I have been using stained glass pretty exclusively.  I have flirted with china and dipped my toes in the vitreous glass pool but the methods, opinions and experience I am comfortable discussing are with stained glass. I developed this method after two years of gluing glass to clear glass hurricane lamps, recycled bottles, votives, tea lights, vases and bowls. This is what works for me and my working/lifestyle.  That said, here we go.

First of all, Why Weldbond™? 

 

There are plenty of glass adhesives out there that dry clear (usually the desire when gluing glass to glass).  Many contain silicone, i.e. E6000™, Goop™, GE Kitchen & Bath Clear Silicone Sealant™, and Liquid Nails™ clear.  All of these are proven winners for a waterproof, maximum hold bond.  I used Liquid Nails™ Clear on the bowl in the Glass Bowl Diary, without problem.  I use Liquid Nails™ clear to seal metal hardware under a mosaic.  Liquid Nails™, even when cured will flex a bit.  Weldbond™ cures fairly hard (even though Frank T. Ross says it is flexible).  So, if the base flexes (or warps), the glass will crack (usually hairline) as a result.  Silicone sealants are also tackier than Weldbond™, therefore can speed up the gluing phase of your project.  However, I always prefer to use Weldbond™.  I choose not to use the Liquid Nails™ clear or other silicone sealants or adhesives for the following reasons….

 

The odor (enough said, but I will go on).

 

The flammable fumes (I use a kerosene heater in my workspace during the icy SW PA winters).

 

The fact that all of the product labels say that it "May be harmful if absorbed through the skin", yet it is impossible for you NOT to get it all over your hands.

 

The fact that the product labels say it contains a chemical that is "known to the State of California (and they would know) to cause Cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm." (No brainer to me even if the chemical is in a small amount).

 

My candle shelters in particular can get very hot with a candle burning for an hour or more.  Liquid Nails™ says the "vapors" may ignite.  There is no data on the actual cured adhesive igniting, but since I sell my shelters, I don't want to risk it.

 

And oh let's see, its TOXIC!  I mosaic 7 days a week.  Another quote straight from the Liquid Nails™ Clear package, "Reports have associated repeated and prolonged occupational overexposure to solvents with permanent brain and nervous system damage."  I am whacked out enough.  I don't need to add to my family's misery.

 

 

For the occasional project or when it is necessary due to the nature of the project (metal that may rust), I am sure there is no harm done.  But, I am someone who is producing a line of mosaic gift items (in frightening volume) and I have two small children in the house.  I occasionally use Envirotex Lite™ as a polymer resin coating over tables and it is fairly toxic as well.  So, I limit the toxins I expose myself too when I can. When I found out that Weldbond™ will give a glass to glass bond as strong as a silicone sealant AND that Weldbond™ was non-toxic, I was sold.

 

For more info… look at David Ward’s “Articles and Workshops” page on his site, http://www.wardmosaic.com/ .  Granted, his study wasn’t super scientific by his own admission, but it holds a lot of weight with me and many others who use stained glass exclusively.

 

Also, visit http://www.franktross.com/.  Click on the little happy Weldbond™ bottle at the top and go to the bottom of that page.  You will see “Weldbond™ Product guide”.  Click on “Glass and Porcelain” and you will see a really cool mosaic picture of a clown that I LOVE.

 

Note: I am not in anyway affiliated with the Frank T. Ross Corporation and I am not being paid for this glowing recommendation.  I am just a crazed Weldbond™ fan.

 

Ok, that said, let’s get to it!

 

Vase Title: Spring Fling

 

Dimensions: 10" high

 

Date: September 2002

 

Materials:  

 

Weldbond™: More Than Great Glue Non-toxic adhesive (A brand of PVA Glue).  I buy it by the gallon!  See my Mosaic Supplies Links page for resources. 

 

A recycled plastic container with a re-seal able lid: Yogurt containers are good for small projects (not Yoplait – Dannon or some other brand with an airtight re-seal able lid).  For larger projects you could recycle one of your margarine, cottage cheese or Boston Market containers (all of which are great for grout too!).  The key is to put the glue in a container that you can reseal but that you can also unseal to let air “thicken” the glue for you.  This all started to click for me after my bottle got so clogged that I was pouring it out in a cup anyway.

 

Craft brushes: I use a few different size brushes but the small (12 in a pack) kids plastic art brushes work really well.

