Glass blowing can be a fun and creative way to make money. This method can be used to produce a huge array of products, from easy, simple glassware to intricate works of art. If you’re interested in taking up this hobby or growing a business around it, here’s a guide to sourcing supplies.
The Glass Industry in 2022
The glass industry is mainly made up of large companies that manufacture sheets of glass for windows and other fixtures. However, glass blowing is a more specialized field with lots of independent artisans. It’s gained popularity in recent years thanks to shows like “Blown Away” on Netflix. There’s also a sustained demand for unique artisan glassware.
- READ MORE: Where to Sell Wholesale Craft Supplies
Top Places to Buy Glass Blowing Supplies for Your Business
As you build up your stock of glass, tools, and decorative items, there are tons of both online and in-person shops to try. Here’s a selection of top stores for glass blowers to source materials.
You can purchase basically anything on Amazon, including glass, heating elements, tubes, and accessories. Many items, including full starter kits, are available with free Prime shipping.
Etsy hosts tons of glass-blown products, as well as materials for makers. In addition to the tools and raw materials needed to stock your new venture, many makers sell glass scraps for discounted rates. This can be an ideal way to practice your craft or add unique pieces to your collection for cheap.
Walmart stocks a huge array of products, including some glass tubes and torch accessories. Most products are available online, but you may find a few in stores as well.
eBay offers a wide variety of glass-blowing tools and supplies from individual sellers. The marketplace features torches, presses, glass, and scraps. Many products are used, which can make them more affordable.
5. Wale Apparatus
Wale Apparatus offers a full stock of products for the glass and quartz industries. This includes tubing, rods, and safety gear. They manufacture their own products and can guide glass blowers to quality items.
6. Mountain Glass Arts
Mountain Glass Arts specializes in equipment for glass artists. They offer glass rods and tubes, along with larger items like heating elements and kilns. They even have larger pieces of equipment like lathes available for order.
7. Glass House Supply
Glass House Supply features a full selection of colorful glass and quality tools for independent artisans. It’s a small business based in California. So you can order products online and find unique, quality items.
8. Hot Glass Color
Hot Glass Color sells a variety of glassblowing supplies. But the shop specializes in colorful glass. The shop has a huge array of shades available to suit nearly any project.
HUB specializes in durable glass heating and melting equipment. They sell large kilns, ovens, pipe warmers, and more. The company also provides training and support for all of its products. So it may be an ideal option for those looking to invest in larger equipment who could use some help starting up.
10. American Glass Roots
American Glass Roots is a specialty online retailer that sells glass rods, tubes, and tools. They stock everything from tubing to torches. And they even have classes available for those looking to improve their skills or learn new techniques.
Essential Glassblowing Supplies
There are a variety of products you may need to build your stock of glassblowing supplies. Here are a few ongoing materials you may need to keep on hand.
Clear glass is the base for many glass-blowing items. It’s often sold in rods and tubes.
There are also colorful rods and tubes that can serve as the base of projects, or be used as accents.
Some glassblowers may integrate other materials like quartz or gold into their art as well.
Molds are generally shaped containers that hot glass is added to in order to harden into a specific form.
Stamps are similar, but they generally clamp down over a solid piece of glass to add a design.
If you use a torch or heating element for molding glass, you’ll need an ongoing supply of fuel like propane to provide power.
Paddles are small tools with a handle that and a rounded surface that glass blowers can use to shape various products. There are also shapers where glass can be rolled along a surface.
Glass Blowing Equipment and Tools for Business
There are also some larger pieces of equipment that may be useful to create unique items or maintain safety.
A kiln is a large heating element that is often used to make glass pieces moldable.
Torches can be used to heat smaller glass pieces or to mold individual parts of a larger project.
Claw grabbers are long arms used to grip glass pieces, especially as they’re pulled out of a kiln or heater.
Glass blowers generally need gloves, eye protection, and shields to prevent burns.
Pliers, cutters, and tweezers can be used for shaping small objects or adding intricate details to pieces.
Cooling blankets or pads made of heat-resistant materials like graphite are often used to hold glass products as they cool.
A blow hose is a tube you can use to add air inside molten glass to make it hollow or create unique designs.
How Does Glass Blowing Make Money?
Glass blowing can be a fun hobby or a full-time business. Artisans simply make money by finding customers willing to buy the pieces they produce. Smaller items like jewelry and glassware are often sold directly to consumers, while larger works of art may go to galleries.
How Much Money Can You Make From Glass Blowing?
Glass blowers can make anywhere from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. The amount varies based on your commitment to the craft, the price of products, and your ability to market effectively. The Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the median salary for fine artists like glass blowers at just over $50,000 a year.
Image: Envato Elements