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I recently discovered handmade glass beads---lampwork glass beads to be exact---and now I'm obsessed.

Lampwork glass beads are made by using a torch to melt glass and then shape the pieces by hand with appropriate tools. Most of the beads I'm using are made from Borosilicate (Boro) glass, which is a popular material among artisans.

All of the beads I'm using for this instructable were bought from various sources, mostly Etsy, as I know literally nothing about working with glass. But that shall soon change! I just found a local glass working studio that teaches a fireworking glass bead class every couple of months, so I will be signing up for that!

Most of the pieces I have are "orphans" (leftovers, beads without a pair etc.) or have some kind of mistake that the maker felt made the beads not good enough. These mistakes may or may not be noticeable and often result in a lower price for the bead---which works for me :-)

Step 1: Tools & Materials

-Lampwork glass beads

-Jewelry findings (clasps, end pieces, jump rings, pins, etc)

-Jewelry pliers

-Charms (or smaller beads)

-Cord/chain (for your necklace)

Step 2: Prep Work

When I'm making necklaces, the first thing I always do is measure out the cord to my desired length, usually about 19.5".

I generally use cord tips for connecting my cord and clasps. Take one end of the cord and place it between the cord tip. Using a jewelry plier, fold over each "wing" of the cord tip until it is wrapped around the cord. I then use the "cutting" part of the plier to carefully clamp the cord tip wings onto each other for security.

Attach jump rings to the cord tips by twisting them open and then twisting them closed, don't pull or use pliers to push jump rings open.

Attach charms to your pins the same way. Twist a jump ring open and then slide a charm on and your pin and then close the jump ring.

Step 3: Design

Next select your beads. You can use as many or as few beads as you want. There really isn't a right/wrong way to do this, it's really just a matter of preference. Slide the beads you want to use onto a prepared pin.

Step 4: DIY Headpin

Using round needle nose pliers to hold the pin, and then with your fingers or another plier, bend the headpin clockwise around the plier until you have a small loop formed. Then readjusting your pliers, wrap the tail of the loop around the base of the pin a few times. You can use a different plier to press the end of the pin inwards so that it does not stick out and poke you, or if there's a lot of excess, cut it off.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

Add another jump ring to your pendant and then slide onto your necklace cord.

Finally, add the last cord tip and clasp to the other end of your cord. Follow the same method as used in step 2 and use pliers to secure the cord tip.

For these pendants I decided to use small jump rings, but if you used bigger ones you could make an interchangeable necklace and simply slide pendants on/off to color coordinate or to add to any necklace you want.

About This Instructable

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Bio: I am a teacher outside of Boston and I love making cool stuff! Any prizes I'm lucky enough to win will go directly to ... More »
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