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Read More Articles
The Future of Borosilicate 2010
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Guidelines for Effective Dichro Use
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2008 Eugene Flame-Off


Guidelines for Effective Dichro Use

Dichro’s reactivity to heat varies from coating to coating as well as piece to piece from the same sheet. The direction you stretch the coating will also affect the out come. Also coatings will vary from batch to batch, and of course by manufacturer.

The best way to understand dicro is to do your own research. It is most important to learn the properties of the coatings you wish to work with. Order sample packs, do experiments and take very good notes. You may have to search around for sample packs. Glasscraft Inc., of Colorado, has Dichroic Alchemy sample packs. They can be reached at 888.272.3830.

For more in depth information on dichroic visit or Both sites offer back round information about their coatings, photo’s, distributor contact info, and great FAQ sections.

The top, middle, and bottom thirds of the sheet offer color variations. This is due to variations of thickness of the coating from the top of the sheet to the bottom. Again the amount of variation depends on the coating, and manufacturer.

Some coatings have a Bulls eye type color variation; this is also due to the coating process. This is important to remember when using sample packs for experimenting. Different parts of the same sheet offer slight variation.

Some coatings have a grain to them. The finished product will differ depending on which direction you stretch the grain. Stretch with the grain and the dicro will generally break up unevenly into chunks throughout the cane. When you stretch against the grain the dicro will stretch further with less distortion, and tends to break up evenly throughout the cane and forms little “needles”. This varies greatly from coating to coating.

Some coatings are so thick that when heated quickly in the flame from room temperature the coating will flake off the glass, it looks like glitter. You can remedy this by placing it in the kiln and raising the temperature to 1050 degrees for 5-10 min. before use. These coatings are a little touchy but offer some of the nicest visual effects. Research with the manufacturer before you order.

Always clean the dicro before use. Oil of any sort, especially from your fingers will create areas on the surface of the dicro which will “reduce” in the flame. In these areas the dicro just doesn't come out as vibrant.

You must preheat the dicro before using it for decoration. Weather you put it in the kiln, or flash heat the glass side in the flame, you are looking for the same characteristic known as “crazing” A new piece of dicro has a mirror finish, if you expose it to the flame directly it will most likely turn to ash very quickly. “Crazed” dicro looks cracked up and becomes more resilient against burn out in this crystalline state, even from direct flame exposure.

Dichroic tends to sparkle best if the dicro is worked in the cooler more oxidizing end of the flame. If white hot glass is applied to the surface of the dicro it will vaporize into a dull gray ash.

Dichroic will transmit and reflect light best under a minimum of 3mm of glass in the finished form. Though it is definitely nicer and can stretch further under thicker encasement, this is due to the top layer acting as a heat sink.

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