As with all of my tutorials, these instructions are meant for those who are familiar with working with hot glass and torches. Your safety is your own concern. This should only be attempted by adults.
Tools and supplies:
Copper wire-18 gauge
Small pin vise device Scissors
Locking Hemostat Graphite paddle
Amber and clear glass White enamel
Goldstone stringer Raku Frit
Cut a piece of copper about 7-9 inches long, or whatever length you prefer; cut it at least an inch longer than you want the finished head pin to be. Flatten end of copper gently with hammer if desired. I'm adding a little caution here- some folks say you must flatten or ball the copper to make sure the copper will not pull out of the glass later, so it is most likely best to do that! Insert bottom end into pin vise. Make sure it is secure and will not pull out accidentally.
Warning- the copper will move and bounce around as you are adding hot glass. This copper is not nearly as stiff as the steel mandrels you are used to.
Heat Amber glass and encase clear with amber glass. Yes, it's kind of blobby. I'll shape it nicely in a minute!
Roll the glass in white enamel, melt in and then roll in raku frit. Make sure the glass is pretty hot for this step as you can't really push it down well. Melt in. Rolling in the enamel and frit will help to smooth and round the glass.
stringer working from base to tip.
Warm tip of amber rod and attach to the tip of the headpin. Twist a bit and detach rod with flame.
Heat glass to smooth. Hold vertically with tip up while hot to allow glass to droop slightly towards the back end, making sure glass is nice and smooth and there are no tiny stray bits that will crack off later. Repair if needed by adding a little glass to that end to even up. Roll on marver to smooth further.
Attach and pull firmly to point the headpin.
Now comes the fun part- detaching the copper from the pin vise. I have found that it is quickest to lock the hemostats onto the copper about 1 1/2 inches above the top of the pin vise and simply cut through the wire. It can be really difficult to open the pin vise and pull out the wire. That can be done after the headpin has been put in the kiln.
I like to leave as much of the copper as possible sticking out of the kiln. That way it will not become dead soft from the heat. Though the copper on these can be cleaned with pickle, I prefer to soak them in warm water for a few minutes and then sand the fire scale off with 220 grit wet/dry sandpaper. The headpin may need to be hardened a bit by hammering with a rawhide mallet if the copper has become overly soft.
This tut is just a starting place for making headpins- you can decorate them in any way you please, just like beads!These are made from Italian Moretti soft glass. I've also made a few of these out of recycled bottle glass- go here for special tips about that.