Francine - I do this all the time and I show my students how to do
it in my classes with great success. You need a small hot flame, so it
really only works with a gas & oxygen torch with a small tip. I use a
mini torch with a # 6 tip.
Soak a couple of layers of brown paper towel or paper bag (about 2"
x 2") in water then poke a hole through the center of the paper scrap
with a pin or scribe (something sharp). Slide the wet paper with the
hole over the wire that passes through the pearl or bead and drape it
over said bead or pearl. Make sure the paper clings to the pearl and
is wet but not dripping. A little water should go in the bead hole.
Don't let the bead become exposed or it could burn. With a small but
hot oxidizing flame (about 2 inches long) melt the wire down until
the bead touches the paper. Keep the flame perpendicular to the wire
and start from the tip. The hot spot is the tip of inner cone of the
flame. You want the inner cone tip to be right on the tip of the
wire, pointing at it like a finger just about to touch it. Then
follow it down as it melts. Don't let the flame point at the pearl or
Before you melt it, the wire should be about 1/4 inch long (maybe
slightly longer depending on wire size). If you use a neutral flame
it will not work because it takes too long to melt the wire. The
trick (or skill) is to work fast and melt the wire in about one
second. Thats why you need a hot flame. With my mini torch a 2 inch
oxidizing flame is only about 1/8 inch in diameter. There may be some
steam and the first layer of paper may scorch or even burn a bit, but
the bead or pearl should be left unharmed.
Happy whatever it is that makes you happy -