How to make glass lampwork beads at home
Lampwork Beads – How to Make Them At Home
By: Steve Bee
The art of lampworking beads dates back over 2,000 years and originally were made over an oil lamp flame hence its name. The easiest type to make is the wound glass type and anyone including a beginner can be able to make.
For commercial factories and individual hobbyists, a specially designed propane torch which sits on a table top is used. You too need this stand alone propane torch to be able to make modern glass beads.
First you need to get hold of several glass bead rods in your colour choice. Then you also need a mandrel or stainless steel rod which is dipped into the beads to come up with a product that does not stick together.
This now brings you to working with the fire itself. To get started dip the glass cane end into the flame to allow it heat up slowly. As the glass melts, keep turning the cane around between your fingers at the same time ensure the blob does not fall off.
Immediately it will start melting into a molten lump at the end of the glass cane. Continue turning until it achieves the shape and size of a miniature marble.
The next thing you do is to put the steel rod into the flame thus heating it; continually focus on the exact spot along its length where you place the already molten glass. Continue turning the glass can and steel rod with the molten blob up until the rot is heated up.
Make a strand by pulling the steel rod by laying it to the molten glass. This makes it longer. Use this strand to wrap it around the rod to form the actual bead. Continue turning the mandrel and by use of gravity, you will be able to form a bead with a sphere around it.
Once done, you need to cut the molten glass strand from the solid or un-melted glass cane by holding it over the flame. Put the mandrel back to the flame and continue turning it so that the bead shape becomes round and the rough edges are eliminated thus getting a smoothly finished bead.
At this stage you can start adding your different colours to the beads through melting thin glass whilst adding the molten blob to the bead. Keep adding the colour blobs to the beads one at a time. Ensure you keep the bead over the flame as much as you can so that the glass does not cool down too much.
Remember to hold the bead that you have added your contrasting colours and keep turning it. This flattens the blobs at the same time creating unique patterns. If it interests you, you can use a metallic awl on the hot blobs to create interesting shapes to the actual bead core.
To seal the designs in clear finished glass and give the pieces a better and greater depth, melt the tip of the clear glass rod and wind the glass strand over the bead top for a awesome finish.
Since you want to achieve a smooth and more rounded bead, continue turning it in the flame. Once this is done, put the bead in the annealing kiln together with the mandrel overnight. This is no rocket science and one bead at a time makes lampwork bead a miniature piece of work.
Article Source: ArticleCube.com
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