TreeBlaskted Oak

Glass Bead Making

  1. The Torch
  2. Essential Tools
  3. Other Useful Tools
  4. Supplies

Pliers:  pliers come in very handy especially when you are working with short pieces of glass. Small vice grips are best for holding on to the mandrel while removing beads. If you are using vice grips, make sure to place them on the center of the mandrel so you do not damage the ends where the beads will be formed.

Bead Rake:  A bead rake is a tool with a sharp point at 90 degrees from the handle, and allows you do shape the glass or drag different colors of glass from one part of the bead to another. You can get cheap sets of hook and pick many hardware stores.

Metal Oven Sheet:  Even after you have taken glass from the flame and it returns to its original color it is very hot, if you lay it down on your table you will burn the table.  A metal oven sheet can be placed on the table in front of you and protect the table.  If you do not have anything protecting your table you can lay you hot glass on your fiber blanket, but remember that they are there.

Kiln:  Due to internal stresses any large bead has a very high chance of eventually breaking if it is not annealed in a kiln.  To anneal a bead, you can either take a cold bead slowly up to its annealing temperature and then allow it to slowly cool at the rate the kiln cools down, or you can take a hot bead and put it in a kiln at its annealing temperature and then allow it to cool.  For bead making, you need a kiln that has very precise temperature control, which will greatly increase the price of the kiln.  A kiln is not necessary for making most simple beads, and in general, small beads do not need to be annealed.

It is a good idea to have a glass jar filled with water on hand, for several reasons.  If something happens to a bead while you are making it, such as the bead release breaks, the bead is ruined.  In order to quickly deal with the problem and keep from having pieces of glass fused to the mandrel take the bead directly from the fire and place it directly into the jar of water.  The thermal shock will shatter the bead completely, and you can later reuse the mandrel.  The water is also useful for loosening the bead release when you are trying to remove a finished bead after it has fully cooled.


Copyright © 2008-2013 Naomi Hampson.