My first blog! This is so exciting! I’m looking forward to sharing some thoughts, tips, and flops (hopefully not too many!) on my adventures with lampworking and jewelry. One of the recent projects that I’ve been working on, I am calling “Swirly Beads”. There may be a more official name, but to me, these are transparent clear beads with swirls of white and black, or white and green, or white and, well you get the picture. They are like marbles and are so much fun to make!
First, melt transparent clear on a mandrel size of your choice and make a barrel shape. The size of the barrel is up to you and depends on how big you want your final bead to be. But, the first barrel should be fairly thin.
Take a white stringer and make a squiggly line from one side of the barrel to the other. You will need to super heat this so that the glass is almost soupy – make sure to keep turning the mandrel and slowly bring the glass farther back in the flame as it regains its round shape and becomes solid. Now encase the entire bead with clear.
Once the bead is encased and round again, take a black stringer or another colour if you like and again, make a squiggly horizontal line across the bead, but you may want to make this line a bit smaller so as not to ‘over-shadow’ the white swirl. Again, super heat the glass so that it begins to droop a bit and you see the stringer move in a ‘V’ shape as you turn the bead. Once you are happy with the amount of swirl, move the bead farther back in the flame, all the while turning, until it regains its round shape and is solid.
Encase the bead in clear once again and reshape into a round bead. Voila – a Swirly Bead!