DIY To the Rescue: How to Make a Frit Piston

As a self-described cheap glass artisan who lives in rural Maine,

finding or making the tools I need myself (rather than buying them online and having them shipped) is a must. As a total beginner, I found that making frit with my scrap glass was actually messier and more dangerous than I had originally suspected. Hammering away on my back deck proved to be a situation which resulted in wasted scrap glass...and tons of cuts.

I finally admitted finding a proper tool to make my own frit was a necessity (to my deck AND my hands) - but $50 (plus shipping) for a Frit Piston was just not in my budget. So I took an hour to roam the Home Depot (which, yes, even in rural Maine you will find one) for ideas on how to hack my own solution.

What I came up with, after wandering the isles for an hour and confusing the bejesus out of the HD employees, was a frit maker that was within my budget, easy to clean, easy to transport (albeit a smidge bulky) and perfect for the job...and all available in the plumber's isle.

What you need is very simple:

(1) 8" Galvanized Steel Pipe (Nipple) with a 2" diameter opening and a 2" cap to thread onto the end

(1) 12" Galvanized Steel Pipe (Nipple) with a 1" diameter opening and a 1" cap to thread onto the end

Thread on the caps to the correct pieces and insert the plunger pipe into the piston pipe and viola. Frit Maker! Cost to make said Frit Maker...a whopping $23.

I wish I could say it was more complicated...but the general principle is to create a piston in which to put the glass, and a plunger type devise to crush it, while keeping the glass from flying all over.

You will need to sift the frit to separate out the dust and very fine glass particles, but, save it! Ive found that the powder works well as a counter enamel if used on the backs of your enameled pieces.

For the sifter, I found that a simple cheap small strainer from a likewise big box store (or grocery store cooking isle) was perfect for me. You can also use Delphi's mesh frit strainers if you are looking for very specific glass chunk sizes - for me...small to medium size does what I need it to.

As you can see, frit mixed into various combinations and stored (I usually store all my frit in Ball Jars) can make for a very nice and easy batch of sun catchers.

Don't have time to make your own Frit Piston? See Delphi's full selection of frit in various sizes.

The views, opinions, positions or strategies expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, positions or strategies of Delphi Glass. Delphi Glass makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. Delphi Glass reserves the right to delete, edit, or alter in any manner it sees fit blog entries or comments that it, in its sole discretion, deems to be unacceptable.

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Mellisa S.  •  May 08, 2021
Excellent tip. Thank you for sharing
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Tracy P.  •  April 25, 2021
God Bless You...I have very small budget and this is a great idea.....Thanks.
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JJ M.  •  March 06, 2019
I made one, but found a "T" joint to thread onto the top as a makeshift handle. Tried my frit maker for the first time last night and it worked like a dream!
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Richard O.  •  June 24, 2017
I teach a glass fusion class and the students do make a mess using the hammer and steel plate. Will do some shopping at HD
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Holly A.  •  February 28, 2015
Excellent idea! Thanks for the tip.
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Byron M.  •  January 18, 2014
Just a thought but, if you put a nipple on both ends of the piston handle, that would save your hand from being cut by the pipe threads.
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Mickey S.  •  November 02, 2011
VERY NICE!!!! I had a friend make me one out of tubular steel in his welding class. But two things everyone should consider after making your frit piston... One, always wear goggles and a MASK!! I noticed a fine dust ( almost like smoke) coming out of the top of the tube as I smashed my glass. So I always have my shop vac hose right beside the tube as I pound away to suck up this fine dust.. Two, check your frit for metal chips or dust from smashing the two metal items together. I noticed a few very small metal chips in my glass. So I use a magnet to swirl around in the frit to pick up any bits of metal. Sometimes these tubes and steel pipes have burrs inside that will contaminate your fine frit. Enjoy!
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Cindy W.  •  November 02, 2011
Hey, thanks for posting this info! I did the same thing a while back-but didn't even think about posting it. Good for you!-for letting everyone in on thus tip.
Maggi Blue

Maggi Blue

Maggi Blue would be the last person to call herself an artist. She is a lover of color, a collector of skills and always curious at heart. She has been a graphic designer for over a decade and has been absorbing other mediums like glass, metals, printmaking, fiber (to name a few) like a sponge. She is currently a glass artisan, metalsmith and designer on the coast of Maine. She works out of her studio when she can and can always be found online. is her passion, is her dumping ground, and @magpiecreative (twitter) are her online voice.