Make a Glass Cupcake Ring
Jewelry designer Holly Cruise of Vancouver, B.C., Canada, demonstrates how to create a whimsical glass cupcake ring that looks good enough to eat! This project should be completed in a well-ventilated room and preferably one with an exhaust fan.
- soft glass rods, assorted colors
- soft glass stringer
- sterling silver ring
- two-part 5-minute epoxy
- clay sludge
- steel mandrel
- oxygen propane flame-working torch
- oxygen tank
- propane tank
- graphite paddle
- steel tweezers
- tungsten rod
- electric wok filled with vermiculite
- electric kiln
- diamond-tip bead reamer
- glass jar filled with vermiculite
- didymium safety glasses
1. Dip the steel mandrel into the clay sludge. Place the opposite end (handle) into a jar of vermiculite. Let dry.
2. Turn on the oxygen and propane tanks and the exhaust fan. Turn on the wok filled with vermiculite.
3. Wear didymium safety glasses. Light the torch by turning on the propane and sparking it with an igniter. Then gently turn on the oxygen until the flame is just right.
4. To make glass stringers for sprinkles, gently heat the tip of a glass rod until it is glowing and molten. Pull the molten blob into a long string of glass with tweezers. Let cool and set aside for topping the cupcake. Repeat this step several times using different colors.
5. Heat the tip of the clay-coated steel mandrel in the flame.
6. Simultaneously heat up the tip of a white glass rod. Introduce the glass into the flame slowly, waving it back and forth to avoid cracking the glass.
7. Once the white glass has a molten blob at the end, slowly wrap the molten glass around the heated mandrel tip. Repeat this several times until there is a mass the size of a pinky fingertip.
8. Shape the white glass into a "cup" shape and flatten the top with the graphite paddle.
9. Heat small sections of the cup and use the tungsten rod to make small indentations to create a ripple effect on the cupcake base.
10. Slowly heat the tip of a brown glass rod while continually rotating and heating the cupcake base.
11. Once the brown glass has a molten blob at the end, attach it to the top of the cupcake base and pull away. This is the cupcake top.
12. Shape the brown glass into the cupcake top with the graphite paddle.
13. Slowly heat the tip of a pink rod of glass, while still heating and rotating the cupcake.
14. Attach a large blob of pink glass to the top of the cupcake and pull away to create the frosting.
15. Spot heat the edges of the frosting and, using the tungsten rod, pull little scallops of frosting around the edge of the cupcake top.
16. Heat the top of the frosting and, using the steel tweezers, pinch and twist the surface to create a swirling texture.
17. To add the sprinkles using the stringers made earlier, heat the very tip and gently push the stringer onto the frosting. Repeat twice for each color.
18. Give the entire cupcake piece a general heat and then let cool for about 30 seconds.
19. Plunge the cupcake into the heated electric wok filled with vermiculite. Turn the wok off and let it cool slowly to room temperature.
20. Remove the bead from the mandrel by twisting gently. Place it in the kiln. Heat it in the kiln overnight to remove the stress, known as "annealing."
21. Dip the diamond tip bead reamer in water and grind the inside of the bead to remove clay residue. Let dry.
22. Mix equal parts of the two-part epoxy until blended. Place a small drop of epoxy into the hole in the bottom of the cupcake and a small amount on the spoke of the ring base. Put them together and let set. The glue sets in 5 minutes, and the glass cupcake ring is ready to wear in 24 hours.