Unique Lampwork Pendants
By: Lori Bergmann for Ashlyn Design
Use recycled glass beads to create this amazing project! Unique Lampwork Pendants from Lori Bergmann are a great keepsake!
- Key made out of a hard metal like steel or brass
- Glass bead
- Then you need to thoroughly clean it with some soap and water and a wire brush to get rid of any crusty build-up or rust. I don't like to clean mine so hard that it loses the nice vintage patina that gives it character—just enough so my bead release will stick properly.
- Heat up the key like you would a regular mandrel and add the glass directly to it. The bead will be permanently attached to the shaft and will not be able to move.
- Dip the entire key shaft into bead release, let air dry completely, and then heat up and form your bead on it. The advantage of this method is that after the bead release has been cleaned off, the bead will be loose and able to spin freely. I prefer this method because I love being able to play with the bead while I'm wearing it as a pendant.
- With either method, you need to properly anneal your key bead immediately after finishing it. Otherwise, you may have problems because the metal and glass may contract at very different rates if they cool down too quickly.
- One of the trickier issues to deal with is how to hold the oddly shaped key so that you can work with it in the flame? I use a simple handmade steel tool made to hold short lengths of glass rods, clamped around the barrel end of the key. Some people use hemostats, and there is a mandrel tool made specifically for key beads you can buy from Etsy seller Jelveh Designs. I also read about a lampworker who sticks a regular mandrel directly to the key with the bead release so that they're sort of "glued" together as they dry. I might have to give that a try next time!
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