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Glass Bead Bracelet

Create your own original lampwork beaded bracelet to combine fine art sculpture with jewelry making.

Project by Megan Ballarini from Clearwater, Fla.

As a child, Megan used to take apart her mother’s jewelry and redesign it. See how Megan’s artistic inclinations have returned as an adult, now that she spends much of her free time recreating cute items she knows she can make for less than what it would cost to buy, like this lampwork bracelet.

Materials:

lampworking tools, including a marver and mashers
"hot head" beadmaking torch
mandrels
bead release
various Moretti glass rods
Moretti stringers
fiber blanket
stringing wire
toggle/clasp
Swarovski crystals
various sterling silver spacers

Steps:

1. Dip mandrel (steel rod) into bead release liquid and dry in flame.

2. Heat glass rod slowly and pull stringers (thinner pieces of glass).

3. Decide on the design of individual beads. Heat glass rods, again slowly, apply to mandrel when molten. Slowly roll mandrel in flame until bead is round.

4. Add decorations to base beads by heating stringers and then shaping into desired designs.

5. If desired shape is not round, shape with mashers or appropriate tool. Add more decorations with stringers if desired.

6. When done, place bead in fiber blanket to cool. No peeking!

7. When cool, use pliers to hold rod and twist off bead. Clean bead with water and small file.

8. Anneal pieces in kiln (makes glass more resistant to breaking).

9. Arrange glass beads, crystals and silver until you're happy with arrangement. String all onto wire and attach toggle/clasp.

Website: www.glassbeadfairy.com

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