Glass, SCA Life

Making Purple Frets

At Crystal Chamfron, I started work on a project I wanted to do for a while, making award medallions.

When I received my purple fret, I got a belt favor.  It was one of my prize possessions for a while.  I am not inclined to wear a lot of regalia so I only wear my Dragon’s heart now.

But I felt that people would like a special token for their awards and the Purple Fret is both possible to do in glass and important to me.

For this project, I decided that a 2″ in diameter circle is a good size.

First, cut the glass to 2.5″ by 2.5″ squares.  As a reminder, fused glass wants to be about 1/4″ thick.  I need to cut the yellow glass for the normal background of a purple fret and another color to provide the additional thickness.  I chose white because it is cheap and I had it.


The next step is to make circles.  You can do this by hand but there are special tools to make it easier and more accurate.  For this, I used a lens cutter.


I cut all the white circles and most of the yellow circles before I ran out of yellow glass.

To do the knot part of the purple fret, I used noodles.  Glass noodles are like linguine.  They come in 16″ lengths and about 1/8″ thick.  I played around with the placement to make the knot.  I was asked, “could I make it look interweaved like the drawn image?”  The answer is “yes with a but.”  Some of those lines are pretty small and manipulating small pieces of glass is tricky.  I compromised and did the following.

The “square” of the knot is made up of 1″ lengths.  The “x” of the knot is 2″ lengths.  Here I am cutting the noodle into the smaller pieces I need.

There is specialty glass glue to temporary join the glass together.  Fusing is needed to permanently make it one piece.  But that said, plain Suave Extra Hold Hairspray actually works better than that specialty glue.  Here I am spraying the hairspray onto the yellow circles before moving the purple noodle pieces.

Since the purple pieces intersect each other, I need to build them up in layers.  I start with one of the long pieces and two short ones.  Bisect the circle with the long piece and get the short pieces half way between the long piece and the circle edge.  It will look a little like a Deadpool icon 🙂

By this point, the hairspray is going to start to get tacky.  I use my exacto blade to more precisely move the pieces around until they are where I want them.


Not shown is hitting the piece with more hairspray.  But now I am adding the cross pieces to make the square part of the knot.  Again, I use the exacto blade for precision.  Also not shown is adding the last long piece but the process is the same.  Spray more hairspray, place the long piece going perpendicular to the first long piece.  Use the exacto knife to move the piece precisely.  Then put the piece aside for the hairspray to dry.

I wrapped the pieces in paper loosely but securely.  I often have trouble going from my house to the glass store to fuse.  The “glued” pieces tend to slide around with the bumps and such on the road.  However, I was surprised by how few pieces got out of place going from basically St Louis to Champaign (~3 hour drive).

The next step hasn’t happened yet but then I will cut lengths (~1/2″) of heavy wire to be a ring for the medallion.  The wire will then be hairsprayed between the white glass back and the yellow glass front.  In the kiln, the wire will sink in the glass as it fuses and be a permanent part of the medallion.

I expect to be done in time to give these to Their Majesties by Martial RUM or Simple Day at the latest.


Finished product right to gift.

By and large, I am happy with them.  I could paint the lines on but I am not sure that would help.  I might try to replicate the knot better in the future.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *