As you may know, Beads of Courage is a country-wide organization that provides fun beads to children who have life-threatening medical conditions as a way to hallmark their successful foray through the multitude of procedures they have to face. Here’s a fun tutorial for a bead you could make to send to these brave children!
Tools needed: Zoozii straight-sided lentil press, tweezers, marver or magic wand, 3/32″ mandrel
Note: Mandrel size does matter in this tutorial. In order for the kids to be able to string the bead on their necklace, the hole needs to be large enough. Since most necklaces are made using thicker cord, a 3/32″ mandrel is needed.
Note: Remember to flash your bead in the flame from time to time, to avoid cracking or the face additions from popping off!
This is what the Zoozii press looks like. You do NOT have to have a press – you can make this bead free-form, too! You can flatten it with a marver or magic wand on your graphite pad, too.
Glass colors for this bead – white commercially pulled stringer (or your own pulled stringer), olive green rod, black rod, red pulled stringer, black pulled stringer. To pull a stringer, simply melt the end of a rod in the flame, take out of the flame and pull with tweezers.
First, wind a blob of black on your mandrel, checking against the size of the press to make sure you are getting the right amount of glass. Since it’s a solid color, you can add more glass without ruining the effect of the bead!
This photo shows the black glass still very hot, which is why it looks red!
This photo shows the bead pressed into the lentil shape – if you need to add more glass, don’t worry, just heat the glass up enough to re-press! Make sure you have very nice dimples with no sharp edges.
Fire polish your lentil bead so it is nice and shiny with no press marks!
I add the eyes first, because they become part of the bead and most likely will not pop off if you don’t flash the bead in the flame enough. First, add two blobs of white stringer in the place where the eyes would be! Use your marver or magic wand to flatten them. Fire polish the dots. Then add blobs of olive green over the white, either covering it entirely or leaving some white showing around the edges, it’s up to you! Again, flatten and fire polish. Then take your black stringer, and add two dots. Flatten in slightly or leave elevated!
Next, I add the ears (or horns, or whatever appendages you want to add!). This will take a couple of dabs of black glass. Heat the end of the glass, dab on the bead, and pull up slightly. If you want the ears bigger, do this a couple of times. You can get a few different effects by doing this, but make sure there are no sharp edges.
Finally, I add the mouth. I use the red stringer. Turn down your flame, slightly melt the end of the red stringer, place it on the bead, and using the heat from the flame, draw your mouth. You can make it smily, or wiggly, or however you want!
Below you can see some other variations – use a murrini for an eye, or both! Use different colors, make the mouth different, whatever you want! I’d love to see what you come up with!