Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Making Blown Glass Beads with video link

People are so interested in learning to make hollow glass beads on the end of a hollow mandrel or small blow pipe- myself included! Thanks to a wonderful bead making buddy, I was shown a way to do it that is pretty cool, without the use of diamond shears. Many people can do this better than I can~ I am still learning, but this video will show the basics, along with ways to recover from some errors that I guarantee will happen to you too!

Here is my youtube video in all its glory!
A couple of video pointers~

*  Make your first wrap of glass nice and thin and right at the very end of the mandrel and it will pull off much better and have a good hole with less fooling around.

*  I start with a small coiled bead or cup bead, very similar to the way a hollow bead might be made on a mandrel. That way there is a little bubble built in from the start.

*  First build a little bead, blow a bubble in, and then add more glass and decorate before shaping and blowing it the final time. The starter bubble is nice, just to be sure you are really going to have a bubble in the bead.

* Because I wanted to show the bead being blown, I did not blow it in the correct way, which is pointing the mandrel towards the ceiling. Pointing the mandrel up seems to work the best for consistent shaping. I have also been told to take the heated
bead out of the flame, point it down for a moment and then point the mandrel to the ceiling so it will be a little stiffer on the outside. In reality, I point down and begin to blow, then move up to the vertical blowing position to finish.

* Make the tungsten pick really hot before plunging in into the bead. Turn up your flame if necessary- white hot is good! Make sure to keep the bead warm behind the flame so it won't crack. Look down the bead through the hole once you've plunged the pick through to be sure it is nicely opened up. If not, try again.

*  When you are ready to pull the bead off of the mandrel, be sure to only heat the mandrel, not the bead. Don't let the hot fingers get in the flame, or they will stick to and mar the bead.

I was not going to put this video up because of all the mistakes I made, but then decided, what the heck~ everyone is going to make some of these errors!

Here are some video links to folks who really know what they're doing!

You can watch Olga Alianova https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atXlC1mxpo4

Davide Penso https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Phb3vjDs1PE

My favorite https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgaN1q4enk0...