|6. Keep heating your glass until a molten blob forms
on the end. You will need to continuosly spin your
glass rod to prevent it from dripping off the hot glass.
|7. Once you have a nice sized blob of hot glass on your
glass rod, slowly heat up your stainless steel mandrel.
With practice, your hands will become accustomed to this
twirling dance of both mandrel and glass rod.
|8. Now you can wrap the molten glass around
the mandrel while slowly turning the mandrel.
Let the heat and gravity do the work.
|10. Use the flame and gravity to shape the bead into a
nice donut shape, while continuing to spin the mandrel.
|11. Now you are ready to add your design. This is
where your pre-made stringers will come in handy.
Heat the stringers very slowly, and only heat the tip.
A good thing to remember is to heat only the amount
of stringer you want to apply to your bead. You will
also continue to hold your bead in the higher flame
to keep it warm and prevent it from cracking.
|12. Continue all the way around the bead with your design.
Try not to keep your bead out of the flame for great
lengths of time while you apply your design. These
perwinkle blue dots will become the bottom background
for my bubbles. Heat the bumps until they are completely
attached to the base bead.
|In making a bead the REAL first steps are to have the proper equipment, tools, and safety material.
Always wear protective glasses and clothing.
Have a fire extinguisher available at all times and cool water for any burns.
Have your work area properly ventilated and covered with the appropriate non flammable surfaces.
Read as much as you can on the lampworking process, take classes, and practice, practice, practice!!
Most of all just relax, listen to some great music, and HAVE FUN!!!
|18. Once again heat the design until it is nicely shaped
and evenly formed all the way around the bead.
On this step, you do not have to worry about heating
the bead too much and melting your design, our goal is
to melt the bumps we have created back down into a
|1. Start off by picking out the rods you will be working
with. I like to pull thin stringers of glass in the same color
for easier decorations. I do this all before starting on the
bead, so they will be ready and handy when I am ready to
apply the designs.
|2. You will need a pre-dipped mandrel, or stainless steel
rod. The bead release dipped onto the tip of the rod
helps the glass to not adhere to the stainless steel,
and also helps to remove the bead after it has been
annealed in the kiln.
|3. I lay out my tools before I start making my beads. I
will be making plunged bubbles in this particular bead
and this tool is a Tungsten pick. It has a nice sharp
point at the tip and the metal can stand up to a lot of
heat, perfect for the job!
|4. Time to fire up the torch!
|9. Use the flame to break the
string of glass away from your bead.
|13. Once I have the periwinkle dots finished, I melt them
in just slighly for a smooth finish. Now I am going to
apply a second layer of transparent amethyst over the
dots I have already created. This layering effect creates
a depth in the beads when I make my plunged bubbles.
|14. Apply your transparent color over the solid
colored bumps, and continue all the way around
|15. Once I have the second layer of bumps
finished I melt them down to a smooth finish.
|16. Now for the fun part, plunged bubbles! Spot heat each
of the bumps one at a time. When the bump gets red hot,
take your poking tool and plunge it into the glass.
Continue the plunging all the way around your bead.
Rember to keep your bead heated at all times, but not hot
enough to melt these plunged holes back in on themselves.
|17. Now it is time to cover the holes we just made! Heat
the tip of your glass rod just enough to leave a small ball of
glass as you cover each hole. I am using a thicker rod here
to create a bigger section of glass to cover each hole.
Continue covering all the plunged holes as you keep the
bead warm in the higher flame.
|Your bead should look something like this
after applying all three layers of your bumps,
with a plunged hole sandwiched inside!
|19. Use gravity and the flame to obtain a nice
round shape for your bead. You want to make
this one good, as it will be the final shape of
your base bead.
|21. For a nice and final touch I am going to apply raised
dots in between each plunged bubble that we have created.
I will be sure to heat these slowly as not to melt them in
all the way.
|And there you have it, a bumpy, plunged
bubble bead in periwinkle and amethyst purple!
|I always properly kiln anneal my beads over
night. If you want to use your beads in jewelry
designs or to sell, you should always anneal them!
Besides, it is so fun to open the kiln the next
morning to see all of the new glass goodies!