How to: Fake a Kiln Rake


I know I'll never get up the nerve to open my kiln to rake. Instead, I was wondering, can I fake...I mean, rake it?

I was recently in Monterey, CA visiting a shop on Cannery Row, where glass artist David Alcala is usually busy at work.

The day I visited, he was out (at the Glass Art Bead Expo) promoting his new book and Flexi-Glass.

His lovely wife was holding down the fort and I marveled at his landscapes made with fine glass frit. I knew I had a lot of Uroboros frit and powder at home, and it inspired me to try and fake a kiln rake with frit.

I laid out a sheet of newspaper, and donned my goggles and face mask.

I cut out a 10-inch transparent glass circle, so I would have a double-sided plate.

Next, I sprinkled a bunch of purple powder, then white, and purple again, gently patting down the mounds with my fingers. I then added a squiggley line of bejeweled frit.

From there, I included Uroboros fine frit in white, purple, then sprinkled on some more bejeweled frit.

I used a paint brush to gently move the frit across the plate, blending one color into another. Next came the big move.

How was I going to get this thing into the kiln? I remebered watching a forensics documentary where they sprayed fingerprints in dust with hairspray. So from a distance, I sprayed a light coating over the plate. I wondered if it was going to devitrify the surface, but it didn't.

I safely moved the plate to the kiln - almost no glass fell off of the edges! I swept away some particles from the edge of the plate with my paintbrush. I also made a small matching pendant.

After firing, the plate was slumped into a 10 plate mold from Delphi.

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Jennifer B.  •  January 29, 2014
@pamelahlaszewski unfortunately it does appear that we only offer this in 96 COE and you cannot mix that with your 90 COE frit without risking fractures and breaks due to incompatibility. Luckily, frits are easier to keep separated than sheet glass so I encourage you to pick up some 96 COE and give it a try!
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Pamela L.  •  January 27, 2014
I think the 'bejeweled' frit is the prettiest thing I have ever seen....but all my frits are 90 coe and Delphi doesn't seem to carry it in 90. Can I try it in 96 with my 90coe frits, or do I need to start re-ordering? Pamski
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Michelle R.  •  June 10, 2013
@Grampat Hi, bejeweled frit is a medium, multicolored, frit. It comes in 1oz. reclosable jars, that you can purchase from Delphi. The color combinations are very pretty and they are very convenient.
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Patricia M.  •  July 02, 2012
What is bejeweled frit? I love your plate and pendant-very unique.
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Michelle R.  •  April 22, 2012
Hi Pilisa, You are so welcome! I did have a lot of fun doing this as there was alot of suspense of how it was going to turn out. I think it looked very different from the powder version that went in the kiln. I did like how the purple darkened up, as it had been a long time since I had used it, not remebering what it was going to look like. Next time I think I would not make the powder so thick, maybe use fine frit instead of powders, and would spread transparent fine frit all over the top to thicken it up instead. I'm going to do it again, and have some fun with it towards Christmas, making some co-workers kids, "Cookies for Santa" plates. Thanks so much for reading this article and I can't wait to see your creations! Michelle @
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Pilisa L.  •  April 20, 2012
Thanks for the suggestion! This looks like a lot of fun. You sound pretty pleased with the results. Did you like it enough to want to do it again? If so, is there anything you'd do differently when you do your next one?
Michelle Rodriquez

Michelle Rodriquez

Michelle Rodriquez is always cooking something up in her kiln. She, and her husband Rich, experiment with different techniques in art glass every day, and are happy to share their discoveries with other artists. As a beginner, Michelle writes about her tribulations and acheivements. Read more about Michelle here or visit her website.