Texture vs No Texture: what difference does it really make?

April 26, 2017 , In: Glass

In anticipation of next week’s (Tuesday May 2nd, to be precise.)  component of the month reveal for April, I thought it might be fun to share a little bit about the surface texture of the beads. The beads pictured in the header above and the photo immediately below are all beads sent out to be used for the reveal. As you can see, they have a swirl texture on the surface. Some are heavily swirled, others I just added a few randomly placed swirls using an impress tool designed specifically for use by lampwork beadmakers. 


But why do this? What’s the point of texturing lampwork beads? There are several reasons to add texture. However, in this particular instance, I wanted to change the look of the bead to something a bit more dynamic and tactile. In order to best demonstrate this, I made the exact same bead twice, one with the texture, one without. I used colors that would pop and encased the beads with clear.  

First up is the smooth, non-textured bead. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this bead. In fact, I find it very appealing. 


Next, I made the same bead, but with texture. As you can see, it completely changes the entire look of the bead. 


Side by side comparison. 


The next photo is just a gratuitous cat photo. Luna is the self-designated bead quality control officer. 


Making textures in glass do not require special glasswork tools. As long as the tools used can withstand the high temps of molten glass (for example, stainless steel), they will work. In the photo collage below, the lower left photo is the actual tool I used for these beads. Top photo includes a couple more options from that line in addition to what I believe are leatherworking tools I picked up while taking a decorative stained glass soldering class about 13 or 14 years ago that also make some cool textures on beads. Bottom right is an impress tool made out of graphite.


More tools for texture: pictured on the left is a meat cleaver I think (I don’t own one in my kitchen, so I could be wrong about that…I bought this one for the cool bumpy texture…). The photo to the right contains a cheese grater, and several files for woodworkers (I think…it’s been a while since I got them). 



The following photos are just gratuitous “in progress” photos. I really wanted to do a short video demo, but I cannot video myself. However, if I get an assistant, I will update this blog post with the video. 


Notice how the bright red glass looks like a gross liver color when some of the heat dissipates. It looks nearly black when it’s in the flame. 


This is after using the swirl imprint tool. 



Thanks for reading! 


Jennifer Cameron

Combining fire and glass since 2005, Jen Cameron discovered jewelry making after realizing a small child could disappear in the growing collection of beads sitting around the house. Jen is the adoring mother of two, jackpot winner in the husband category, and zookeeper of several pets. Jen is also the instigator for bringing together this team of innovative, talented, passionate and dynamic women to write for Art Jewelry Elements.
  1. Reply

    Wow! That’s really cool how it changes the whole look of the bead. It adds so much more reflectiveness to the bead like facets in gemstones. I love the plain beads but the textures really make them POP with light and color!

    • jewelsofsayuri
    • April 27, 2017

    so cool, I didnt know that you could texture a glass bead

  2. Reply

    What an amazing difference added to the appearance by texturing. There are some beads that I prefer plain but some that I definitely prefer the textured version more.

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