Fused Glass IKEA Lantern Hack

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Introduction: Fused Glass IKEA Lantern Hack

About: I am an artist who loves math. I like to work in glass and ceramics and paper and fabric and pretty much everything.

This instructable will detail how to fuse glass and create unique panels to update an IKEA lantern. Fused Glass is the technique of joining pieces of glass with heat in a kiln.

Let's get started making a neat outdoor light!

Supplies

  1. IKEA Enrum Lantern
  2. Glass Running Pliers
  3. Glass Scorer with little scoring wheel
  4. Sharpie
  5. Dental Tool
  6. Paintbrush
  7. Straightedge
  8. Glastac Glue
  9. Glass Cleaner
  10. Cutting Mats
  11. Kiln Shelf
  12. Thinfire Shelf Paper
  13. Safety Glasses
  14. Band-aids
  15. Kiln
  16. Fusible Glass (more details in Step 1)
  17. Screwdriver (not pictured)

Step 1: The Glass

The glass that comes with the IKEA lantern will need to be replaced because you do not know how the IKEA glass will react when fused to other pieces of glass. For this project, I recommend replacing the IKEA glass with fusible glass that can be purchased online or from a local stained glass supplier. When purchasing glass, make sure it is rated for fusing. I used 3mm or 1/8 inch thick transparent blues and clear Tekta glass sourced from a company called Bullseye. These glass sheets can be purchased from Bullseye directly at http://www.bullseyeglass.com or any store of your choice. Please note, any brand of fusible glass will work for this project.

The glass I chose is COE-90 which refers to the coefficient of expansion, and is labeled as 'Tested Compatible' from the manufacturer. To say that glass is tested compatible means that there is a very low risk of cracking or breaking when fused together. All glass should be the same COE to prevent any stress and incompatibility issues after firing in a kiln. Mixing different kinds of glass, to include the glass that comes with the lantern, can lead to problems when cooling.

Step 2: The Design

The metal tabs that hold the glass in the lantern are only long enough to hold one 1/8 inch thickness of glass. This means the design of each panel requires the ends of the base glass to be only 1 layer while the middle section can be as many layers as you would like. For this project, there will be a clear base and curving blue strips layered on top. After firing in the kiln, the glass panel ends will mostly keep to their original shape and thickness.

If we fuse the glass together at 1375°F for 10 minutes, then the single thickness of glass at the ends of the panels won't move very much, but the glass in the middle will fuse together and the edges will round nicely.

Glass does not react like other things when heated, it changes from a solid to a liquid over a wide temperature range and is specific to each color and type. Technical notes from the manufacturer detail these changes between 1000°F and 1700°F. For the purposes of this project, Bullseye glass will begin to fuse together at about 1350°F and flow until it is 1/4 inch thick at about 1450°F. Knowing how glass changes with respect to time and temperature gives you the ability to decide how much you want the glass to move with respect to how many layers you're using. In this case, we don't want the glass to move much at all, just tack together.


Step 3: Cutting the Base Glass

Remove the existing glass from the IKEA lantern. I used a screw driver to gently lift the metal tabs from the inside. Please be careful when handing these panels, glass is sharp and can cut you. Measure the existing panels to create the clear base for the replacement panels:

  • The door panel is 2 inches by 4-7/8 inches
  • The other 3 panels are 2 inches by 5-1/16 inches

Next, cut the clear base glass to size.

  1. Put your safety glasses on and be careful handling the sharp glass!
  2. Clean the glass and wipe it dry.
  3. Measure and mark the glass with a sharpie.
  4. Score the glass with a glass scorer. Make sure the carbide wheel of the glass scorer is on the marked line and use a straight edge for a guide.
  5. Snap the glass in two with the glass running pliers.
  6. Continue until you have 1 door panel and 3 other panels.


Mark the edge that will go under the metal tab in the lantern.

