Glass Beads

Did you know that you can make fused glass beads in a kiln? The beads will not be round, because of the tendency of the glass to flatten out during firing.

These glass beads are great for adding accents to your jewelry. They can be added to a necklace, strung for a bracelet, or add an earring wire.

Making fused beads is similar to making glass bails in the holes in pendants section.

You can use fiber paper, fiber blanket, mandrels, fiber cord or ceramic rope to accomplish this method. Instead of putting any of these objects at the top of the piece, you would put them in the center of your piece. You can make one hole or two if you like.

This process entails having three layers; solid bottom layer, middle layer which consists of two smaller pieces of glass and choice of hole maker (fiber paper, mandrel, etc.), and a solid top layer which can be decorated as desired.

glass beads, fused glass beads

If using mandrels, either wooden or bead mandrels, be sure to prepare them by dipping in bead release and allowing them to dry. Use fiber paper to support the mandrel. This will prevent the mandrel from slumping down into the glass, making the glass thinner where the mandrel was placed. This will also avoid movement of the mandrel as the glass is heated.

Use fiber paper to support the mandrel. This will prevent the mandrel from slumping down into the glass, making the glass thinner where the mandrel was placed. This will also avoid movement of the mandrel as the glass is heated.

Heat up the kiln at about a rate of 500 degrees Fahrenheit per hour to approximately 1400 degrees Fahrenheit. Observe the piece and determine when the desired look is achieved. If allowed to fuse too long, the pieces will start to bend in where the fiber paper or mandrel is giving the piece a figure eight configuration.

glass beads, fused glass beads

Once the piece has cooled to room temperature, the fiber paper or mandrel can be removed. Clean out the hole using either a toothpick or pipe cleaner and water.

Once fired and cooled, they can be strung just like any other bead.






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