Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Scarf Slides and Cleaning Big Holed Lampwork Beads

Whoot! My newest lampwork glass bead endeavor is making scarf slides. I finally got myself a really big mandrel- a whopping 1 inch- and started making beads for scarf sliders on them. Though a one inch hole may be a bit larger than needed for some scarves, they seem to be about right for rayon. I gave one to myself, one to my daughter and one to a friend as testers to see how they work out.

The huge mandrel was much easier to use than I thought it would be. It's always best to sludge and dry mandrels overnight when making any high stress beads or beads that take longer to make. The mandrel needs to start out well heated and to stay heated the whole time. These beads started out with a clear core footprint, giving them a good stiff background to work over.

Important: make sure the sludge doesn't have any little gritty bumps. These should be rubbed off of the dry sludge before starting.

Because it's really easy to see inside these beads, they need to be cleaned extremely well. After the bead is finished and removed from the mandrel, clean as usual and then sand with 220 grit and then 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper. This will smooth out the inside nicely. I have to thank Hayley for this piece of advice. It has made a huge difference in the smoothness inside my large holed beads.

A couple of useage tips for these sliders:
For safety, it is probably best to run the scarf horizontally through the slider to be sure it can't just slide off of the bottom. Making sliders with a little bit smaller hole will also solve this issue.

Sliders can be used in a number of different ways- one is to run the scarf through the slider halfway, put the scarf around your neck, and then run both ends of the scarf through the slider. The large hole will allow a silk scarf to easily run through the slider three or even four times. Here are some photos of one around my neck.

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