How to Use Fine Silver Wire on Glass Beads

November 27, 2012 , In: Glass, Tutorials

There are many ways to add silver to your glass beads! 

One way is to add fine silver wire.  I’m not sure why, but you are supposed to use fine Silver wire as opposed to the silver jewelry wire you might have on hand.  (I have since learned that it’s because fine silver is pure silver, while sterling has copper in it).  I order my fine silver wire from Monsterslayer.  I like them and they always have up-to-date pricing as the silver market is so volatile lately.  I use 30 gauge silver wire, but there are different gauges available.  I like 30 gauge because it’s more delicate.  If you want to use higher gauge wire, you can get different effects, like actually placing thought-out dots on your bead!

I cut easily usable lengths of silver wire (about 9 inches or so) and clip the hemos at the measure I want to use.  If I’m applying it to a round bead, I usually clip at about 2-3 inches.  Fine silver wire will disappear in your flame, so make sure you work waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay out at the end of the flame.  Barely touch the silver wire to the bead under the flame, move the bead away, and quickly wrap the wire around the bead.  When you’ve reached the end of your clipped wire, flame cut the silver, and then very delicately melt the silver wire at the end of the flame into the bead.  This is how you get the trailing dots. 


Susan Kennedy

Susan Kennedy Susan, the owner of SueBeads, started making glass beads in 2005 because she loved lampworked beads so much, but wanted to make her own instead of buying them on ebay! She also makes enameled components and dabbles in polymer clay, but her first love is glass. She has attended jewelry-making classes at ArtBLISS and has taken classes from Barbara Lewis (torch fired enameling) in addition to several classes at the Pittsburgh Glass Center.
  1. Reply

    Bookmarking this! Thanks!

  2. Reply

    Very cool, Sue! Thanks for sharing…I wonder if this would work on enamel? Have you tried it?

  3. Reply

    I don't make beads but this is a very interesting post I'm interested in the process behind the beads I like. I've seen lampwork beads made but not this particular technique. (I used to work at the Art Center where they gave classes).

  4. Reply

    If you try to use sterling silver rather than fine silver, the copper or whatever other metal is in it causes the silver to turn black and nasty rather than being pretty and silver.

  5. Reply

    This is so interesting! You are so nice to share your techniques! I hope to be getting a kiln next year to make lampwork beads. However, they will NEVER be as perfect as yours! I went through my ETSY account recently (man, I buy alot of beads!) Anyhow, though I also buy from other lampworkers, at least 50% of my beads come from SueBeads…

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