If you have ever even remotely considered the possibility of designing your own jewellery, you probably know what glass beads are. And unlike most others who view it merely as beautiful, you know the kind of creativity they represent in terms of their correct usage. Also, they are extremely inexpensive. However, if you are like me who likes to get everything down just right and like making your own beads, you are in luck. We will be covering the basics on how to make them and then outline a few more creative ideas.
First comes safety
While the prospect of making your own glass beads might be extremely exciting, you need to understand that creating your own beads is not exactly a walk in the park. So the most important thing here is safety. You will be working with a propane torch, so make sure that you are not wearing anything flammable while working. Also, be sure to have gloves ready, preferably of flame resistant material so that you can handle the extremely high temperature materials you will be working with. Always be sure to work in a brightly lit environment. Get a safety glass. Always have a fire extinguisher nearby in case of emergencies. And last but not the least; do not heat the glass too high. Super-heated glass is not to be trifled with.
Now that we have the safety points taken care of, let us get down to business.
· For the glass, you will need, well, glass. So get all the junk you have left over. Broken glass pieces, waste milk bottles and any kind of clean glass is totally usable.
· Get some thin metal rods (old un-rusted cycle spokes work the best)
· Heat the glass pieces, holding them at an angle so that the glass can liquefy easily and can be collected somewhere
· Coat the rod with molten glass
· Heat the rod uniformly so that the beads become smooth and round
· Finally, let it cool in the air
Under no circumstances, should you touch it while it is cooling. Also, initially, start with small glass beads. Larger ones crack easily and should only be attempted once you have sufficient experience in handling them. Later on, you can add colour to the beads when they are cooling. This gives a nice hue to the beads once set.
Glass beds are one of the most overlooked, and yet highly used materials in making jewellery. Not only can you make them in different sizes, once you have mastered the art, you can use molds for making different shaped ones as well. While it is true that home-made molds cannot be used for anything too intricate, same fairly interesting ones can always be prepared. And if you get too bored, you always have the option of buying them. From skull shaped glass beads for Halloween to Christmas tree shaped ones for the festive season, the possibilities are endless. And you can virtually use them as almost anything; from a pendant to ear rings.
So get down and get creative.