Fused Glass Bail Beads

Frequently at art shows I see many beautiful pendants with boring bails. I admit, the bail is often the last thing I think about when making jewelry, and often my bails are even less interesting than the average boring bail. I’ve decided my new go to is a fused glass bail bead. While it’s not earth shatteringly cool, it gives me a chance to add a bit more color and balance to my glass pendant. There are also many ways to embellish your bail, which we’ll cover in a future tutorial. See what you think.

Materials needed:

glass (I’m using a flattened Bud Light bottle)

20 gauge nichrome wire

glue

round nose pliers

wire cutters

needle nose pliers

Pendant

jump rings

leather cord

Fused Glass Bail Bead

Step 1:

Cut the glass. You will need

1 glass piece at 0.25″ x 0.25″

2 glass pieces at .375″ (3/8″) x 0.25″

These pieces are a bit small, and you can make your bail any size you like, so feel free to adjust the sizes. The triangle bead mold can accommodate many bails at a time, so consider making a variety.

Step 2:

Prepare the wire. Cut the 20 gauge nichrome wire into 0.75″ long pieces (one for each bail). Using your round nose pliers, bend each piece of wire into a staple shape.

Nichrome Wire Loops for glass jewelry

 

nichrome wire loops for glass beads

Step 3:

Prepare your bead mold by kilnwashing it and dipping the mandrels. I keep a stock of already dipped mandrels handy for impromptu bead making sessions. Add one of the 3/8″ pieces to the mold, and then the smaller 1/4″ piece on top to make a V shape:

Triangle Bead Mold for Glass BeadsAdd the dipped mandrel to the V. Using the glue, add a dot on one side of the V where you want the bail to be.

fused glass beads with loopsNow add the staple shaped wires to the glue dots with the loop side up.

fused glass beads with loopsAdd the final piece of glass to the top of the V shape. If it is difficult to keep it balanced, you can add a glue dot to the side of the bead without loops.

fused glass beads with loopsStep 4:

Fuse using the full fuse schedule.

kiln formed glass beadsAfter cooling, twist the beads off the mandrel. If they are stubborn, you can soak them, mandrel and all, in water.

kiln formed glass beadsStep 5:

Add your pendant. I’m adding a square fused Bombay Sapphire mini donut with a little wire wrapping. Another option would be the fused butterfly pendant we made a few weeks ago.

Fused Glass bail with pendantI’m using a small jump ring to attach the pendant to the bail. When you open jump rings, always twist them open. I’m using needle nose pliers and my super strong fingernails, but you can always use two pairs of pliers.

open jumpring for fused pendantOnce you have the jump ring open, use it to loop the pendant and the bail together.

fused glass bail and pendantNow twist the jump ring closed and you’re almost done.

Close jumpring for pendant

fused glass pendant with glass bailI’ve added a leather cord to mine. The thickness of cord that will fit through your bail is directly related to how thick your bead release is on your mandrel. If you want a larger hole, you need to make sure your bead release is slightly thicker than the cord you are using.

DSC_0012

 

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