 

Container of Water: To rest your brush in and to throw your overly glued tiles in.

 

Masking Tape: For the really slippy sliddy times.

 

Clear Glass Vase and stained glass tiles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After soaking off any labels and running through the dishwasher, I “prime” the vase with a thin coat of Weldbond™.  Brush a thin layer of glue over the entire base and let it sit until the glue has dried completely clear.   Another way to prime a glass base would be to etch it with etching cream.  The etching cream will roughen the surface and give the base “tooth” or a roughness that will strengthen the bond of the glue.  I prefer not to do this because the Weldbond™ holds so well and I don’t like the look of some glass glued to etched glass.  I like pure transparency in some pieces. I also wash and dry my glass tesserae by putting it in a colander, squirting it with window cleaner and rinsing.  Then I let them air dry on a wire cookie cooling rack covered with paper towels.  You want the tesserae to be free from dust and cutting oil.

 

After the base coat has dried completely clear, I apply another thin coat in a small area and let it sit for about 5-10 minutes (usually while I do the same to 3 other pieces – this method works really well when working on more than one project at a time). The second layer of glue will soften the dried layer and make it tacky. When I start to apply the tesserae, I press each piece into the glue.  If the flat glass is going onto a concave curve, I will “back butter” the piece to ensure that there is nothing but glue between the two surfaces.  I have found the optimal bond when the glue creeps 1/3 of the way up the edge of the glass tesserae. After working with your container of glue open for a while, the glue at the top and edges of the container will thicken. Use the thickened glue first with each layer of glue you apply. You will have less slippage if any at all. If your tiles are sliding all over the place, STOP! Take them off, throw them in your container of water and go fix yourself a cup of tea. When you come back the base should be tacky again and you can start over.

 

You can lay a base on its side and support on the sides while each section dries and you move on to the next piece or check in with Oprah.  If you let your glue get tacky enough, you shouldn’t have slippage and you can work without stopping.  When you start to apply the tesserae to the first section, apply your second layer of glue to the second section.  The second section will be ready when you are done with the first, and so on…

 

Once your glue in the container starts to get really tacky, you can back butter each individual piece rather than apply directly to the vase.  When the glue gets tacky, its up to you!!

 

One of the biggest complaints about using Weldbond™ on 3D bases is that it is too runny and the tesserae slide off.  Yep, straight out of the bottle it is too runny.  Even with layering the thickened glue, tesserae can slip if there is too much glue on the base like I have shown here.  The answer is masking tape.  Tape your sliders to a well-stuck piece or to the base.  At times when I run out of patience (required in spades with this method) I tape the entire piece leaving as many gaps exposed as possible with the sliders secure.  If you tape it completely, it will never dry.

 

For the times you get a little overly enthusiastic with your craft brush, like shown here, remove the piece, wipe with a baby wipe or damp paper towel and reapply. Baby wipes are great to have on hand for wiping extra glue off the tops of tiles or your fingers.

 

Ick!! Too much of a good thing!!

The time it takes for the Weldbond™ to turn clear varies.  Depending on temperature and humidity, it can take anywhere from 24 hours to 2 weeks.  The glue will cloud again during grouting.  I don’t mind this because I believe it makes your grout adhere to the piece.  Weldbond™ is very compatible with cement and mortar.  If clouding does occur, wait till it is gone before sealing your grout (I seal my vases).

Not Ready to Grout!

Grout me Baby!

I grout even if there is a little clouding.

Now, Why Weldbond™ Again?

 

Ok, I know some of you may be a little disappointed because this method isn’t all that easy and sounds pretty time consuming.  So, consider it an alternative for the following reasons…

 

If you really want to work without the smell and the sticky mess of silicone and would like something that you can use a baby wipe to clean up with.

 

If you don’t like those nasty air bubbles that swirl underneath the glass with the silicone adhesives.

 

If you are gluing more than one project at a time.

 

If you want to limit the amount of toxins you encounter day to day.

 

If you want an incredible bond for indoor/outdoor projects that becomes stronger the longer it cures.

 

If you are frequently pulled away from your projects to refill sippy cups, fold laundry, fix a meal, contribute to a chatty email group, or play Cat Woman to a 6 and 3 year olds’ Batman and Robin. It makes the “waiting for the glue to thicken” time a multi-tasking success!

 

 

 

It was grouted with 50% sanded and 50% un-sanded grout in Butter Cream.

 

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