Sunday, March 8, 2009

Let's make broken pieces of glass--aka--shards, a mini tutorial.

I have become a shards junkie. I love to use shards on beads! If you have read some of past blogs, you've seen some of my beads that have shards. I truly love using them when working with glass. If you are a non-glass person, you might ask, "What are shards?" Simply put, shards are thin, broken pieces of glass. Shards are used to apply decoration and/or texture to molten glass beads. All right, next question, how do you make shards? The answer is: very easily with only one tool.

The tool you need is a hollow mandrel. You can see that mine is well used.

The next step is to melt glass on the uncoated mandrel. The color choice(s) are yours. You can make shards in as many different colors as you like. You can add left over stringers, twisties, enamels, silver foil, silver foil, frit or all of the above.

This is a picture of a molten blob of glass at the end of the mandrel before I blow the glass.

Here I am beginning to blow into the other end of the hollow mandrel. The glass is beginning to expand.

Look how big that little blog became. In actuality, it's a little bit too big, but for the sake of this tutorial, it's just fine. Yeah, right.

I let the shard ball cool in a small aluminum pan that I use only for glass. In this photo, the mandrel is still attached. As it cools, the mandrel just breaks off at the edge. If, for some reason, the mandrel doesn't come off, I simply tap the mandrel, and the glass shard breaks off.

This is the final product--the shards. At this point, I break them. I usually just use my hands. On thicker shards, I guard my hands carefully and use a small hammer. After that, I use the shards in my beads.

For those who prefer not to make their own shards, there are many wonderful suppliers of shards. Google to find the suppliers or enjoy making your own.


Louise said...

My hollow mandrel is sitting untried Mallory - I'm gobsmacked by your picture of the blown glass!!! I have to give this a try! WOW!! I am so impressed that you are doing this!

rosebud101 said...

Louise, it's easier to make shards than monkeys. Ask me how I know. I am going to take a photo of my beads today for your blog challenge. I'll post it on WC.

Sue Choppers-Wife / said...

love these photos!

Pam said...

oh cool! I have not done this yet... looks fun though - thanks for sharing :)