International Year of Glass 2022

Information for schools

The school theme for National Science Week in 2022 is Glass: More than meets the eye. It is based on the UN International Year of Glass. It will celebrate the many roles that glass plays in our lives – from phone screens to optical fibre to glassware in labs – plus investigating glass as a part of our sustainable future. The uses for and intrinsic nature of glass in science make it a suitable topic for investigation across all strands of science education.

At Perth Art Glass we would like to share some resources for schools wishing to explore this subject in the classroom.

How Glass is Made

It is a chemical compound made from raw (natural) materials – silica sand, soda ash and limestone – which is melted at high temperature (1500°C) to form glass. To create coloured glass

To create coloured glass the glass maker must add minerals to the glass. This is often done by adding some powdered oxides, sulphides, or other compounds of that metal to the glass while it is molten.

The information on the right shows which minerals are used to make which colours.

close up of three piece lancet window with yellow cross and blue green background

Cadmium Sulphide: Yellow

Gold Chloride: Red

Cobalt Oxide: Blue-Violet

Manganese Dioxide: Purple

Nickel Oxide: Violet

Sulphur: Yellow-Amber

Chromic Oxide: Emerald Green

Uranium Oxide: Fluorescent Yellow, Green

Iron Oxide: Greens and Browns

Selenium Oxide: Reds

Carbon Oxides: Amber-Brown

Antimony Oxides: White

Copper Compounds: Blue, Green, Red

Tin Compounds: White

Lead Compounds: Yellow

Once the coloured glass is made in the furnace it must be formed in to a flat sheet. There are many ways this is done and we stock glass from suppliers using different methods. Below are some informative videos by our suppliers that show glass being produced.

Lamberts Glass

Lamberts, a company based in Germany, use a traditional mouth blown technique to create their glass.

Website with Production Information and How it’s Made Video


Wissmach use a combination of glass makers to create and move the molten glass around and machinery rollers.

Video on How it’s Made


At Oceanside, their modern factory uses robotic equipment in nearly all aspects of glass making.

Video on How it’s Made

Fun Facts about Glass

It takes more than 1 million years for glass to decompose inside dumps and landfills but can be recycled forever. Also, it is more cost-effective to reuse and recycle glass than to create from scratch.

Glass can naturally form when sand is struck by lightening because of the high temperatures.

Glass is not a solid, liquid or a gas. When cooled, glass forms an “amorphous solid” that allows molecules within the glass to continue moving around.

When Glass Breaks, the Cracks Move at approx 4800kph (3000mph)

How We Make Windows

There are many ways that coloured glass can be formed into windows and screens. At Perth Art Glass we use traditional stained glass techniques of leadlight, copperfoil and fusing.


Leadlight are decorative windows made of small sections of glass supported in lead cames. Evidence of stained glass windows have been documented in British monasteries as early as the 7th century, with the earliest known reference being 675 AD when Benedict Biscop commissioned French workmen to create the stained glass for the windows of the monastery of St Peter.

Steps of Creating a Leadlight Window

1. Creating a life size design of the window or panel. This is usually created digitally and printed.

2. Choosing the glass that is right for the design

3. Cutting each piece of glass in the design. Class is cut by hand and sometimes a grinder is used to grind the piece to the precise shape needed.

4. The edge of the window is attached to a workbench with wooden support.

5. The glass pieces are connected to each other by slotting the glass into lead came.

6. The came is solded at all joints to keep the design in place.

7. The gaps between the lead and glass in filled with putty of cement to ensure the window is weather proof.

stained glass window being constructed on printed design on table. The glass and lead are being help in place with blue blocks and nails.


The copperfoil technique of using copperfoil to connect the glass instead of lead came was created by Louis Comfort Tiffany in the late 19th century. Copperfoil uses a similar technique to leadlight. Instead of slotting the glass into lead came, each piece of glass has it’s edges wrapped in copperfoil and then the pieces are soldered together along all joins.

The advantages of copperfoil are that designs can be more intricate, the panels are lighter and 3d stained glass structures such as lamp shades can be created.

In the picture to the right you can see the copper foil has been wrapped around each piece of glass and the person is painting flux over the joins. The flux removes oxide from the copper which creates a neater join that prevent oxidisation in the future.

person applying flux to copperfoil piece


Glass fusing is the heating of two or more pieces of glass in a kiln to join the glass together into one piece. There is archaeological evidence that the Egyptians were familiar with glass fusing techniques ca. 2000 BCE.

– Glass and glass products are usually stacked and placed into the kiln.

– To create fused glass, the glass used in one piece must be compatible. The manufacturer of the glass does extensive testing to make sure the glass they sell will be compatible.

– If glass that isn’t compatible is fused together it make break upon cooling or have stress at the joins making it more likely to break later.

– Producing functional pieces generally requires 2 or more separate firings, one to fuse the glass and a second slump to shape it.

– If the glass is fused to a low temperature it will fuse without losing its shape but at high temperatures it will fuse to a uniform piece that is 6mm thick.

people arranging glass platters on the kiln bed


Mosaics are images or patterns created by gluing pieces of stone, glass or ceramics to a backing board, wall or board. “Mosaics have a long history, starting in Mesopotamia in the 3rd millennium BC. Pebble mosaics were made in Tiryns in Mycenean Greece; mosaics with patterns and pictures became widespread in classical times, both in Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome.”

Glass Mosaics can be created from small irregular pieces or pieces can be cut into the correct shape with tools. Once the design is cut, it is glued into position and grouted. Grout is a mixture of water, sand and cement and its purpose is to fill the gaps and seal the piece.

two people installing three mosaic glass panels of religious figures on the exterior of a church

More Information

Unfortunately we are not able to accommodate school visits or demonstrations. We hope that these links will help you find some organisations that are able to help spread the great work of glass this year.

National Science Week

National Science Week Events WA

International Year of Glass

Glass Classroom Activities