Handmade Glass Baubles
To discover the secrets of how we make our unique and personalised glass baubles, scroll down the page.
How We Make Glass Christmas Baubles
Gathering Glass From The Furnace
To create a glass bauble, our Glassblowers start by taking a hot 'Blowing Iron', and dipping it into a pot filled with molten glass within our furnace. The furnace takes 2-3 days to reach it's operating temperature of just over 1000'C, so it is left on all the time.
The molten glass will adhere to the Blowing Iron, and once a suitable amount has been gathered, the Blowing Iron and molten glass are removed from the furnace to apply the desired colours.
The history of the lucky glass bauble is very funny, because it goes back a long time before the Christmas bauble was introduced by Queen Victoria's husband for the Christmas tree, The glass bauble is a good pratice piece for the apprentice glass blowers. The hierarcy of the workshop was much stricter in the past and the apprentices had to be glass blowing assistants for at least five years before they were allowed to blow products. So when the master glass blowers left the workshop at night, the apprentices would grab the blowing irons of the masters and blow baubles. The baubles would need to annel in the oven overnight as glass needs to cool slowly if it does not it cracks, The next morning the apprentices would arrive early to remove the evidence and juggle them into a secret place the ones that survived would be deemed lucky and were given to wives and mothers to hang in there window. So that is the begining of the lucky bauble.
Applying Colour To The Glass
The molten glass is dipped into shards of brightly coloured glass, which is known as Frit. The shards of Frit sticks to the molten glass, and must be melted into the glass. The Glassblower will do this by placing the glass into a 'Reheat Furnace', also known as the 'Glory Hole' for a short period.
Shaping & Blowing The Glass Bauble
Once the Frit has been melted in, and the glass is hot enough to be malleable, the glassblowers will use a wet paper pad to centralise the glass on the Blowing Iron.
The Glassblower will then blow into the Blowing Iron, which will turn the solid blob of glass into a hollow bauble. If the glass is not centralised properly, the bauble will become lopsided and uneven during the blowing process.
The process of heating, shaping and blowing is repeated until the Glassblower is satisfied that the bauble is ready for removal from the Blowing Iron. It can take between 5-10 minutes, depending on the size of the bauble.
We pride ourselves on using this using this traditional glassblowing technique - we never use moulds at Bath Aqua Glass.
Removing The Bauble From The Blowing Iron
The Glassblower will prepare the bauble for removal from the blowing rod by using a set of Jacks, which consist of two metal blades joined by a spring-like handle. The Jacks are used to shape and score the glass, which creates a weak point. The glass is allowed to cool slightly, and then the Blowing Iron is struck with a wooden baton. The shock from the impact causes the bauble to break off from the Blowing Rod at the weak point created by the Jacks.
Adding A Glass Loop
A small blob of molten glass is gathered from the furnace, and carefully placed onto the top of the bauble, covering the hole left by the Blowing Iron. This is then gently stretched and cut, leaving a short stem of glass. A strong pair of tweezers is then used to twist the stem into a loop, which is used for hanging
The finished glass Christmas bauble will be placed into a kiln overnight, to slowly cool down, which prevents stress fractures from forming in the glass.
After the bauble has cooled down overnight, the Glassblower will hand sign each bauble with 'Bath' and the year it was crafted. A ribbon and label are attached, and our glass Christmas baubles are then ready for sale.
If you would like to personalise your bauble, you can add your own engraving information during the ordering process. Your personal message will be engraved using a template and sandblaster to etch the glass, this means that it can be put on in a script of your choice in the position of your choosing, for more information on the personalisation process please visit our Engraving Page.
Buy A Glass Bauble
Our Baubles are sold in many different colours, and designs and can be purchased in one of 3 ways:
Blow Your Own Bauble
To make for an extra special personalised gift, you can blow into one of our baubles as it is being created, and then specify a personalised hand engraving around the top.
This can be done as part of our Interactive Glass Blowing Demonstrations, which take place Monday to Saturday at our Walcot Street studio. Our demonstrations are very popular and fill up fast during the holiday and festive periods, therefore it is highly recommended that you contact us to confirm availability prior to arrival. If you have any enquiries, please use the contact form at the bottom of this page.