to fused glass. I typically let them set overnight before they are fired in the kiln. Below are some of the different types of glass-fired decals.
1. Hi fire decals can be in colored, ceramic gold, and gold and white accent they are kiln fired in a range of 1225 to 1440 degrees Fahrenheit (F)
2. Low to Hi Fire: lead free black or white enamel fusible decals requires a firing range of 1140 to 1450 F
3. Low fire 22k gold ultra-luster fusible decals have a curing range of 1075 to 1250 F
4. AAE low fire glass enamel screen printed decals are from 1035 to 1095 F (1200 F for color or large)
AAE decals are glass enamel screen-printed decals made specifically for glass. AAE Glass includes white, black, and vibrant color decals. The AAE color enamel decals are opaque screen-printed for glass and can be used on black or white glass and anything in-between. Examples of AAE glass enamel screen printed decals are below.*One interesting thing to note about AAE decals is they are all AAE owned so the quality is high and consistent.
Glass Art Patterns (GAP) has several different types Low, Low to Hi, and Hi fire decals.
The lead free black or white enamel fusible decals are digitally printed verses screen-printed albeit; they add a variety of options and if fired correctly are very nice. GAP also has colored decals however, these decals are not opaque (like AAE’s) they must be on light or white glass. If these colored decals are fired onto darker colors the color will not show up very well.Some of my favorite decals from GAP are the gold and white accent decals, they work fabulously on dark glass. If fired properly the white is vibrant white and the gold is shiny! GAP also has low fire 22k gold, ultra luster fusible decals. GPA has various decals from various manufactures so they all vary in firing.
Ceramic Decals are available through ceramic shops. Like GAP colored decals Ceramic Decals are not necessarily opaque so they should be on a light background Again, Ceramic decals are digitally printed albeit ceramic decals provide a wider variety for fused glass and as long as the glass is kept light they turn out beautifully. Moreover, ceramic decals are larger for plates, decorations etc., again a myriad of possibilities.
Decals are fused to the surface of fused glass therefore before applying the decal either full fused (round) or fire polish (a more defined shape) the fused glass piece. For the most part, the last firing should be the decal (no matter which type of firing schedule is used).
Another cool note, if you see a fused glass pendant, etc on my site (Fused Elegance, Elegant Fused Glass by Karen, Etsy, or Artfire) and you think to yourself I love this pendant, but I do not like the decal or I wish there was a decal on the pendant, etc. Let me know and I may be able to either take a decal off & refire the piece without a decal or I can add a decal to a fused glass piece (pendant, key chain, etc) that does not have a decal for a minimum charge.