How to Make Odd Shaped Beads.

s070716f1.jpg

At least, this is my version. It’s fun to layer different colors of transparent glass in odd, off balance ways and then press flat, letting the glass go where it may. This technique certainly works with opaque glass too, however, the layering of opaque colors will provide a more vivid, striated design, rather than a watery surface color.

First, lay down a light transparent color about 3/4″ long x 3/8″ diameter. I used clear because I like the stiffness of it and it also helps to water down subsequent colors.

lg080308a1.jpg

Next, wind or dot on on another transparent color, but don’t cover the whole surface of the clear. Use any method you’d like.

lg080308a2.jpg

Cover the rest of the bead with a complementary color that will blend in with the other colored transparent. You can overlap the first color or fill in between. Get creative! Melt the glass so the colors blend together.

lg080308a3.jpg

Next, take one of the transparent colors and place two large dots, one on the top and one at the bottom of the bead. If you don’t get enough on the first time, flatten the dot into a pad and add more of the same color on top of the first layer.

lg080308a4.jpg

Next, flatten both dots into pads in preparation for the next step.

lg080308a5.jpg

Place large dots of the other transparent color on top of the pads. I alternated colors is to keep the watery theme throughout the whole bead, not just the base portion.

lg080308a6.jpg

At this point, melt the entire bead until there are no sharp edges. Rounding up all corners and crevices, but not so much that it turns into a round bead.

lg080308a7.jpg

While it is hot enough to press, use parallel mashers or another method to press the glass flat.

lg080308a8.jpg

Be careful not to press too flat. The thinner the bead the less glass there is above and below the mandrel. The thinner the glass, the more chance that it could crack later. A general rule of thumb is to allow as much glass above the mandrel and below it, as the actual thickness of the mandrel.

lg080308a9.jpg

The surprise is what shape your beads end up being after you pressing. Experiment with different positions of the dots and the sizes as well as the different colors you layer as well as where you layer them. Soon you will be able to predict the resulting shape and you will learn a lot about what different colors of glass do together.

s070716b1.jpg

6 thoughts on “How to Make Odd Shaped Beads.

  1. Pingback: Watch Me Create » Design Process…Still Experimenting

  2. Pingback: Melanie Moertel Class in Phoenix

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.