How to Make A Lampwork Glass Bead

Lampworking is usually done with an Air-Fuel torch (MAPP gas being the most popular fuel) or Oxygen-Propane torch and a few hand tools. The tricks and moves used to form and decorate the glass haven’t changed much in years.

Lampwork beads range from the simple to extremely complex such as lampwork beads in shapes, lampwork beads with silver lining, or gold foil. Modern lampwork beads have many purposes, for holiday celebrations, or to simulate nature, like bamboo, or even the jellyfish.

An artist makes these beads using a rod called a mandrel, sticks of glass and a torch. Let’s get to know the Process of Making a Lampwork Beads.

 Melting Glass: Lampworking involves the process of melting glass in a hot flame on a steel mandrel. The molten glass is    wound around the mandrel until the desired size and style are achieved. The flame used to melt the glass is produced by  mixing gas, either natural or propane, and oxygen. Thus the flame produced is hot enough to melt glass. A torch is the  primary tool for the flame.

 

 

 

 

  Shaping Beads: Once a bead is formed and the artist is finished with the actual creation process there are several more    steps   involved before the bead is ready to be used in fine jewelry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Decorating Beads: After the initial shaping of the bead, it can be decorated by applying molten fibers (stringers) on the    bead’s surface, creating dots or lines. Intricate patterns and designs can be made with the use of a sharp tool. Lampwork  beads can also be sandblasted or faceted using conventional lapidary techniques.

 

 

 

 

 

 Annealing Beads: When the design work is finished the bead needs to go through the annealing process where it is  reheated to around 1000°F to reach the proper “stress relief” point. Annealing is the process of bringing down the  temperature of the glass very slowly. Annealing makes a glass bead very strong and durable. When a bead is taken  out of the kiln it is still on the steel mandrel. The cooled bead is soaked in water to soften the bead release agent. Once  the bead is removed the holes are cleaned and filed.