Sunday, November 2, 2008

One Person's Trash Another Person's Treasure

I hate to waste glass! Glass is so wonderful to melt! As a rod melts down and is used to make a bead, I retrieve the bits and pieces of glass. I save and save my nubs, like leftovers, because someday, "I'm going to make something out of them." I used to fuse the ends together to make new rods of the same color. That was a long, tedious, and boring process. Next came frit.

There's always frit. I use frit in so many of my beads. I love making frit! I pound and pound the glass until the glass breaks into small bits that can be melted into new glass beads. (That relieves a lot of frustration, too.) I try to put together great combinations, or, at least what I think are great, colors of nubs to make my special frit blends. I use them over and over and over. In this economy, that saves me some money.

I also make beads our of my nubs. One of these days, I will put together a tutorial on how I do that. It's easy, but I just want to have a few photos to show you. I haven't made leftover beads for a while. I can feel the urge to do this soon.

This weekend, I made twisties from from my nubs. I started out by sorting the nubs into groups of clear + white. (These nubs would be the base for my twisties.) Then I sorted the nubs into transparent nubs and opaque nubs. You can see the photo for an example.

Mini tutorial

You can use whatever colors you like, but since I have a very random mind, I just sorted using bright colors.

I pulled out an old mandrel to use. Make sure it's uncoated. Don't use bead release on this or you won't be able to make twisties.

I heated the mandrel to a glow. Using my tweezers, I slowly introduced nubs of clear or white onto the mandrel. Once they were attached to the mandrel, or melted on to the mandrel, I used my mashers to flatten them and shape them into a compact blob of glass. This melted glass is the base for my twisties.

Once this glob was compacted and warm, I added the colorful nubs of glass on the base. Now, remember to slowly introduce the nubs into the flame or they might pop. Even when you are careful to introduce your glass, it can still explode. That did happen to me. Ouch!

Once the nubs are melted on to the base, I squish the entire blob of glass again into a more compact mass, and heat the glass to a molten state. Once everything is melted, I pick up my tweezers and pull the blob out of the flame.

I start the twist of the glass. I twist and twist. One glob of glass made 3 different twisties on one. It's awesome and no wasted glass. Love it! Take a look!

If you've never made a twistie before, I suggest that you check out forums such as Lampworketc and Wet Canvas. They have excellent tutorials on making the regular way.

My next challenge will be: shards from nubs. That will come later.


Deb said...

That is a great idea Mallory - I shall have to try it!

How long are your 'nubs'? Mine are usually less than half an inch - since I'm such a scrouge!!

rosebud101 said...

Deb, my nubs are less than half an inch, too. I'm a scrouge, too, when it comes to glass!

angelinabeadalina said...

Mallory, you've described that so well! Methinks you are going to have a following of peeps waiting for your tuts. I save all my shorts, too. Mine are longer than what you and Deb do, though, so I try to redeem myself by laying them whole onto the bulk of a sculpture and melting them in.

BTW, your twisties are very pretty!

rosebud101 said...

Thanks, Ang! Isn't it amazing that we all hate to waste that gorgeous, beautiful glass?

Kim said...

Great tut Mallory! Not I have another idea of what to do with mine! :) I'm not that great at twisties so maybe this will give me some practice! :)

Studio Marcy - Marcy Lamberson said...

wonderful ideas Mallory!