Tag Archives: glass

A dabble with glass

Sorry it’s taken me ages to post this, Royal Mail has been very slow at getting my beads to me and I wanted to be able to show some pictures with this post, so as I got them after work yesterday in the dark, I could photograph them this morning (whilst it was still a bit dark, hence a bit of flash used) to blog now.

Last thursday I went to the house of Lorna of Pixie Willow to learn how to make lampwork beads in a one-to-one session (if you want a go yourself, just drop her an e-mail). It was a bit of a whim thing to be honest, I wanted to have a play without buying all the stuff and potentially burning my house down, it wasn’t too expensive and it was lots of fun! I worked my way quite quickly through the different processes, so in a 4-5 hour session I made more than we were expecting….

Firstly Lorna showed me how to wind the glass around the mandrel to make a basic bead. Here’s hers on the left and mine of the right (bet you can guess which was my first attempt!)

Then dotty, both raised and melted in (again mine on the right)

Then building on the dots to make flowers (mine are much lamer than I remember!)

Then I learned how to put deliberate little bubbles in by poking the molten glass- this looks pretty effective and is probably my best bead.

The swirly ones were a bit scary. Look how beautiful Lorna’s bead is!

Mine is pretty but it will take some practising to get the full effect….

Then we played with some frit and clear glass…

And finally I had a go with a lentil press which takes a bit of trial and error to make sure you have enough glass on it- but not too much! My design was a bit flawed (yeah white spots on white, great idea! Lorna’s is on the left as usual) but the process worked well. I know a lot of people don’t like using presses and they can be a bit tricky but I think this might have been my favourite part!

So I now really want to do this again, to the point where I’m eyeing up one of the starter kits on Tuffnell Glass. I would love to make the Pandora style beads as Christmas presents, and the lovely Georgie has offered to anneal them for me since a kiln is so far off my list of spending priorities right now. I’m actually thinking I may completely give up resin in the new year because of the fumes (and Resin Obsession closing), to focus on other crafts such as my patchwork. If I also take up glass it will mean I can work with the patio doors open without getting cold! Also when I’m all settled and set up I’m thinking about getting a HEDGEHOG to live in my workroom, and s/he won’t want to be living in a cold, fumy environment.

Very exciting, and my workroom is out of bounds for decorating right now, argh!


Resin Tutorial: Stained Glass Windows

I haven’t really got a use for these as they are very thin, though they are quite flexible, so they might make earrings, but certainly not a bracelet or something that would receive a lot of wear. Why not try embedding them in more resin to make a pendant, or laminate them with a few more coats of clear resin for a more substantial finish?

This is not really a project for beginners because of how quickly you need to work before it sets, but go for it if you’ve done some castings in the past and feel comfortable trying something different!

Please be aware that this was my first attempt, so they have come out a bit blobby, but it should improve with practise!

Resin gelcoat (I use polyester)
Resin colour pigments
“Normal” clear resin
Paper with pretty design, stamped or otherwise
Disposable piping bag
Acetate sheet
Several mixing cups and sticks

1) Place a sheet of acetate over a design you want to replicate (simple ones are best) and mix up a batch of gelcoat with some pigment for your outline. Small designs are easiest because gelcoat has a tendency to cure faster than your standard liquid resin.

2) Stick your cup inside the disposable bag and pour in the gelcoat. You might need to scrape the sides and repour to get the most out.

3) Snip the end of the piping bag- make the hole really tiny, it means you can make more detailed designs- and trace the outline onto the acetate. It can get a bit of getting used to, make sure you squeeze as consistantly as possible, though you can go over any gaps and thin bits.

4) Once it’s all done, leave to cure thoroughly overnight.

5) Mix up two (or three, or four…) translucent colours in clear resin. Note: the green I used is pretty rubbish, so it goes clear on the final one. I have a RAL green, so might be best to avoid that one). Drip a little of the colour where you want to fill.

6) Once you have finished with one colour, move onto the next. If you are doing a larger design, it may be worth mixing one colour at a time so there’s not as much time pressure. If you overflow a bit, use a bit of torn paper towel to absorb it.

