Jewellery masterpieces. A ring by Giampiero Bodino

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

DIY. Behind the scene: watch the creation of a lampwork bead!

Tatiana of Fiery-tale is sharing the process of making glass beads today. Very interesting! Sounds like something I would like to try!


I think many of you have see handmade lampwork beads before and maybe even admired them. Have you noticed that all of them were unique?  Each bead is a small handmade masterpiece. Keep them for your grandchildren if you happen to get some. They will enjoy finding it in your jewelry box!

I will show you how to make a bead like that. This DIY is suitable for the beginners. It will give you a very good idea of how the beads are made and help you to make up your mind to find an instructor in your town (or not to do that if this is something you are not willing to try!)

Let's look how a lampwork bead is being born! There are many techniques and ways of making different design. This bead is made with the basic techniques. 
This is what we will need: 
a torch, a kiln, goggles (safety glasses), a pin coated with a bead release/plaster, tweezers, an awl, and the shards of glass. 

For this bead I used the shards of glass: 
006 Effetre Super Clear; 
204 Effetre White; 
058 Effetre Ink Blue; 
128 CiM Sangre; 
144 Double Helix Helios

Let's start! Light up the torch, put on your safety glasses (my blue glasses immediately transform everything around me and put me in a good mood!)

I have to start with some prep work. The glass shards come in a certain diameter, but I need them thinner to create a fine decor. I need to stretch them to make thinner.

I warm up a shard's end slowly to avoid a thermal shock and cracking. I form a small droplet that I capture with a pair of tweezers, then I start pulling it right away stretching to a desired diameter. I repeat this operation with all my shards except for the white one.

Now I am ready to create.

I take my pin with the bead release (without it a bead will stick to the pin) and a shard of white glass (204). Both need to be heated up thoroughly and carefully. The pin needs to be rotated constantly while you are working on your bead. I apply first amount of molten glass onto my pin.

I form a nice glass ball on the pin while constantly rotating it. The molten glass will drip if you stop rotating, This operation is a good exercise for your fingers!

Now it is time to give some exercise to your eyes! When you achieve the desired shape of your bead, it is time to start using one new thin shard (Sangria (128)). The surface cools down just a little bit before we apply a few drops of this new color. In this case I am making 3 flowers with 6 petals each. Therefore I need to apply new color in 18 dots (6 + 6 + 6). I continue heating up my bead while doing this. I fused them until smooth once all the dots have found their place..

I got a bead with the dots that do not look like flowers yet.

This is how I fix this. I heat up one motif and take the bead away from the torch to poke the center of the motif with my awl. 

I repeat this operation for two other motifs. I keep heating the bead (and rotating!) until smooth. Now you can see that the the dots look more like flower petals. 

Let's give this flower a fancy shape! I am going to rotate my flowers using colorless glass shard. I implant it 90 degrees to the surface into the center of one of the flowers and spin it with my fingers, then repeat for other two flowers.

I decided to add three baby blue color flowers (058) with tree petals each. The procedure is the same as we have done for our big flowers. I just skipped the last step so the petals do not turn on them. 

So we are at the finish line. Let's add our bead charm (and drama!) by adding a few golden 3D dots. I use glass shard with the color called Helios (144) for this. This glass shard contains a decent amount of actual silver and requires to be treated accordingly. 

It is time for a fire-show! We need to do a trick in order for Helios to show its silver color. I have to cool the bead down a little bit. Then I increase the propane and just "brush" my bead with it. Our job just has been completed if the 3D dots had turned silver. Congratulations!

The bead needs to be stabilized. We let it hide in our kiln for 10-12 hours until it cools down completely. Then the bead can be taken off the pin.

I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did!

Tatiana's Shop (in Russian)
Tatiana's Blog (might be easier to contact her here if you are interested in her work)

Jewelry Designer Blog. Jewelry by Natalia Khon. Design by Pocket