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Bead release!

Sometimes I sit down to write a few words for this blog and wonder if anyone will find the subject interesting, this is one of those times, but it'll be brief, and there's a little tip at the end for anyone new(er) to lampwork!

If you want to make glass beads, with a hole down the middle, you'll need a pot of bead release. It's a thick gloop a little like slurry used in ceramics. You dip a stainless steel rod, called a mandrel, into the gloop, let it dry or bake it in the flame, then you can melt your glass onto the baked surface, this will ensure your bead comes off the mandrel. There are several different brands available, and you can make it yourself, I have a few, but my go to is Fusion, I like the consistency, it lasts, and works well for me.

fusion bead release for lampworking

Because the glass sticks to the layer of bead release instead of the metal, the release stays stuck to the bead hole, luckily it's easy to remove, but this adds an extra step in the bead making process, admittedly not my favourite part. I use a small electric rotary tool with a diamond bead reaming bit. If you don't have a rotary tool a round needle file will work just as well, if a little slower. Whichever method you use it's a good idea to clean out the beads in water. partly to help break down the release, partly to stop you breathing in any dust, and if you're using an electric tool it stops the friction overheating the glass and helps prevent cracks.

I haven't got a picture of this process because I left my rotary tool behind, but you can see the difference between an uncleaned and cleaned out bead hole in the images below.

Lampwork glass bead before and after bead reaming

And here's the little tip I picked up from a glass group, I take no credit for it, and can't remember who deserves the credit, if it was you, thank you!

Store your pot of release (with the lid on) upside-down in a small container of water, it stops it helps to keep it in good condition.

fusion bead release for lampworking stored upside down in water

I've made some really miniature little worlds this week, hopefully they'll be cleaned and tumbled for me to work out mounting them in time to share next week.

The audio book I've been in the queue for dropped into my account on Monday, so I've been enjoying Marian Keyes latest, My Favourite Mistake.

Tiddly pom.


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