Who would’ve guessed that playing with glass could be both fun and safe?
As parents, we generally tell our kids not to play with glass, but at Bullseye Glass’s free open house, our family found several fun, yet safe, ways to work with glass. We created decorative glass magnets, bent glass into interesting shapes and designs, and cut and broke glass into pieces.
Each of us used glass beads, small pieces of glass sticks called stringers, and thin flakes of glass to decorate glass squares. With tweezers and special glue, we created patterns, initials, and landscapes. All of our squares were then placed in a kiln to melt and fuse the glass together. Afterwards, the folks at Bullseye Glass attached magnets to each of the squares so we now have beautiful, decorative glass magnets.
We also formed shapes out of long, thin glass stringers. After heating a section of the stringer over an everyday tea light candle, we bent it. We repeated the process until our shapes were finished. What could be more fun for a kid than playing with fire and glass at the same time? Possibly, breaking glass? Our last activity was to cut a plate of glass by scoring it with a glass cutter and then using pliers to break it into 2 pieces.
Our daughters were so excited about playing with glass that we bought a container of stringers that they’ve used at home to create all sorts of geometric shapes. They also want to take one of the glass design classes at Bullseye where they could fuse glass into jewelry pendants, decorative plates, bowls, and coasters. (Actually, they want to get the home use sized kiln, but one step at a time.) Stay on the lookout for their next free open house or sign up for one of their classes!
- Skills: Fine motor (using tweezers to pick up glass pieces and dab on glue and breaking glass with pliers), imagination (coming up with designs and patterns), patience
- Preparation: No preparation is needed to go to the Bullseye open house, although I would recommend wearing close-toed shoes and avoiding extra loose clothing since you’ll be working with glass
- Cost: The open house was free, although we did have to pay for highway and bridge tolls. A tube of ~140 18-inch glass stringers was just over $20.
- Time & Energy: It was a 40-minute drive from our house. I would recommend this for school-age children and older.
- Contact Info: If you’re interested in getting glass supplies or taking a class, there are 4 Bullseye Glass Resource Centers in the US with one in Mamaroneck, NY.