Answered By: Regan Brumagen
Last Updated: Sep 23, 2016     Views: 2472

In a first search, I found these recipes and suggestions:

From Kervin,
James and Fenton, Dan. Pate de Verre and Kiln Casting of Glass. Livermore, CA:
GlassWear Studios, 2000. (2nd ed.)

"Making Glass Pastes: You make a
glass paste by mixing your frit with some water or water-based binding agents
like those used in glass painting, pottery glazes, or enameling. The paste can
then be brushed or packed it [sic] into place in your mold with a palette knife.
When mixing up your paste you want to mix it to a smooth consistency like that
of a thick paint. It should be easily picked up with a brush but at the same
time it should be able to just as easily drip off of it.
Water alone can be
used to bind the paste and burns out clear (at least in most cities) but lacks
the pastiness necessary to hold the glass frit in place on near-vertical
surfaces. Oils as binders are not generally recommended because they can
carbonize and there is usually no place for the carbon to escape as the oil
Of course there are exceptions to every rule. Dona Milliron has told
us that she has had good success using squeegee oil which hardens almost like a
glue and has not had any problems with either carburizing or color reduction. If
you are going to use oil-based binders it is advisable to use them sparingly, to
add a soak at 1000 degrees F to burn them out during the firing and to have a
fairly permeable or porous mold to prevent trapping organic vapors.

Traditionally one part of gum Arabic (from the acacia tree) dissolved in one
part of alcohol and then mixed with twelve to twenty parts of warm water was
used as a paste binder. Be careful with this though because it can also
carbonize and “fry,” that is cause bubbling or cracking in the glass, if the
solution is mixed too strong. It’s a pretty strong binder.

traditional gum binders include: gum tragacanth, dextrin, vee gum and CMC
(sodium carboxymethyl-cellulose). They are all mixed similarly to gum Arabic and
can be found at many ceramics supply stores. If you can not find anything else
you can always thin down some Elmers glue with water and use that to hold your
frit in place. It works just fine.
A good binder found in most households is
a diluted solution of Knox gelatin. It doesn’t take much gelatin to get the
glass to stick and you can even drink the leftovers to get those chrome-molly
fingernails we talked about earlier. Another simple water-based binding agent is
sodium silicate dissolved in water. Any of these mixtures will harden when
air-dried so you should only mix as much as you need.
Thompson Enamels makes
a good binding agent called Klyr-Fire. This is a methyl-ethyl-cellulose based
binder that has given us good results. It burns out clean, is cheap and you
don’t need a letter from the governor to buy it directly from the manufacturer
or its distributors. No mixing is required and it can be used straight from the
bottle. Brushes used with it can be cleaned with water afterwards. The paste
does not harden as much as some of the other mixes though and may move around
some on you.
Glass pastes painted into your mold can be used to achieve very
subtle shadings of color through the use of a palette of colored frit or
incorporation of metal oxides or enamels. The addition of 10 to 20% by volume of
80 to 120 mesh enamels is sufficient to create sufficient color density when
used with a clear frit.
Enamels work best with the low-temperature, high
lead (20 to 25%) glasses because their flex points are similar. Otherwise you
may have to adjust the coefficient of thermal expansion of the enamel to fit the
base glass frit that you are using. This can be done by mixing it with the
desired base glass, melting the mixture in a crucible, and refritting it by
pouring the melt into water. Make sure that you mix the component well before
starting and allow the melt to sit at high temperature for a little while to
allow good mixing of the components….” pp, 116-117.

From Cummings,
Keith. Techniques of Kiln-formed Glass. London: A&C Black, 2007 reprint.

Describing Argy-Rousseau's pate-de-verre method:
"Once the mould was
made, it was turned on to its side and carefully filled with finely crushed and
washed glass, surface details first, usually using the finest grains for such
areas. The mould was filled a few grains at a time literally pushed into the
profiles of the mold surface with a range of wooden and metal tools designed for
the purpose by Argy-Rousseau. These ensured a ratio of glass to space in the
mould that was extremely high which each piece being forced to lock closely with
its neighbors. This allowed Argy-Rousseau to keep the glass accurately in the
details of his decoration. The glass grains were moistened with distilled water
(*) to lubricate their movement together and the horizontal area presented by
the mould lying on its side, filled layer on layer until a sufficient thickness
of wall achieved, usually a few centimeters. This was held in place by a thin
layer of gum, and the mould rotated to present a new section for filling; this
would continue until a complete internal layer was complete. After drying the
area inside, the glass layer was filled with powdered asbestos (absolutely not
recommended), a lid of mould mix placed over the open end and a new, complete
layer of mould mix cast round the entire form to hold it in place. This was
placed in the kiln with the base of the vessel at the top, and fired for up to a
week. Because of his painstaking method of mould packing, the glass settled very
little but it was helped in this by two things: The base of his objects was
slightly thicker than it needed to be to allow for some top-up effect if the
gals in the main body settled and the powdered asbestos, despite its lethal
qualities, did not stick to the glass and gave off a gas which expanded during
firing and pushed the glass into the details. The inside of Argy-Rousseau casts
show a shiny skin which is a characteristic testament to this." p. 108.

"...a small amount of distilled water (used in preference to tap water so as
to avoid the risk of lime-scale contamination) was used to act as a gentle
impermanent lubricant to encourage the grains to slide more easily over each
other, and remove any danger of dust inhalation." p. 113.

Beveridge's book, Warm Glass....uses methylcellulose glue (MCG), mixed according
to the manufacturer's instructions, with the ground glass for making a flat
piece of pate de verre. (p. 118) "Select the appropriate granulation of glass
next (in this instance, the finest and the next larger size), along with the
colors of ground glass that you want to use. Mix each color with the same volume
of clear glass, and then with the previously prepared methylcellulose glue. The
pate de packed into the...[mold] with a spatula. Then press it down
(here, we used the handle of the needle tool) so it fills in the shapes and
eliminates air between the particles...." p. 118.

Is this what you were
looking for? If not, please contact me again and I'll continue my search.

For more detail, see Cummings' research:

Stewart, Max. The
Amalric Walter research project : the techniques and methodology of Almaric
Walter 1870-1959 / Max Stewart, Keith Cummings. [Wolverhampton] : University of
Wolverhampton, [2007] 38 p. : "This publication presents the findings of an Arts
and Humanities Research Council funded project carried out at the University of
Wolverhampton's School of Art and Design between November 2005 and December
2006"--P. 1. "[Project objectives were] a. to contribute to a greater
understanding and knowledge of the complexities of pate(s)-de-verre in general,
and the work of Walter in particular; b. to generate and present an account of
Walter's probably procedures, illustrated by examples and supported by data, in
a form that enabled their replication; c. to estimate the contribution to
Walter's technique of his background at Sevres, and time at Daum. The intention
was to illustrate Walter's mastery over his medium in a way that would enhance
his status, and through practical advice allow his discoveries to serve as a
stepping-stone for a new generation of practitioners"--P. 3.
Call Number: TP859.1 .S84


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