7) Leave it to dry. Because this type of resin (I used polyester again!) has a tendency to struggle to cure in thin layers, I would recommend a resting time of at least 2 days. And then just peel ’em off the sheet! Mine bled a bit into each other during curing, so be prepared for more “abstract” results than it looks like wet!

Spotlight on… Emma Gerard

I spotted these fantastically realistic glass versions of jelly sweets on Etsy at http://emmagerard.etsy.com and had to share with you- aren’t they brilliant?!

Incy’s Button Jewellery Swap- what I got!

I took part in a button jewellery swap over on http://incywincytogs.blogspot.com and my swap partner was Jenny from http://jennyflowerblue.folksy.com

Look at all the fabulous stuff I got! Some doggie treats for my doggies and a little box full of treasure!

I’m even wearing the necklace to work. Please excuse the photo as it was taken whilst ironing my trousers this morning and before I’d brushed my hair after washing it! I gave the postie a shock that’s for sure!


I’m now extremely worried that my parcel will be rubbish by comparison, as Jenny put so much care and stuff in her parcel. I will show you the main piece I sent her once I know that she has received it 🙂

In other news, I was setting up the glass cabinets in my gallery space last night and on taking one of the panels of glass out of the box it literally exploded in my hands leaving me with several splinters in my hands and feet (some of which I only discovered when seeing my leg bleeding several hours later). There’s still a lot of hoovering to do as it’s a sisal carpet (which hurts to walk on barefoot anyway) and it is near impossible to get all the tiny shards out of the grooves! And it’s supposed to be safety glass!


On a positive note I saved a few pieces which could be embedded in some paperweights perhaps 🙂

Interview with… LEJ Jewellery

lej1 lej2

 LEJ Jewellery is Jo- though I’m not sure what LEJ actually stands for or symbolises- it’s a mystery! I particularly like the combinations of colour that Jo uses in her work as well as her eye for great beads!

lej3 lej4

Who are you and where do you come from?
My name is joanne, i do many craft such as cross stitching, card making, jewellery making and i have recently started glass fusing and knitting. I live in lancashire with my husband and 2 lovely children.

What do you do in your spare time other than craft?
Spare time? whats that? no seriously i like going for walks and just enjoying the quite.

Please tell us a little bit about what you make.
I mainly make jewellery, my style is novelty although i do make some fashion pieces too. I love to make something which the chances of someone else having is slim. I have recently sold 2 VW beetle charm bracelets from one of my shops and have had an order for a spider charm bracelet. Plus pigs are always popular.
What do you enjoy making most?
I have to say bracelets as they are what i have the most of. I think lampwork beads are my favourite beads at the minute for making them with too.

What part do you dislike the most?
Having to wait until the kids go to bed before i start, i would craft all day if i could. It’ll probably be easier once my youngest starts school next year.

What are your main inspirations for making a piece?
Sometimes i’ll see a piece in a magazine which i like ie. colours or style and then i will change it so it is more my piece. I also love fairies and angels and a few of my pieces tend to be designed with that feel.

Do you plan out your designs or do you get stuck in straight away when inspiration strikes?
More often than not i will just put all my beads out on the living room floor and go from there, once everything is out i can see what works together and what doesn’t.

What are you currently making?
I am currently making some beaded curtain tiebacks, i have just made a hello kitty set and i am now going to try and make some boy themed ones.

Do you make custom orders?
Yes, i welcome any custom orders.

Where can we buy your work?
My work is available from my website – www.lej-jewellery.co.uk
My misi shops – http://www.misi.co.uk/store_info.php?user_id=467
My folksy shop – http://www.folksy.com/shops/lejjewellery
and my coriandr shop – https://www.coriandr.com/shop?seller_id=435

Spotlight on… Dier Designs

I haven’t done one of these for a little while, so thought it would be an opportune moment to introduce to you Dier Designs (http://Jleareid.etsy.com), quite a new shop on Etsy, from a user who has been registered on the site a little while. I love the combination of clay and glass to make these bracelets!

