The Art of Making Glass Ornaments

Mouth blown, hand painted Glass Christmas ornaments have been a specialty at Susan’s Christmas Shop for 38 years, but for those who do not know how they are made, here is a description. I hope it will add to the pleasure you have in choosing them and in using them each year on your Christmas tree.

The first simple glass Christmas ornaments were made in cottages in Lauscha, which is located in eastern Germany. Now the blowing is done in modern factories. Here is a photo I took when I was visiting a German glass blowing factory, IngeGlas. In my opinion, it is the premier German glass ornament business, and both sides of the family have been in the glass business since the 1500’s.

Glass Blower

The glass this glass blower is blowing is clear. While the glass is molten, he uses a foot pedal to close over the soft glass bubble. When it is removed from the flame, the glass cools quickly, but it is completely clear at this point. So the glass-blower places the softened glass into a mold, places the open end of the glass tube in his mouth, and then blows steadily to force the softened glass into all the crevices of the mold.

clear glass

The clear glass shape is then set in sand to cool, and it is given a full day of rest before it is silvered. The long pike is still attached. A liquid silver solution is poured down the neck of the pike. Then it is stirred beneath very hot liquid for several minutes. This causes the silver to stick to the glass on the inside. Now the glass is reflective, like a mirror, and it will catch light and shine on your Christmas tree, but it could use a little color.

silvered glass

The pike continues its usefulness as a handle when the light weight ornament is dipped into a base coat of paint.

first color

The colors are painted by hand, one color at a time. The pike serves as a handle.

painting complete

When the painting is complete, the pike is cut and removed and the cap is inserted so that the ornament can be hung. The process from beginning to end takes a week to complete, every step by hand.

Six glass steps

Hope you enjoyed!

Susan Topp Weber

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