Her's a video I made that shows you how to make some pretty nice beads from a couple of shards of blue glass.
If you want to learn more about this kind of art, it's called "lampworking". There are scores more tutorials out there!
In order to clear up the whole eye protection confusion:
DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT DOING THIS WITHOUT SAFETY GLASSES! Chips of glass can actually shoot out when you heat glass!
Whether or not you want to wear didium lenses is up to you! Personally, I do not wear them!
The torch I used is a Propane fueled Plumber's torch from Ace Hardware...nothing special!
-Heat glass slowly, or it may fracture.
-Make sure your torch is not near anything flammable.
-WEAR SAFETY GLASS
-I have a fire extinguisher within arms reach, I recommend the same for you.
-Don't make large beads. They might break while they cool, or worse, while you wear them!
-Do some research! :D
Step 1: Part 1
When you make beads for the first time, they should be pretty small. When glass cools in the air, it builds up stress and may break (if the bead is too big)! Professional bead makers immediately put there hot beads into kilns where they are slowly cooled over several hours. You probably will not have access to such a kiln, so your first beads will have to cool in air. If you really like making beads and you want to make larger ones, get some vermiculate from any gardening store. The vermiculite is in a fine pellet form, so put your still hot beads in a dish of it such that it cools slower (the vermiculate insulates the beads, so it cool slower and introduces less stress into the bead)
Ok, the basic steps are:
-Take 2 shards of glass, and melt them together at the tips.
-Stretch out the melted part into a thin rod of glass.
-Get a bicycle spoke, cover one end of it with bead release/plaster.
-Heat the spoke until it glows red hot
-Wrap the spoke with the thin glass rod you just made.
-Heat the new bead such that it gets smooth and rounded.
-Let it cool
-Pull it off the spoke and wash the clay off of it.
The torch in this video is just a plain old propane plumbers torch.
The glass is from a busted vodka bottle.
The clay is from a specialty store, but you can use plaster of paris instead.