Interview with… Crafted Gems


I owe my first magazine article to Caroline,  she gave me the contacts, knowledge and confidence to give it a go and now I have had 2 articles, and I would say it really helped me kick start my book writing too! Not only is she a talented writer, but she makes amazing lampwork!


Who are you and where do you come from?
I’m Caroline Cash and I live in Cheshire with my husband and son.

What do you do in your spare time other than craft?
I’m a full time mum so I don’t get a lot of spare time. I do like watching american crime shows like NCIS and CIS:NY when the little one is in bed and having a girly natter over a coffee while the little one is at Nursery School.

Please tell us a little bit about what you make.
I mainly make lampwork beads. Each one is made by hand at a bench torch. You melt a glass rod in the flame and wind the melted glass round a mandrel dipped in bead release and once made it need to be put in a kiln to be annealled to remove stresses from the glass. I also make a bit of Jewellery out of wire and beads.

What do you enjoy making most?
I like making both. Beads need to be made around my little one so when he is at Nursery or when he’s in bed as I need to pay attention to what I’m doing. Jewellery on the other hand I can make while he’s painting or playing with his toys. I quite like making jewellery while watching TV in the evening with my Hubby.

What part do you dislike the most?
Cleaning beads. Once the beads have been annealled in a kiln, the mandrels need to be soaked in water and the beads removed. Then you clean them with a diamond coated bead reamer to remove all traces of bead release. I use a dremel but cause it needs to be done in water- it ends up everywhere and I’ve knocked the bowl over myself countless times, lol.

What are your main inspirations for making a piece?
I use seasonal colours a lot. My mood can also effect the colours I use and I can get inspiration from anywhere, clothes in the shops to pictures to places I have been.

Do you plan out your designs or do you get stuck in straight away when inspiration strikes?
I have an ‘ideas’ book that has pages and pages of bead ideas, but everytime I sit at my torch, I end up just making what comes to me,  I get a lot of my bead ideas while I’m sat there. It’s a case of ‘I wonder what this, this and this will look like’. Jewellery-wise it’s a mixture really. I try to sketch out ideas but most of the time I just end up going with the flow. I’ve had a few of my jewellery designs published as tutorials, so I make lots of notes while I’m making in case I write it up as a tutorial.

What are you currently making?
I can make up to 4 sets of beads in a 2 hour session so they are not really long term projects. I do have 2 unfinished chainmaille projects next to my laptop. One needs a clasp (i’ve not found the right one) and one because I didn’t make enough jumprings to finish it. There is also 3 wire coils ready for cutting to finish the chainmaille so i need to get my Koil Kutter out and cut them.

Do you make custom orders?
Yes, as long as it’s one I feel comfortable doing and it’s a style I know I can do. For example, I wouldn’t take on a commission to do floral beads as they are not my thing so as long as it’s my style I will. The same for jewellery.

Where can we buy your work?
I have a website, www.craftedgems.co.uk, an Etsy shop, www.CraftedGems.etsy.com and a Folksy shop www.folksy.com/shops/CraftedGems

Spotlight on… CraftedGems

Caroline is a regular contributor to magazines such as “Bead”, and she’s been a great inspiration to me. I thought I’d show you some of her great creations! Her beads look so tasty, I wish I used glass in my work, but I think they’d completely put me to shame! Her lampworked beads can be bought from www.craftedgems.co.uk or www.craftedgems.etsy.com

Spotlight On… Handmade Heaven

This week, I am featuring http://www.handmadeheaven.biz who also has an Etsy shop, and I think this is revealing a secret fetish I have for glasswork! I totally love her lattice work, and it would look fantastic in a clean modern apartment or house. Here’s some of my favourites:

If you have any great tips for sellers to feature, please drop me an e-mail at kerry@penny-dog.co.uk

Spotlight on… Glassprimitif

This week, I am featuring http://glassprimitif.etsy.com  another UK etsyer, who is fantastic with colour! She is a glass maker who specialises in dishes and some jewellery too, incorporating geometric patterns and quirky designs into each piece She is inspired by sweet shops and patchwork, and it shows. Here’s some of my favourites:

If you have any great tips for sellers to feature, please drop me an e-mail at kerry@penny-dog.co.uk