Wednesday, December 15, 2010

$10 off my "Silver Stain" book at Blurb

If you're considering ordering my book on Silver Stain but haven't purchased yet, Blurb is offering a holiday promotion. Just enter the appropriate code for your region/currency and take $10* off your order of $29.95 or more.
Here are the codes:

USD $ coupon: CHEER

GBP £ coupon: CHEER1

EUR € coupon: CHEER2

CAD $ coupon: CHEER3

AUD $ coupon: CHEER4

Like to see what's in the book? I've expanded the preview to include all 80 pages.

* Offer valid through December 31, 2010 (11:59 p.m. local time) and is applied toward the product total only. Offer discount of US $10.00, GBP £6.00, EUR €8.00, CAD $11.00, or AUD $12.00 requires a minimum order of at least US $29.95, GBP £18.95, EUR €24.95, CAD $30.95, or AUD $35.95 shipped to one address. This offer is good for one-time use and cannot be combined with other promotional codes or used for adjustments on previous orders.

Comment on Silver Stain Book

Hello Kenneth,

Just received your Silver Stain book. What a joy! Many thanks for giving us a peek into your experiments.

My partner Henny and I, are part time students Stained Glass at the Vakschool Schoonhoven. At our Vakschool several students plan to use your book for the lessons in English (making extracts and giving presentations. You see: it’s a real hit.

B.t.w. are you familiar with the stained glass studio (and eBooks, also on silver stain techniques) from Williams & Byrne? Your book, theirs and the upcoming reprint of Albinas’ book will make the stained glass trilogy complete! ;-)

Thankful greetings from the Netherlands,


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

BOOK RELEASE: Silver Stain - An Artist's Guide

I'm releasing my book: Silver Stain - An Artist's Guide.  In addition to all of the information in my silver stain tests included here on my blog there are dozens of additional illustrations and Technical Tips on glass painting.
You can view a 15 page preview of the 80 page book with this widget:

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Skulls for October 31

Happy Halloween
A selection of skulls from various sources I painted on Lamberts white opal. Each is 3" x 3".

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Working on a book

The blog is great but some of you still like turning pages so I've started making a book on silver stain using "Book Smart" by Blurb!. The working title is:

Silver Stain An Artist's Guide
cover shot
screen capture

Friday, October 1, 2010

Applying Silver Stain by Hand

Silver stain applied with a brush

Wear a dust mask while handling the dry pigment. Use brushes with plastic ferrules, when possible, and mix stains in glass or plastic containers as silver stain is corrosive to metal. Clean your brush immediately after use. A dedicated set of silver stain brushes is recommended as silver stain can contaminate your other pigments. Silver stain can be mixed with any glass painting medium. Oil vs. water techniques will have an effect on the density and texture of the application but will not effect the color of the stain. The color results from the reaction of the chemistry of the stain and the chemistry of the glass. For the samples in this study I mixed the stains with distilled water and applied them with an airbrush. To achieve a gradation of color by hand: wet surface, apply stain, and blend with a badger blender. This guideline holds for both water or oil mixtures. It is better to achieve a gradation by diluting and blending while wet than by stippling the dry application. Most stains have their own binder so it is not necessary to add gum Arabic although adding gum may improve the flow of water mixtures. In some stains the binder is very stiff so you may find it easier to clean up stain while it is slightly damp or take my approach and mask areas to be stained with contact paper. 

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Metaling of Silver Stain

Silver stain is prone to an effect called “metaling” which occurs as an oxidation on the surface of the glass. It is characterized by a milky opalescence which can have a blue, green or brown cast. It is visible in reflected light. In transmitted light the stain will still appear yellow but with a reduction in transparency. Metaling can be unsightly and can only be removed from the surface of the glass by abrasion or with hydrofluoric acid. The cause of metaling is linked to temperature; the higher the stain is fired the more likely it is to occur. The chemistry of the stain, the chemistry of the glass and the thickness of application also play a role. Some stains are formulated with the addition of copper sulfate to intensify their potency. These are more likely to metal. Of the test samples the amber stains exhibited metaling, although not in the range of their thinner application.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Temperature Test - Color Follows Ion Exchange

The final test of my study demonstrates a chemical reaction described by W. A. Weyl, Coloured Glasses, ISBN 0-900682-06-X. He states that the surface exchange of silver ions with sodium ions in the glass begins at 752°F, but crystals of silver atoms, which transmit yellow light, don't form until higher temperatures are reached. Basically, the silver penetrates the glass even before we see any change in color. In this test 2 samples of glass were fired to 800°F and held at temperature for 20 minutes. The clay body of the stain was washed off and one sample was fired again to 1050°F and held for 2 hours. The upper tiles are the tin side of float and the lower tiles are Lamberts. Comparing these results with the previous test (which was also fired to 1050°F) reveals the role the clay body plays in the reaction. The purpose of the clay or ochre binder, besides suspending the silver oxide,  is to capture the resulting sodium salt, forcing more of the sodium ions present in the glass to exchange with silver.

