Triangle Beads with Mica
Just when you thought there couldn’t possibly be any more variations on the triangle bead, here comes a new tutorial! (Actually, there are a few MORE variations you haven’t thought of yet. We’ll get there.)
This version is a bit more complicated than the painted triangle beads. We’ll be using mica to give our recycled glass beads a bit of shine.
Piece of thin sheet glass, float glass or evenly flattened bottle glass work great
polishing grit, I’m using a 180/220 mix
small piece of glass to create friction with
mica powders and medium (I’m using copper, gold and silver with liquid hairspray)
glass cutting tools
To get the very best coating and coverage for our mica, we need to frost, texture or rough up the glass first. Mica works best when the glass has some ‘tooth’. I’m using rock polishing grit to quickly coldwork the top surface of the glass off.
Doing this by hand takes a few minutes, you’ll know you’re done when you have an even frost on the glass and the grit gets creamy and smooth on the glass.
Paint the ground surface with a variety of mica colors.
Once the mica medium is dry, flip the glass over so we can cut the unpainted side. First we need to cut strips for the three sides of the triangle beads. Since this glass is fairly thin (single strength float) we are marking out strips 3/8″ wide. Go ahead and score these lines, but don’t run them.
Next we’ll turn the glass and cut the length of the beads, which in this case is 1/2″. I like to mark the whole sheet and then cut.
Go ahead and run all of those beautiful scores so you have strips:
and then again so you have squares:
Kiln wash your mold and add one row of squares to each groove.
Now, there is a variation here that you should be aware of. You can make your beads with the mica on the outside, which means the mica should be on the mold side. Or, you can make them with mica on the inside, toward the mandrel. Each way works, but the beads do look different for each method.
Add the second side of the triangle bead.
Now add prepared mandrels to each groove.
Add the top of the bead carefully to each set of squares.
Step 10. (almost done!)
Fuse mold with beads using the full fuse for 1/4″ recycled glass schedule. If you’re using art glass, fuse to the manufacturers recommendations.
Twist the mandrels to remove beads. Remember the bit about mica on the inside or the outside? Here’s what the different beads look like:
Mica acts as a separator, so the seams are more visible on these beads where the mica is on the inside.
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