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Glass blowing can be a lucrative and enjoyable way to make money. Whether you’re interested in pursuing it as a hobby or starting a business, finding the right supplies is essential. Here is a guide to sourcing glass blowing materials.
The glass industry consists mainly of large companies that produce glass for windows. However, glass blowing is a specialized field with many independent artisans. It has gained popularity in recent years, thanks to shows like “Blown Away” on Netflix. There is also a continuous demand for unique artisan glassware.
When it comes to sourcing glass blowing supplies, there are numerous online and in-person options. Here are some top stores for glass blowers:
1. Amazon: You can find a wide range of glass blowing materials, including glass, heating elements, tubes, and accessories. Many items qualify for free Prime shipping, and they even offer full starter kits.
2. Etsy: Along with finished glass-blown products, Etsy also sells materials for makers. You can find tools, raw materials, and even glass scraps at discounted rates. This is a great way to practice your craft or add unique pieces to your collection.
3. Walmart: While not specializing in glass blowing, Walmart does stock some glass tubes and torch accessories. You can find a variety of products online, with some available in stores as well.
4. eBay: eBay offers a diverse selection of glass blowing tools and supplies from individual sellers. Many of these products are used, making them more affordable. You can find torches, presses, glass, and scraps.
5. Wale Apparatus: Wale Apparatus is a trusted supplier for the glass and quartz industries. They manufacture their own products, including tubing, rods, and safety gear. They provide guidance to glass blowers looking for quality supplies.
6. Mountain Glass Arts: Mountain Glass Arts specializes in equipment for glass artists. They offer glass rods, tubes, heating elements, and even larger items like kilns. They have a wide selection of products available for order.
7. Glass House Supply: Glass House Supply is a small business based in California that offers a full range of colorful glass and quality tools for independent artisans. They provide online ordering and unique, high-quality products.
8. Hot Glass Color: If you’re looking for colorful glass, Hot Glass Color is the place to go. They have a vast array of shades available to suit any project. You can find a variety of glassblowing supplies to spark your creativity.
9. HUB: HUB specializes in durable glass heating and melting equipment. They sell large kilns, ovens, pipe warmers, and more. The company also provides training and support for their products, making them a great option for those starting out or investing in larger equipment.
10. American Glass Roots: American Glass Roots is an online retailer that specializes in glass rods, tubes, and tools. They offer a range of supplies, including tubing and torches. They even provide classes for those who want to improve their skills or learn new techniques.
Now, let’s take a look at some essential glassblowing supplies:
– Soda-lime Glass: This is the most common type of glass used in everyday items and is easy to melt. It offers clarity and versatility for a wide range of projects.
– Borosilicate Glass: Known for its durability, borosilicate glass can withstand temperature changes and chemicals better than soda-lime glass. It requires higher melting temperatures but results in more durable pieces.
– Fused Quartz Glass: Made almost entirely of silica, fused quartz glass offers exceptional clarity and resistance to high temperatures. It requires special handling and high temperatures to mold.
– Dichroic Glass: This multi-layered glass reflects one color while transmitting another, creating a captivating shimmering effect. It adds vibrant colors and dynamic patterns to art pieces.
– Opalescent Glass: Opalescent glass has a milky, opaque appearance with light diffusion properties. It is popular for stained glass projects and creates beautiful light-play.
– Colorful Glass: Various types, colors, and sizes of glass rods and tubes can add base or accent colors to your projects.
– Decorative Elements: Glassblowers can integrate materials like quartz or gold into their art, adding decorative appeal and uniqueness.
– Frit: Small bits of colored glass that can be sprinkled or rolled onto hot glass to add color, pattern, or texture.
Aside from the glass itself, there are other essential supplies for glassblowers:
– Molds: Shaped containers that hot glass is added to in order to harden into a specific form.
– Stamps or Optic Molds: Tools used to create patterns on the surface of blown glass, made of metal with a patterned interior.
– Fuel: If using a torch or heating element, an ongoing supply of fuel like propane is necessary.
– Paddles: Flat pieces of wood or graphite used to shape flat areas of a glass piece.
– Raking Tools: Metal tools used to swirl colors or create patterns on the surface of the glass.
– Crimps: Tools with ridged or patterned jaws used to create textures or patterns on the glass.
Remember, each type of glass has its own composition and key features that make it suitable for specific applications. It’s important for glassblowers to understand the properties and uses of different types of glass to create the desired results.
With the right supplies and knowledge, you can take your glass blowing hobby or business to new heights. Explore different suppliers, experiment with various types of glass, and let your creativity shine through your unique art pieces. Happy glass blowing!