Some basic steps to making a bead

Heat glass rod Gently warm up the glass rod using a special lampworking blow torch. I have a hot head torch but I am hoping to upgrade fairly soon. If you heat the glass up too quickly it will crack or even shatter off small pieces of glass so be careful. As you heat the rod continue to rotate it so that the glass melts into a big ball. Failure to rotate the rod will result in the molten glass drooping down towards the ground and eventually dropping off the rod and burning whatever it hits when it reaches the surface. Introduce mandrel Whilst heating glass rod begin to warm the mandrel in the flame as well. A mandrel is a metal rod that the bead will be shaped on.The mandrel must have previously been dipped in bead release so that the bead will be able to be removed from the mandrel when it has cooled. Making the bead Rotate the mandrel away from the flame (ie anticlockwise if holding in left hand) continuously. With the other hand gently introduce the molten glass to the mandrel. Remove the rod when enough glass has been added to the mandrel and place the hot glass rod back in the rod support so not as to burn the work surface or yourself. Shaping the bead Continue to rotate the mandrel slowly but evenly in the flame until the molten glass is formed into a neat bead shape. When you have achieved the right round shape slowly remove the bead to a cooler part of the flame so the bead can start to solidify. The bead will then need to be placed in a special blanket or placed directly into a kiln to be annealed. Finished beads Here are some of my finished beads. These have had dots of different coloured glass added around the bead and then the bead heated until they have sunk into the surface.