It's easy to see why glass is such a popular material for making containers, art, and more. It's durable, clear, and easy to work with. But what most people don't realize is that glass can be shaped even before it cools down! You can blow into hot glass tubes or press them against things like plates of metal or sandpaper until they take the shape you want—and it's an amazing process.
Glass is a solid, but it's also a liquid. When you heat glass, you're turning it into a liquid. If you cool down the glass and leave it at room temperature, the molecules will become organized in an orderly pattern; this is solid glass.
When heated again, they'll return to their original disorganized state—which means that if you blow into your glass while its still hot (or press another object against it), then cool them off together again, you can shape the surface of your piece of molten-glass artwork!
Glass tubes can be shaped by a variety of methods. The most common is called "pulling," which involves heating the glass to a temperature that is hot enough to soften it, but not so high that it's brittle. Then, the glass is shaped by blowing air into it or pressing it against a mold (or another tube). For example, an artist might blow air through one end of a tube and then shape it until she has something like a snake or flute. Another way is to pull the end of your tube around something cool—like your thumb—and as you're doing this you hold onto both ends of the glass so that it doesn't snap back into its original shape when you let go. This process gives you an idea of how much effort goes into shaping these materials: It takes time!
The process of shaping a glass plate is similar to the process of shaping a glass opening or tube, but because it involves two moving tools and requires more space, it can be more challenging than other techniques.
The first step in creating a glass plate is to apply flux to one side of the surface that you're working on. Flux helps prevent oxidation during heating and working; if you don't use enough flux, your piece may become discolored or corroded after being fired in an oven. Next, place an insulator between your work area and its surrounding environment. An insulator keeps heat inside the kiln chamber so that it doesn't escape prematurely—if all the heat escapes from your kiln before firing can take place, then none will remain when each batch goes into its final stages (such as cooling down).
When you blow into a bubble of molten glass, the air inside cools down and solidifies. This creates a hollow bubble that can be used as a decorative object.
When it comes to shaping glass, the most important thing is to remember that it’s a dynamic material. It doesn’t always take on the shape you want right away and can sometimes come out looking completely different than what you expected! That doesn’t mean your project will be ruined though—just keep trying until you get something that works!