Picture of Bubbly Glass Bead Bracelet
In this instructable, I'll show you how to make your own glass beads and turn them into a bracelet. This particular method of glassblowing is called lampworking

  • Sodium Flare protection / UV protection safety glasses
  • propane or MAPP gas torch
  • mandrels
  • bead release
  • drill & bits

  • glass
  • baking soda
  • copper winding wire


A note about the tools:
In the videos I'll be using a dual fuel oxy/propane torch, but if you're new to the game, you won't need anything that elaborate to start off with, especially not for little beads like these. I began doing it using an old propane plumbing torch. You can get a bernzomatic or similar mapp gas torch from most hardware stores, or a specific "hot head" torch from the above glassblowing supply sites, they're pretty cheap.
The mandrels I'm using here were made out of some 1/8" TIG welding rod, my very first ones were repurposed bicycle spokes. Anything should be fine, as long as it's stainless steel. 
I really recommend buying some bead release, but some people have had some success using plaster of paris. The main difference is that bead release can be dried in the torch flame, plaster needs to air dry over several hours, and can still produce noxious fumes when heated.

As far as the materials go, you can use just about any glass you want (old bottles, etc) but if you're using recycled glass, you won't be able to use 2 different colors in the same bead, or they will break. For the glass in this instructable, I'm using Effetre glass that all has the same coefficient of expansion. Nepheron has a great instructable on how to make beads with recycled glass. Here is another good video on how to cut your own glass stringers out of a bottle to make beads with. 
andrew.spencer.2 (author) 2 years ago
Thanks Emily, glad you like it! I must say, I'm quite impressed with your yarn bangles and other jewelry as well!
It looks amazing!