Ways & How

how to make glass beads

how to make glass beads

The key to glass bead making is to choose a compatible glass that will expand when heated and contract when cooled in the same way. The mistakes in how to make glass beads will be manifested when cracks occur. Always protect yourself during the process. Remember that you are dealing with fire, and accidents can occur. Put fire extinguishers in place and wear fire-proof gear and accessories. Do the following steps with caution:

  1. Prepare a burner capable of producing 1700 degree of flame. Expose the glass rod into the flame by alternative movements. Slowly expose and extract the glass rod from the fire to heat the rod evenly.

  2. The glass rod heating will be enough when on the end of the rod there’s a molten ball being formed. Continue to rotate the glass rod at a slower pace.

  3. The steel mandrel must be heated up. It’s understood that it has been dipped into the bead sludge prior to heating it up. This is important because by doing so, the glass will not be sticking to the mandrel, and the bead can also be removed easily.



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  4. While gradually turning the mandrel, start to cover the molten glass around it. The covering process must be continuous following a disc-shape layering making each layer on top of the other.

  5. The shaping of the bead plump has something to do with the intensity of the flame and natural gravity. An evenly proportioned, donut-like shape can be attained by continuously rotating the mandrel as it touches the flame.

  6. When you are happy with the base bead, other details of the design can now be implemented. Dots on the surface can be done by using a heated tip of another glass rod and pushing it carefully against the bead head. One you’ve made the mark, take the tip out gently and clean up protruding glass by melting it using the flame.

  7. Add more marks to complete your design and make it look even on all sides.

  8. Create well-polished marks or designs by heating them up for smoother results.

  9. Do not fail to apply uniform heat to all sides of your bead. You can do this by creating slow spins alternatively for a few seconds. The result will be finely shaped beads that are crack free.

  10. Review your markings if they are clearly embedded. If not, you can re-do the dots by tracing the original tracks. Proceed to heating up the bead again to polish the newly applied traces.

  11. Once you’re done with your design, cool the bead by taking it out from the flame. True colors in some instances are only visible when the molten glow vanishes. It will only take few seconds to let the bead cool down.

  12. Examine the finished bead and see if it is properly heated and hardened. It must look clean from excess molds. Remove the bead from the mandrel and make sure that the released bead has been cleaned from the outside surface and also inside the bead holes and marks.

How to make glass beads was a 17th century trade secret although society has been using glass beads for over 2,000 years. They are used mainly as ornaments and accessories. Lampwork, or the so-called wound beads, are glass beads that are produced using a flame fueled by oil in a lamp with the molten glass coiled onto the rod. This is perhaps another experiment to try after mastering making glass beads from the standard burners normally used for the process.

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