Blow Your Ornament Ball (B.Y.O.B)

early cup

Ornaments! Hand blown ornaments! What’s better than that? Why, an ornament you helped to make of course!

At Stafford Art Glass, we teach each person one-on-one so you don’t have to wait for a class to fill to begin blowing glass. You will have one of our glassblowers take you through the process from start to finish in order to make your own handmade ornament!

Lights, Camera, Color!

There are a wide selection of colors for your piece, from brilliant opaques that look great on a tree, to gem-like transparent that look great as a suncatcher hanging in a window. If anything happens to your piece while making it, there is enough time in the schedule for quick “do-overs.” We want you to be able to make a piece you can be proud of!

What To Bring

It’s important that you wear cotton clothes. Any synthetic can melt, which isn’t very safe. Long sleeves are best, but we have arm protectors if need be. No shorts, and no open-toed shoes, pumps, high heels, or slick-bottomed shoes should be worn. Mostly, wear clothes you feel comfortable in, that will protect from temporary blasts of heat from furnaces and that you can walk comfortably in on a sometimes slick concrete floor.

How Much?

The cost of making an ornament is normally $31.00, but we are offering the ornament class for $24.00 now through December. Pay only once you pick up or have your piece delivered. We accept cash check or charge.

You Can’t Take It With You?

The glass that you make in our studio must first anneal in our ovens after being made, which means that your ornament will be ready for pickup the next morning. This is a necessary process that will give your glass durability and strength. If you live in Blacksburg, we are happy to deliver the following day. For anyone traveling a distance to us, we can ship your piece for the cost of shipping if coming back to us is inconvenient. Since we are experts in shipping glass safely, let us ship to you with the confidence that your piece will arrive safe and sound!

Family Friendly (With A Good Dose Of Safety)

Glassblowing is as fun as it’s educational. Age, though, can be a factor in how much people are able to participate in making their pieces. The smaller a child is, the less they are able to do safely in the studio with the glass and the tools we use. That said, we still will involve your child in as much as is safe for them and their level of development. Your safety is our utmost concern, so children under about age twelve may expect to choose their colors, help turn the pipe in the reheating furnace and then blow to inflate their ornament. The rest, we must do in order to keep smaller hands safe.

Older participants should expect to be able to a number of other steps in the making of their pieces such as “gathering” glass from the furnace if they are comfortable doing so, rolling the glass in colored “frit” to color the ornament, as well as reheating and blowing out the ornament. What we find is that children who are too small to really handle the tools and pipes well are actually happy to be included onto the blowing floor to see the furnaces up close and to see the process unfold without being as involved as the adults (glassblowing is an extreme art).

That said, we are more than happy to discuss any of these issues with you before you come to the studio. We have included easy ways to reach us under the header “Still More Questions?” section.

Blowing glass at the studio is a great opportunity to take photos and video of family and friends. We encourage you to bring your cameras and we are happy to show you some great angles for dramatic shots. As you can see in the photo below, getting behind the reheating furnace gives a special view into the glass making process. We encourage you to bring friends even if all they do is to come watch the process. This is a fun family-oriented experience where everyone learns a little something when they come.

A recent participant blowing glass in the studio (shot from behind the furnace)

Sign Me up!

First, you need to navigate to our calendar page. What follows is a quick primer on using the Booking Calendar.

If you are on a computer, the calendar page will show up to the right of this post. It’s very close to the top of the page. If you are looking at this on your phone, it will be closer to the bottom of the page, so scroll down until you see “Booking Calendar.” When you are at the Booking Calendar you will see a several month view first. Click on a day you would like to reserve. It will highlight. Lower down on your mobile (closer on your computer) you will see a drop-down menu with times divided into half-hour slots showing the times that are available for the day you just highlighted. Click on any slot time that is in black text. If the time slot is slightly greyed in color, it is a time that has been taken. You will need to repeat this process for each ornament that you would like to make. Each ornament will take between fifteen minutes to half an hour to make (cooling phase not included). You will also need to fill out your name, email and other contact information. Then you will need to fill out what is called a “CAPCHA” which is a security feature that lets the booking system know you aren’t a computer bot, and that’s all there is to it! Once completed, you will see a notice that tells you that your time has been submitted and we will approve the booking which should send you an email confirming the booking.

Still Have Questions?

Feel free to contact us directly. you can do this by logging on to Facebook and messaging us there on the link for our business page, (see link is in the next section below). If you want instant action, call or text us at (540) 605-0034.

Helping Us Spread The Word

We encourage our students to link their pictures taken to our business page on Facebook or Instagram #staffordartglass (both are searchable on those platforms under “Stafford Art Glass”). This helps our followers to see better the process and what your experience was like. It is also a great way for us to help spread the word, and in the world of small local businesses, it is a big help!

Our Recent Spot On WOAY News

Here is a recent spot that WOAY from Beckley WV that recently ran on their news channel featuring the studio and our ornament classes on their “One Tank Trip” series. They had a little fun with the video, but it is informative as well. Have a look!


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