Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Perfect round bead again and again ...

I had posted this tutorial some time last year on Lampwork Etc, and decided that it was time that it was moved to my Blog! This is just a small tutorial how I am able to achieve the same sized round beads again and again ... If you use the standard information to make a round bead, you really need to melt the dinges out of the glass for it to spread on the mandrel enough to make a round bead vs. a doughnut shaped bead. This is where frustration lead me. I normally never use any tools while making a bead, no marver, etc. except for my mashers when I want a round or tube shape.

My tools that I use is just a parallel masher, my trusty surgical scalpel and my torch. AND the bottom part of a brass press!

Step 1:Make a small disk on your mandrel. I normally do about 3 - 4 windings of fairly thin glass.

Step 2:Melt the disk into a small doughnut, allow the glass to melt well onto the mandrel to set a nice footprint.

Step 3:Take your mashers and press lightly, turn the mandrel 180 degrees, and press the same amount, so you end up with a square/rectangular bead. By pressing the same weight, you will spread your glass evenly on the mandrel, to secure an even footprint. Then I normally turn the mandrel about 90 degrees and press again, turn 180 degrees and turn. if the glass is still soft enough, I will continue to press and turn, take the mandrel back into the flame to heat up the gather a bit, and press, turn, press, you get the idea ...

Step 4:Now to make sure that your footprint is wide enough, I place the mandrel over the base plate of a press and measure one of the hollows that I would like my round bead to be. If I need to get the footprint a bit wider, I repeat the press process for a bit, measuring it every now and then. After a few beads, I can eyeball the width quite easily so that I do not really need to measure and press the whole time.

Step 5:Now I need to load more glass onto the footprint bead. Again, rather start with to little, rather than too much glass. (it's much easier to add than remove glass!)

Step 6:Melt it in. You will notice that your footprint is now slightly narrower than it was when you had placed the original footprint down. I loose about 2 mm in width doing this. Eyeball the top and bottom curve of your bead. If it is too narrow, you will have sharp edges on you bead holes. If you have too much of a curve, you will end up with a not round bead, but lovely dimples. I aim to get somewhere between these 2 extremes.

Step 7:Now you have a neat round bead that you will be able to reproduce time and again. Remember that when you add glass for decoration, you might loose your neat roundness, so start with a bit of a not 100% round bead before adding decorations, should you aim for round!

Step 8: Pop bead into the kiln!

Problem solving:Should you have difficulty to obtain neat edges in step 3 and 4, use a sharp knife/blade and cut about 1,5 mm from the edge of the undercut to push the glass to the edge and level to the rest of the footprint. If you do this closer to the edge of the glass footprint, you will end up with an uneven edge again!

9 comments:

Karen said...

thank you , I have not tried round beads yet, your instructions are nice and clear

angelinabeadalina said...

Nice idea with the squared off bead and then adding more glass to get the round. I suck at beads...no patience, but have felt the urge to try again lately. Methinks, I will remember your tips!

Cindy Gimbrone said...

Nicely written tutorial. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

Cindy

s hyler said...

In the photo above this in your blog the beads are stacked on top of each other, I am curious I always keep my beads from touching, will it hurt to let them touch while in the kiln. I am pretty new to bead making and I didn't know if the beads could touch or if you just had them stacked for the photo.
I love your blog,
Sandra

Diana Ferreira said...

Thank you all for your lovely comments! And a big thank you for reading my blog!
Sandra, You are right - a just torched bead could still be too hot when placed in the kiln, and get stuck on onter beads. When I put a bead in the kiln, I make sure that it does not touch another bead, but by the time I add the next bead, I move my previously added beads closer together, to have more space, and I love the neat rows of beads looking at me!

Moon of Glass said...

An interesting method - I start out very similarly, but I don't square off and measure like you do. I'll have to give it a try!

formfireglassworks said...

Another great tut! I am definitely going to try your method and see how it works for me - thanks!

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