Stained Glass

Hi Tony,

Glass beads are made with a torch, the process is called
‘flameworking’ . A 3/32" stainless steel rod , about 9" long, is
coated on the end , about 2" long, with bead release. This allows the
glass to be melted and not stick to the metal. The stained glass is
then cut into strips, and melted in a propane and oxygen flame, or a
Mapp Gas flame depending on your torch, and as it melts, is deposited
on the bead release. The bead can be shaped with graphite paddel
called a marving paddle, into round, oblong, square shapes. Didymium
glasses are worn in able to ‘see through’ the soda flare when heating
the glass. After the bead is formed, it is then placed in a kiln at
970 degrees and let cool off at about 100 degrees per hour to anneal,
other wise, as it cools, it cracks. After it is cooled, it can be
removed from the stainless steel rod by soaking it in water. Fuseing:
If more than one color glass is to be used, the two glasses which are
fused together need to be compatible. By compatible, I mean they need
to have the same C.O.E. (Coefficient Of Expansion). There are several
type of glass that are sold for this prupose. BullsEye, (COE of 90) ,
Moretti, Pyrex, Spectrum, all have different COE’s. You would buy all
the colors in one type, and they will either fuse together (in a kiln)
or melt together in a flame, and cool off without cracking. If the
two glasses are not compatible, they crack after cooling, whether they
are annealed or not. Here are some links to glass bead supplies and
classes. I personally like the style and technique of Karen and David
at Hot Glass Beads. If this sounds
like a lot and if you dont want to buy all the equipment to get
started, you can either buy the beads on the Web, or if you dont need
to many, contact me offline, send me the glass and I’ll make them for

Love and God Bless
Home 214-321-6253
Work 469-775-6650
Cell 214-280-7775

Tony, Others have sent wonderful about making glass beads
so I waited awhile before sending this post.

You mentioned you had the perfect color stained glass so I assume you
want to stick with that, not purchase other materials that may not
have the right color. You did not mention what quality of bead you
were looking for. Here is a technique for making some funky beads with
materials you already have. Years ago my world was primarily stained
glass with a “minor” in enamel jewelry. I thought how perfect to be
able to use up my stained glass supplies.

The beads I am referring to have been called “donky beads”. I believe
it is because they are not precious and were used to decorate donky
harnesses. The hole in the bead will be large.

  1. If you want the beads to be fairly uniform then cut your glass
    into similar size pieces.

  2. Make a hollow in a piece of charcoal for the glass piece to rest.

  3. Slowly heat the glass with your torch. It will ball up just like

  4. Obviously we need a hole. Since this technique is borrowed from
    people with primitive tools it was suggested that the hole be made
    with an organic material, not metal. The advantage to organics are
    that they burn. The glass does not shrink onto and “freeze” like can
    happen with metal. The organic suggestions were thin twigs or broom
    straw. I used thin bamboo skewers from the grocery store. Just poke
    the hole into the molten glass glob. I don’t believe that I wet the
    skewer, didn’t seem necessary.

  5. Just like metal, gravity will want to flatten the bead. The poking
    process will add to this. If it is an issue, try turing the bead over
    and rounding the other side before cooling.

  6. Let the bead cool. It didn’t need annealling. I have some from the
    experiment that are at least 15 years old.

  7. I did get some color streaks in some of the beads.

Good Luck…It’s a fun project whether or not you use the

Orchid Rules!..Karla