Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Easy Peasy Free Lampwork Bird Bead Tutorial and one that should be good for Beads of Courage!

I'm sorry that some of the photos are a little bit blurry.
It's hard to make beads and photograph them
in front of a torch.
Remember,
it's free!!!

This tutorial is good even for beginners.
I am assuming that the knowledge for safety is something a lampworker 
will actively practice,
therefore, I will not go into safety in this tutorial.
The birds I will show you how to make are the blue one and the ivory one.
They are the basic bird.
The others are the variations.

You only need 3 rods and two stringers to make the basic bird.
The other colors are for variation.
Decide on the basic color of your bird.

Make a barrel bead on your dipped mandrel.
Heat the barrel to glowing.
The size can be any size you want.
I make the beads for Beads of Courage, so they are about 1-1.5 inches long.

Flatten your barrel.

Heat the flattened bead to glowing a little above the middle of the bead.
Make a dent there.
Don't let the dent touch the mandrel.
That would be way too deep.
Also remember to keep flashing your bead in and out of the flame to keep it warm.
Flash the bead frequently as you work.

Remembering to flash your bead in the flame,
heat the other side of the bead and make another dent in the bead.
Many of my beads end up looking like a "z" with the dents.

Decide which end will be your face and which end will be your tail.
On each side of the bird's face, add a dot of white and melt into the glass.
Remember to keep flashing the entire bead in and out of the flame!

This is the other side of the bird with the eye dot.

Keep flashing that bird in and out of the flame!
Add a dot of clear over the white dot and melt in to the glass.
Flash, flash, flash!

Add a black dot over the clear and melt into the glass on each side.
Flash, flash, flash.
You have now finished the eyes.

Keep flashing that bird!
Add a large dot of yellow where you would like to place the bead.
Make sure it is fused to your base color.

Turn the bird over.  Warm up it's little tail end.  Add a dot of whatever color you like for the tail.  It can be a pretty big dot.  Heat it well to make sure that tail is fused to the body, and keep flashing the bird.

Keep flashing the bird!!!
Melt a bit of glass on the end of the rod and make a swipe on each side of your bird's body for wings. 
I usually swipe the wings a second time with glass and melt a bit.

I used my brass stump shaper to make little dents in the wings for texture.
You can leave them plain if you like.
Keep flashing!

If you like, you can add a little top knot.
I made a couple of birds that have little hats on.
Check out the variations!
Now, before you do anything else,
give that little bird a warm bath in the flame, 
then put this critter in the kiln and anneal it.
You're done!
If you donate your bird to 
you will put a smile on a child's face.
Just click on the link and the link will take you to the 
BOC donate page!

See, I told you this was 
Easy Peasy!

3 comments:

A Half-Baked Notion said...

These are very cute, Mallory! As much as I am fascinated by the art of lampworking, I doubt I'll ever master my fear of open flame... I'll just keep watching from a safe distance... like online LOL

April Grinaway said...

Thank you for the CUTE tutorial ~I'm going to try it.

Terry said...

I found your blog last night and tried your birds today. Thank you for the easy to follow tutorial. I would have never figured out how to engineer these cuties on my own. Have some cook'n in the kiln. I will be making more to send to BOC. Thank you for sharing.