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How to Make a Holiday Lampwork Necklace

Renee Weaver shapes light bulbs, Santa's and peppermint candy lampwork beads to design her holiday necklace.

Materials and Tools:

glass rods
49-strand beading wire
sterling silver findings
gemstone beads, clear crystal, red crystal
silver beads, turquoise beads
torch and torch lighter
beading tray
didymium safety glasses
shaping tools and tweezers
fiber blanket
bead press
silver clasps and jump rings
jewelry pliers


1. Light the torch and put on didymium safety glasses.

2. Warm up the glass, letting a ball gather on the glass rod. Grab the hot glass with tweezers and pull it out into a stringer. Let it cool. Make several different color stringers.

3. To begin making the light bulb beads, heat a mandrel in the flame of the torch. Heat a green glass rod (red shown) and wrap it around the mandrel.

4. Shape the glass to resemble a light bulb using a shaped marver.

5. Wrap clear glass on the mandrel at the top of the bead.

6. Wrap a silver plum stringer over the clear portion of the light bulb bead in a spiral.

7. Wave the finished bead in a reduction flame. Place the light bulb bead in a fiber blanket to cool gradually. Make two green and two red light bulb-shaped beads.

8. Wrap pink opaque glass around the mandrel to shape the Santa bead.

  • Wrap white stringer next to pink glass so it touches.

  • On other side of the pink glass, wrap red opaque glass.

  • Draw on hair with white stringer.

  • Wrap a white stringer around the bead above the face to form the brim of the hat.

  • Add red stringer to the hat to form a drooping point. Add a white dot to the tip of the hat.

  • Add eyes to the face with a small black stringer.

9. Melt a wide mustache with white stringer.

10. Add a nose to the face with pink stringer. Place the Santa bead in a fiber blanket. Make three more Santa beads for a total of four Santa's.

11. To make the peppermint candy bead, wrap white around the mandrel.

12. Smash this bead flat using a press.

13. Draw red peppermint candy lines with red opaque stringer—similar to cutting a pie. Melt these lines.

14. After heating the center where all the lines intersect, plunge the red stringer into the bead and twist.

15. Pick up a clear glass rod to create a candy wrap on both sides of the peppermint candy bead. Ensure that the clear glass touches the peppermint candy bead.

16. Take a pair of tweezers and twist the clear glass to resemble candy wrapping. Place the peppermint candy bead in a fiber blanket. Make two more peppermint candy beads.

17. Remove the mandrels and smooth the holes in the beads using a hand-held rotary tool.

18. Clean the beads with water.

19. Lay out the necklace design in a beading tray.

20. String a necklace on 49-strand beading wire:

  • Add clear and red crystal beads, silver and turquoise beads between the lampwork glass beads.
  • Add jump rings to the ends and silver clasps with jewelry pliers.

Holiday Lampwork Necklace by Renee Weaver

Renee Weaver of West Point, Utah, has her mother’s collection of crystal to thank for her fascination with glass. As a child, she loved watching the light reflecting off the numerous cuts in the glass. That fascination led to a number of stained- and fused-glass classes but once she discovered lampwork glass, she lost interest in the other two techniques. Since then, she’s been melting glass rods into playful and colorful beaded jewelry of all kinds, like her festive holiday necklace.


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