REUSCHE 292465 (Amber H465)
REUSCHE 1382 (Orange #2)
REUSCHE 1384 (Yellow #3)

Temperature Tests - Multiple Firings

The object of this test was to discover what happens when glass which has already been stained is fired a second time. The upper sample is the tin side of float glass; the lower sample is Lamberts. Two pieces of each glass were to 1050°F and held for 2 hours. After cooling the clay body of the stain was removed and the right hand sample was fired a second time and held for 1 hour. The effect is subtle but the stain continues to disperse into the glass.

REUSCHE 292465 (Amber H465)

REUSCHE 1382 (Orange #2)

REUSCHE 1384 (Yellow #3)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Temperature Test - Hold Time

Firing slower or holding for a longer time at temperature will also have an effect. These samples were fired to 1000°F. The left sample was held for 20 minutes; the right was held for 6 hours.

REUSCHE D292465 (Amber H465) on Float (Tin side)
REUSCHE D292465 (Amber H465) on LAMBERTS

REUSCHE 1383 (Orange #2) on Float (Tin side)

REUSCHE 1383 (Orange #2) on LAMBERTS

REUSCHE 1384 (Yellow #3) on Float (Tin side)

REUSCHE 1384 (Yellow #3) on LAMBERTS

The Temperature Tests

In the next round of testing I selected 3 stains and made samples fired at 100° F increments from 800° F to 1400°F. The kiln was held at the temperature indicated for 20 minutes. This test reveals how temperature effects the silver stain reaction. The sweet spot appears to take place between 1000° F & 1100°F. In the images below, the upper row of tiles are the tin side of float glass and the lower row are Lambert's glass. The first tile in each group was left unfired. At temperatures above 1300°F the clay body in the stain began to fuse to the glass which accounts for the dark tiles. None of the 1400°F tiles are transparent as the clay body could not be removed. The additional tiles in the 1000°F range are discussed in the next entry.

REUSCHE D292465 (Amber H465)

REUSCHE 1383 (Orange #2)

REUSCHE 1384 (Yellow#3)

Glass Chemistry & Silver Stain

It was interesting to note that some glasses, like GNA were difficult to stain whereas the tin side of float glass and Bullseye’s “Reactive Ice” were extremely sensitive to the stain. The notes in one text I studied suggested that clear glasses with a blue or green cast would stain better than those with a yellow cast. Another mentioned that clarifying agents added to make glass optically clearer can inhibit the stain. This may explain why historic glasses, which were less “pure”, took the stain better. Of the 3 mouth blown glasses I tested, the glass coming from Poland achieved the best color range. Bullseye’s “Reactive Ice”, mentioned above, is a glass used by fusers that has been formulated to react with other glasses containing silver or copper. It takes stain extremely well, if you can overlook its double-rolled texture.

BULLSEYE Clear fusible

BULLSEYE "Reactive Ice"

Float Glass (non-tin side)

Float Glass (tin-side)

Desag/Schott GNA




SPECTRUM "System 96"

SPECTRUM "Waterglass"




The OSTER Stains

OSTER Ancient Lemon

OSTER Ancient Winchester

OSTER Ancient Walpole

The REUSCHE Stains

REUSCHE 1382 (Orange #1)

REUSCHE 1383 (Orange #2)

REUSCHE 1384 (Yellow #3)

REUSCHE 1388 (Orange Intense)

REUSCHE 1390 (Amber Intense)

REUSCHE D292465 (Amber H465)

The DEBITUS Stains

DEBITUS 20% Silver Chloride

DEBITUS 40% Silver Chloride


DEBITUS 10% Silver Chloride

DEBITUS 20% Silver Chloride

DEBITUS 40% Silver Chloride

The Reaction Test - AKA: Silver Stain Smackdown

In the first test, 18 different stains were applied to 10 different clear glasses (from different manufacturers) and fired at the same temperature (1100°F)  to reveal the relationship between the chemistry of the stain and the chemistry of the glass. The resulting samples were organized into sets in which these correlations could be clearly seen. One can view these results to learn how a particular stain took on different glasses or how a specific glass reacts to different stains.