  1. Measure and mark 1/4 inch at the top and bottom of each panel. There will be no second layer of glass on the ends.

Step 4: Cutting the Blue Glass Waves

You can create any design you choose on the clear base panels. For my panels, I cut undulating shades of transparent blue glass. I tried to make a gradient of light to dark. It is okay if the glass breaks awkwardly, the only thing that matters is all glass fit on the clear base in any pattern you choose.

  1. Make sure your safety glasses are on!
  2. Clean the glass and wipe it dry.
  3. Score and break a 2 inch wide strip of each color of transparent blue glass. This should be the same width as the base glass.
  4. Draw an undulating line and then score and break along that line.
  5. Transfer the lower curve of your wave to the next color, and then score and break.
  6. Continue until you have enough for 1 door panel and 3 other panels. Make sure to leave the ends empty.

Step 5: Assembling the Panels

Place a piece of ThinFire shelf paper on the ceramic kiln shelf and set aside. Make sure the printed side of the ThinFire is face down. This will prevent the glass from sticking to the shelf during firing.

Clean and assemble the cut glass design.

  1. Wipe every piece of glass with a paper towel and glass cleaner to remove the marker and any dirt.
  2. Apply small amounts of Glastac glue onto the clear base glass with a clean paint brush and arrange your second layer of glass. Be sure to leave the ends open.
  3. After the glue is set, transfer the cleaned and glued lantern panels to the kiln shelf.

Step 6: Firing the Kiln

Carefully transfer the shelf with the lantern panels into the kiln. To fuse the layers of glass together permanently, fire the kiln to the specified schedule. The 6 steps of this schedule were set for Bullseye glass, please check with your manufacturer for more specific information. The kiln schedule was designed so that the glass would fuse together, but there would be very little change in the shape and thickness of the glass.

Please do not open the kiln, not even to peek, until the internal temperature cools to at least 100°F to prevent any cold air shocking the panels. After firing, the ThinFire shelf paper turns to dust so please wear an appropriate mask to be safe.

Kiln Schedule

  1. ramp 350°F per hour to 1000°F - hold for 15 minutes
  2. ramp 200°F per hour to 1150°F - hold for 15 minutes
  3. ramp 850°F per hour to 1375°F - hold for 10 minutes
  4. ramp Full Speed to 900°F - hold for 30 minutes
  5. ramp 100°F per hour to 700°F - no hold
  6. ramp 400°F per hour to 100°F - no hold

Step 7: Installing the Panels

Install the fused glass panels into the IKEA lantern.

  1. Clean and wipe dry each panel.
  2. Take a look at the profile, the bottom is flat and the top is stepped.
  3. Working from the inside of the lantern, lay the flat side of the glass panel against the lantern frame.
  4. Using gentle pressure, secure each glass panel with the metal tabs.
  5. Please note that one panel is shorter to fit the door.

You're finished!

Now add a candle and enjoy the soft glow of your new outdoor light.

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    6 Comments

    0
    GISMapper
    GISMapper

    Question 2 months ago on Step 3

    What kind of kiln could I use? I have an old pottery kiln and an old enamel kiln. But both are probably 40+ years old. What are more current options that you might suggest? Thank you!!!

    0
    WoodLandPath
    WoodLandPath

    Answer 5 weeks ago

    I have been thinking about a microwave kiln for glass fusing. They are under $50 on Amazon. Probably too small for this project, but would be great for small glass projects like jewelry. Also, I would probably use an old microwave that I would use for this and not warm up my food in it.


    Screen Shot 2022-12-24 at 8.38.52 AM.png
    0
    sharonwarren
    sharonwarren

    Answer 2 months ago

    My first kiln was a JenKen BonnieGlo Kiln, https://jenkenkilns.com/b3k-156-2.aspx I also have a second kiln that is much larger, but the BonnieGlo is my favorite. It can plug into a regular household outlet, easily fits 10 inch by 10 inch pieces and comes with great customer service!

    0
    GISMapper
    GISMapper

    Reply 8 weeks ago

    Thank you!! I'll take a look.

    0
    sharonwarren
    sharonwarren

    Reply 2 months ago

    Thank you so much for your comment! Hope you have fun making your own.