Category Archives: Technical

104 COE Glass Color Studies – Bead Sets Part 1

I’ve begun writing about my recent color studies over at Watch Me Create.  Here is another segment of what I’ve been doing while creating inventory for Bead & Button show.  (come see me in booth 1248…I believe I’m between JCHerrell/Cathy Lybarger and Wayne Robbins).

I’ve stocked up on focal beads and since I have an eight foot table at this show (two more feet than I’m used to) I thought I would work up some bracelet sized set beads.  I also don’t know what this buying crowd is like so I want to have something for everyone. But, on to the color studies…  I am continuing on with my stacked, layered dots.  I started out with the idea of sets before I jumped on the color studies wagon and this is what I came up with:

aqua stacked dot beads

Simple, one color stacked dots.  Aqua and below, purple:

purple stacked dot beads

I was feeling the need for a little more structure, afterall, that’s how production work gets done fast…you’re not always thinking of what to design, what colors to use, what shapes are good, etc.  You just pick a design and make a bunch.  So that’s when I decided to do progressions of color and while I was at it, document it as I go.

color studies

I have an obsession lately with turquoise and green.  But not just any turquoise and green.  In my usual fashion I wanted it to be different than any other turquoise and green that anyone else was doing.  Pretty tall order since relatively, the glass palette is limited.  So, I set out on my studies layering colors.  As you can see above, this was not a successful trip although I can say it’s not like other colors you’re seeing, I don’t think.  A few more trials though and this is what I decided to focus on:

turquoise and green color studies

It still wasn’t perfect but it was ok.  While I liked the olive color that I achieved, it wasn’t what I was going for in this set.  I tweaked the layers of glass and settled on this:

turquoise green glass beads

Muuuuch better, yes?  I also made them in reverse with green being the first layer and turquoise being the second.  Next, I decided I’d like to do purple and green.  So off again I went to do the testing before I committed to a whole set:

color studies

Here you can see that sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t.  The good news is that after you get the hang of how certain colors work together your testing time is cut down a lot.  After these tests (and a few more not shown) this is what I came up with:

purple green glass beads

And again, I did the reverse:

purple green glass beads

So, this is getting a bit long and I do need to get out to the torch as this is my last week of preparation for the show.  Be sure to subscribe to the blog in a reader or sign up to get it by email because I’m going to show you how these studies progressed to even more colors as well as a little insight as to why these spacers are not your regular spacers.

Issues with fusing different glass beads.

Here is the next batch of fused beads:

fused slumped glass beads

Would this technically be called slumping? I mean, technically it’s not slumping, I know. It’s ‘kiln formed’. Either way…is that what I’m doing rather than fusing? The batch above used a different firing schedule and as you can see, they’re much thinner and spread out.

fused slumped kiln formed cabsI like the thinner version. It will make silver pieces lighter and gives a lot more surface area. I need to adjust the size of beads I’m starting with though, for rings. These are great for pendant pieces.

This one is my favorite of the bunch. It started as a very large bead that had heavy layers of transparent. Even though it has been thinned, you can see deep into it and as you move it you can see the shadows of the dots on the surface. I’m seeing this as a pendant but trying to think of something creative to do with the setting.

slumped kiln formed glass bead pendant

See how nice and thin it is?

fused slumped kiln formed cabochon

And this is what a Zoozii nugged turns into:

fused zoozii nugget

This was the size that comes in the combo nugget/straight sided lentil tool. The uniformity is nice. I think good ring size here.

fused zoozii nugget bead

Here’s what I learned with this round…Hollow beads are not fuse/slump/kiln form-friendly. At least not at this fast melt rate. See those bubbles that formed? And popped? The turquoise one wasn’t even a closed hollow. One side of it was open. But air got trapped and fought furiously to escape. It won.

slumped hollow beads

If you don’t clean your hole well enough you will get a line down the middle. At least that’s what I think happened because there are others that don’t show it. Opaque beads are fine…it won’t show. However I believe that if you leave a lot of release in there it will work its way to the surface. And we don’t want that.

mandrel line in fused cab

I also learned that you really need to clean your glass. Hi temperature firing does not burn off finger prints…I don’t think. I did clean the beads first but there is some type of intermittent film on the surface of the cabs. I’m not sure if the prints were on the glass rods before making the beads or if it’s a residue on the beads that I didn’t get cleaned off all the way. So that is in my ‘to look into’ bin.

Any comments are welcome! Sticking to my ‘self-taught’ rule, no classes or books are being consulted…so you, along with lots of trial, error and practice, are my teachers.

Calculate Paypal and Credit Card Fees Easily

I’m in the midst of a project that requires me to collect payment from many people.  I am offering payment through PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, AmEx and Discover cards.  I don’t charge extra for fees for these payments when I’m selling my beads and jewelry but for this type of project, I’m not making money so, I need to make sure I recover the fees that these methods tack on.

You may already know about this but I didn’t.  A quick internet search turned up this site:

You just put in the amount you are sending and it will calculate the fees for you.  Complete with the $.30 surcharge and the appropriate percentage (2.9%) for Paypal.  It will also let you calculate the amount that you want to receive and build the fees into that, by clicking the “reverse calculate” tab.

If you ever do a group project or a bulk buy, this site is a must-remember resource!