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.

Materials:

Piece of thin sheet glass, float glass or evenly flattened bottle glass work great

polishing grit, I’m using a 180/220 mix

water

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

triangle bead mold

Step 1.

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.

textured glass for mica painting
Ground surface of glass sheet

Step 2.

Paint the ground surface with a variety of mica colors.

metallic mica for ground glass painting
Metallic mica for painting ground glass
mica paint for fused beads
Glass with mica painted on

Step 3.

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.

cutting recycled glass for beads
Marking out strips for the triangle sides of the beads

 

Step 4.

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.

cutting fused glass beads
Marking out every 1/2″ for bead length
fused recycled glass with mica
Float glass scored in two directions for beads

Step 5.

Go ahead and run all of those beautiful scores so you have strips:

recycled glass beads
Window glass strips with mica

and then again so you have squares:

fused recycled glass beads
Mica painted squares for triangle beads

Step 6.

Kiln wash your mold and add one row of squares to each groove.

fused kiln formed beads
Place first side of triangle beads

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.

Step 7.

Add the second side of the triangle bead.

fused beads with mica
Add second side of mica triangle bead

Step 8.

Now add prepared mandrels to each groove.

fused kiln formed beads
Add coated mandrels

Step 9.

Add the top of the bead carefully to each set of squares.

recycled glass beads
Add top of beads

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.

fused triangle beads
Fuse beads on mold

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 kiln formed beads
Mica inside of the beads

Mica acts as a separator, so the seams are more visible on these beads where the mica is on the inside.

fused recycled glass beads
Triangle Beads with Mica on the outside

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Next FREE online class, March 27-29, Recycled Glass Jewelry, register at: http://www.curiousmondo.com/recycled-glass-jewelry-free