The method and technology of making handmade glass bead is considered as one of the oldest creative hobbies of humans. Egyptian faience beads are glass-like beads which come from a type of clay bead that has a self-forming vitreous coating. They are perhaps the earliest from ancient Egyptians. In some cultures, glass objects were reserved for royalty. Owning a glass object is closely associated with owning other luxurious objects. If you can afford it, it’s yours.
What are glass beads anyway? Glass beads are beads made of glass. They are sometimes called lamp work beads. This type of beads can be poured into moulds, cut and polished as faux gemstones, and can be stretched and pulled into any shape you desire. These beads can be simple or decorative depending on the artist’s preference. Different kinds of glass are used and colors are also played with to create the desired look. Before you start to make your own beads and end up with bowl fulls of different types of beads all mixed up, take some time to learn how to organize your beading stuffs.
The first thing to study before using the torch and other dangerous tools for glass bead making is to follow safety tips in jewelry making. These tools can be very dangerous not only to you, but to others around you.When creating glass beads, you have to melt a narrow rod of glass using a torch. The molten glass is wound around a mandrel which is a thin length of stainless steel. The space where the mandrel is set becomes the hole of the bead. Holding and turning the mandrel in different positions allows gravity which helps forming the bead. There are tools needed for pushing and pulling glass beads to form different kinds of shapes.
Working with a lamp to create glass beads is not easy, but patience and practice will help along the way. You have to remember that you are working with glass and torch. You must learn different amounts and levels of heat that are necessary for the glass to flow. Consider also the decorations you will add and the different glass colors you can work with and even combine.
Glass shrinks when it cools. The beads are pulled out from the flame to cool; they are left out in open air which means that while the outside of the bead is rapidly cooling, its inside is still very hot. The uneven temperature resulting from this method will often cause a bead to crack.
Kiln annealing is a process by which both the inside and outside temperature can be closely regulated. The bead is placed in high temperature to make sure that all the glass is evenly heated. After several hours, the bead can now be put out at room temperature for cooling. But it is important to make sure that the glass beads you buy are all kiln annealed. For tiny glass beads, you can also try cooling them from within layers of insulation. This method is different from the annealing process but it has proven to be effective for small amounts of glass. Most products and tools come with a set so always follow the beading instructions an important tool for beading if you want to learn and get it right.
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