Glass Lantern with Fusible Decals
Lantern with removeable glass panels
Photos scanned into computer
Photo editing software
Laser mono printer, either HP or Canon
Fusible decal paper
Shallow plate that holds water
Glass lanterns with removeable glass are available at IKEA. Carefully bend the metal prongs holding the glass and remove. Clean the glass.
Choose up to 4 photos. Size 3 for the glass panels other than the door – size the 4th in the door a little smaller. Measure the glass and allow for the metal edges that will cover the outside edges of the glass – size according to your taste (you might want the edge of the photo covered or perhaps not).
Choose photos without too much dark in them. Best are photos with a lot of contrast. You will do best If you have Photoshop or another photo editing program. You can edit out anything you don’t want in the photo, adjust the contrast, adjust the levels… then you need to make the photo black and white. It’s best to do the adjustments first before changing to black and white. After transforming to black and white you might need to do a little more contrast adjustment. Make the photos the sizes you need to fit the glass panels.
Print the photos on regular paper to see how they look. Imagine everything dark in the photo will be dark when you fuse the decal to the glass. It will come out in a sepia color after firing - dark rust brown – like old fashioned photos – so try to imagine the transformation.
I spend a lot of time on photo editing – using Photoshop. Once happy with the photos, you’ll need fusible decal paper and a laser printer. Any HP or Canon mono (not color) printer will work. I bought a Canon Image Class D530 from Office Depot for about $70. Toner cartridges are expensive – about $90 – but I only use this printer for decals and have only replaced the cartridge once. I order Photo Fuse Paper, 8.5 by 11 inches in multi sheet packs from my wholesale glass suppliers EdHoy and D&L Art Glass. If you buy retail, I believe EdHoy sells retail. I just looked up EdHoy and the price for me is $19.50 for 10 sheets. D & L is less, but they only sell wholesale.
When you print the decals, it’s important to run a few images through the printer before printing on the fusible paper – you have to get the printer warm. It’s a quick switch to print a few, then add the paper, and print again for real. I use a photo setting for the printer, as though I’m printing the best quality photo on photo paper. And it’s important to know which side your printer prints on, as the fusible paper must be inserted correctly. I tested by putting an X on 1 side of regular paper, loading it in with the X on top, then seeing which side it was on when it came out printed.
I try to let the printed images sit for a few hours or overnight before using.
When you’re ready to apply them to the glass, cut around the image, leaving about ¼ inch of blank space. I use a shallow plastic plate, big enough to lay the image in flat, deep enough to have about ½ inch deep water. Some people use distilled or filtered water – I have not – my tap water is very clear. Lay the image in the water for about 30 seconds, then pick it up and place it on the glass. If you sponge the glass lightly with a bit of water, it’ll allow for movement of the decal if necessary. Very gently slide the paper out from under the decal. I gently hold the decal in place with a finger and slowly pull the paper to the side. Don’t let the decal wrinkle. Once the paper is removed, and the decal is exactly where you want it, get a few clean paper towels and fold in several layers, place on top of the decal, and gently blot it dry. Make sure it’s still where you want it, make sure there are no air bubbles and let it dry a few hours or overnight.
Since you’re using very thin glass, it’s important not to overfire. The decals are supposed to be able to be full fused, but I’ve found that not to be the case – they tend to fade if full fused. I like a contour fuse schedule. This is what I’d use for a rounder, softer tack fuse. I normally use Bullseye glass, which is generally considered to be COE 90. I have Skutt kilns -mostly I’ve used my GM1014 for decals – and here’s the schedule that works for me:
After firing, put the glass back in the lantern. IKEA also sells battery “candles” which don’t provide much light, but are safe and give a little backlighting to the photos.
Kiln-fired plates, bowls, jewelry, accessories and gifts