How to Make Glass Beads: Techniques You May Not Know

How to Make Glass Beads
Use them in wall hangings, decorate photo frames with them, use them in jewelry, or beautify your garden with them. You can do all this and much more with glass beads. Don't like spending money over them? This article teaches you how to make them by yourself.
HobbyZeal Staff
Last Updated: Mar 17, 2018
Man first became aware about the art of glass beading during the Egyptian era, 3000 BC to be more precise. The oldest form of glass - like beads is the 'Egyptian Faïence', which was a non-clay based ceramic. It creates a bright lustrous hue of many colors. Glass beads are categorized on the basis of the numerous methods of making them. Millefiori glass beads, lampwork glass beads, dichroic glass beads, and furnace glass beads are some of the types.

A very famous and the most-preferred method of making glass beads is probably the one that makes drawn glass beads, wound or lampwork glass beads, and molded glass beads. The lampwork glass beads are called so because they were made with the help of oil lamps. Follow these instructions to get your glass beads right.

Materials required
  • A glass rod, bead release, a thin glass stringer, and colors of your choice, are a few things you will need.
  • Now insure a mandrel, which is a rod that is used to make glass beads.
  • Place an LPG or Oxygen - Propane torch on a heat proof surface with a clamp on!
  • The most important of all, wear didymium safety glasses.
Instructions
  • Firstly, coat the mandrel with bead release and let it dry completely. Introduce the glass rod to the heat and continue heating until a small molten blob forms on the rod.
  • It is important to keep on rotating the rod to prevent the hot glass from dripping. Now, heat up the coated mandrel and wrap the molten glass around the mandrel by slowly rotating it with both the hands.
  • Wait for some time while heat and gravitational force forms a layer around it and then release the glass rod, from the wrapped molten glass. Use the heat to give the molten glass a firm round shape by spinning the mandrel in the flame.
  • If you want to add design to this glass bead, heat up a small stringer in the flame. Meanwhile, keep holding the mandrel in the higher part of the flame.
  • Heat up only the tips of the stringer and add those heated drops to the molten glass by keeping equal distance within each drop.
  • You can let the glass bubbles remain or get rid of them with the help of any metal poking tool.
Now, all you have to do is to keep the beads on the mandrel at least overnight, and make sure it doesn't come in contact with anything. Once completely dried up, remove the glass beads and use them as you wish! Making the glass beads of various shapes and various designs is a relatively easy job.

Variations

It is important to first perfect the glass beading technique. The more you practice, the better you will become at it. The tools required here are same as the ones used in basic glass beading plus a marver, which is usually used in the glassblowing process. Glass beads are given various shapes with the help of the mandrel, placed in a certain manner against the marver.

Cylindrical Glass Bead
Proceed with a normal glass beading procedure and remove the glass bead from the heat. Press the hot glass bead lightly against the marver by holding the mandrel exactly parallel against the marver. Now, heat up this pressed glass bead once again, and repeat the same procedure until the glass bead takes a perfect cylindrical shape. Once done, cool off the glass bead.

Bicone Glass Bead
After going through the regular procedure, remove the glass bead from the heat. Press the heated mandrel against the marver, by holding the mandrel at an angle, that can make a cone at the base of the glass bead. Do not press the mandrel too hard otherwise it may give rise to flat spots on the glass bead surface. Continue the heating process until the glass bead takes your desired shape, also heat up the other end to get the perfect finishing.

While shaping up the glass beads, it is very important to stop the heating process at the point where the glass stops glowing. You can make beads of various colors and shapes and use them in jewelry too.
Blue Beaded Bear Toy
Beaded Arum Lily Flower