Glass bottle slumping is extremely popular because you don't need to buy expensive glass and it gives artists the opportunity to recycle wine and/or beer bottles.
When thinking about buying a kiln for glass bottle slumping, it’s important to consider the size of the bottles and molds you are planning to use, before you buy it. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy as the long shape of glass bottles and molds make them hard to fit into many of the standard smaller, household current kilns.
It’s like the Goldilocks syndrome… this one is too small, this one is too big but, this one is just right. So, with that mind, Paragon Industries accepted the challenge to create the perfect bottle slumping kiln. They recognized that most people who want to slump bottles want a kiln big enough to efficiently slump multiple wine and/or beer bottles at the same time. And, most don't have a 240v electrical circuit available, so they need the kiln to run on regular 120v household current.
With those specifications as their guidelines… the rectangular Paragon S1310 Trio was born! And, is the only kiln specifically created for glass bottle slumping!
Now that you have the perfect kiln, here are some tips to help you make your glass bottle slumping experience more successful:
Remove labels. From washing soda to ammonia, there are many options when it comes to removing labels from bottles. Most involve hot water and soaking from a couple hours to overnight. After the label has been removed, remember to wash the bottles thoroughly under cold water to remove any residue. Many people also use isopropyl alcohol to clean fingerprints as cleaning the glass is critical to your success!
Keep a log. Bottles come in diverse shapes, sizes and glass properties. Thicker bottles will take longer to heat and slump. Different shaped bottles will slump differently and at different rates. Different glass may have different melting temperatures. We suggest keeping a log of your firing. You may see some patterns that will help you get more consistent results.
Be prepared to adjust. It's uncommon that a generic firing schedule will get you the perfect results without some modification. And, there are a million factors that can impact the temperature… maybe you loaded your kiln with more bottles, so it will take longer to heat. Or, like your oven, some kilns just run hot, while others run cold. Whatever the cause, you will need to adjust some parts of the firing schedule to get the best results from your kiln.
Fusing bottles together. Glass compatibility, also referred to the coefficient of expansion or COE, is important to understand if you are going to be successful with glass bottle slumping. If you don’t use glass that has the same compatibility or COE, the stress will cause it to crack or break. Sometimes it happens immediately or sometimes is happens later... but, I can 100% guarantee that it will happen. Most bottles tend to be in the 82-86 COE range which is similar to float or window glass. However, since the COE of any given bottle glass is unknown, it is not recommended to fuse them with other bottles or fusible glass.