Handmade Glass Bead Pendant

Ginny Hampton of Dallas demonstrates the creation of a fun one-of-a-kind necklace.

In this project, Ginny Hampton, a fun and bubbly Texan, demonstrates the creation of a large, handmade glass focal bead featuring a small sculptural accent. She wire-wraps the pendant to create a fun one-of-a-kind necklace.



Materials and Tools:

Nortel minor torch
various glass rods
stainless steel mandrel
bead release
shaping tools: graphite paddles, mashers, picks, razor
jewelry pliers: flat, round, cutters
handmade glass beads
sterling silver headpins
sterling silver findings *
accent beads: sterling, crystal, semi-precious stones

* bail for pendant or ear wires for earrings


1. To make the bead: Choose colors for glass bead and prepare "stringers" — thin pulls of glass that will be used for decorating the base bead.

2. Create a roughly shaped base bead by winding hot glass around the stainless steel mandrel that has been coated in bead release. Continue to add glass and refine shape with tools until the final shape (heart) is achieved and good enough for decoration.

3. Decorate base bead using different colored stringers that are prepared in step 1. Melt flush with base bead and continue to reshape as needed so the final shape is not distorted by the added glass.

4. Once base bead is decorated and the shape is complete, add sculptural accent to the surface.

5. Place hot bead directly into the kiln for annealing.

6. Soak the cooled bead (still on mandrel) in water to soften the release. Carefully remove the bead from the mandrel and clean it. It's ready to wrap into a pendant, or make two for earrings.

Note: When wire-wrapping a larger focal bead to a bail, you can either slide a chain or cord through the bail or hang your focal piece on jewelry wire and string an entire necklace.

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