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I found an amazing product online and my only qualm with it was that it came with plastic containers (I try to avoid plastic when dealing with food as much as I can). I asked the company if they plan on making a version using glass but they said no.

Is there a way that I could create the exact same shape as the original containers (just the bottom part) but out of glass?

If I wanted to do this on my own:

  1. What are techniques I could use?
  2. How/where could I find materials and/or tools?
  3. Are all types of glass "Food Safe"? I know there are different types of glass for different things.

EDIT: I personally do not have much experience with glasswork (I blew glass ornaments in a class once) so would you recommend outsourcing this instead?

Is there any difference (besides price) in going to a company with a commission of this kind over going to an individual artist?

Also: Cost is not an inhibitor to me. I value my health as it is with me all my life, and I can always make more money.

  • Have you ever worked with hot glass? – rebusB Sep 27 '17 at 21:25
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    Probably the food safe question belongs in its own thread... – rebusB Sep 28 '17 at 3:58
  • What exactly is the issue with plastic in this case? They claim that the plastic is food safe, BPA free and recyclable. – walrus Sep 28 '17 at 9:02
  • @walrus, I read a book about plastic (as well as talked to chemical engineering friends) and BPA free and food safe aren't good enough declarations. Glass is a guarenteed inert substance. You can read an article (by the author of the book) about it here – Wimateeka Sep 28 '17 at 13:03
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    Seems like it would be easier to create a similar lunchbox in a size which fits already existing glass containers than to try to create glass containers in the size needed by this lunchbox. Collect a set of glass containers with approximately the same size relationships to each other as the plastic containers in this product. Then scale the lunchbox design to fit those containers and craft it out of leather, wood or resin. Lot less work and the food-contacting containers are all industrial quality glass. – Henry Taylor Sep 28 '17 at 14:45
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Unless you are familiar with working with hot glass you would be better off seeking an glassworker to do this for you.

There are a few ways you could replicate the container: different kinds of casting or slumping (heating glass to soften it and letting gravity take over) but they are complicated, involve specialty tools and materials, and 1200°F-2000°F glass. Not something you could do on your own, unless you do glass working.

That being said there are plenty of glass artists around. Try to find a studio in your area. Art schools would also be a good place to find someone to do this for you. It would be an excellent exercise for a student in the glass dept.

A web search for "custom glass container manufacturing" has a few hits, but they are about making longer production runs like specialty bottles for a distiller. If money is no object you might convince them to do it.

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    Yeah, this seems like something that would have to be made of some sort of special glass (Pyrex?) to be sturdy enough to be carried around as a lunch box. – Catija Sep 27 '17 at 23:50
  • That is why I was thinking slumping, which in not quite as intense or complicated a process as casting. Precision would be an issue though. – rebusB Sep 28 '17 at 4:03
  • Pyrex may have the benefit of avoiding annealing as well, not 100% sure. It would not have to be structural since it nests in the lunchbox. I would imagine a sheet of it would be pretty expensive though, if even available in that form. – rebusB Sep 28 '17 at 4:23
  • My original question asked about whether I should outsource and where I could find a company/artist to do this, but it was edited by an admin. – Wimateeka Sep 28 '17 at 12:51
  • @Wimateeka - yeah, that is why I suggested a glass artist. Added another bit, maybe it helps? Or talk to the original lunchbox company, maybe they could work with you to help source glass ones. – rebusB Sep 29 '17 at 14:46
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Your question about whether all glass is food safe got me to wondering myself. I found this answer regarding fused glass:

The official answer from the glass manufacturers is, All tested compatible glasses have been tested by the FDA for food bearing surfaces and were determined to be suitable.However, if you add other processes or compounds to the items, for example paint, stains, decals, glazes, etc. it is important to check that these items are also approved for food bearing surfaces...Also, at Delphi we take food safety and dinnerware very seriously. We always recommend that certain glasses are capped with clear. These are usually irids, dichro and glass with texture, since these can also trap food particles.

The concerns raised here regarding fused glass would also apply to blown glass, as pretty much the same glass is used for both types of glassworking, only the starting shapes are different (glass stringers vs. glass sheets).

So basically, whichever way you created your final product (slumping/fusing would probably work best here), you would want to encapsulate any colored glass or decorative elements within a coating of clear glass to ensure food safety.

In addition, the article quoted above points out:

it is of the utmost importance that dinnerware items be properly annealed, especially if youre going to place hot food on them - the thermal shock could cause a break in poorly annealed items.


I am sure that you could find someone to make this product for you--however, keep in mind that it is likely to be quite expensive. Most glassware is manufactured in industrial factories, making it fairly cost-effective. But, whether you did it yourself, or found someone to do it for you, hand-making individual glass dishes is going to be quite a bit more expensive.

Just for fun, I did a quick look to try and figure out what your cost might be. Based on the prices (in US dollars) on this website:

  1. A mold for forming your dish (this one isn't exactly right, but it is as close as I could find on this website-$24.89:

enter image description here

  1. a 9" circle of clear glass-$15.90

enter image description here

  1. A kiln-$715.91 (this is my best guess--as a very novice glassworker--about the least expensive kiln that will handle your project)

enter image description here

So, to make one of these containers yourself, it appears that you would have to pay $756.70 for the first container. Additional containers would be a comparative steal at only $15.90 a piece.

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  • The food safety factor with blown glass depends on the batch used: furnaces are usually fed from a mix of raw materials, not just cold glass, and the some mixes have arsenic. The colored glass that gets added can contain toxins too which is why a clear coat is recommended above. – rebusB Sep 28 '17 at 4:17

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