Thread: Hollow Beads
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Old 2021-10-21, 2:32pm
Robin Passovoy Robin Passovoy is offline
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Join Date: Dec 31, 2009
Posts: 504

I've never tried making hollows with a puffy, but I habitually build them on solid mandrels. I can get them down to the size of peas, and here's how:

1. Use a stiffer grade of glass for making them. CoE 104 is too soft to make them easily unless you're really good at temperature control. For this sort of work, 96 or 90 would be better, and my personal favorite is recycled bottle glass. That's in the 80's somewhere, and makes beautiful hollows. I like to use stringers for this purpose--a 4-6mm rod is way too clunky.

2. Use a thin mandrel. For tiny hollows, I prefer Devardi's 1.2mm mandrels, which I also use for making bottle-glass spacer beads.

3. Having acquired the necessary materials and equipment, remember to keep the flame low. Work these very cool! Trying to rush them will end in disappointment.

4. For consistent pairs, I will build up a disc near the end of the mandrel, perhaps 3/8 " in diameter. Wind another disc maybe a quarter-inch down from the first, and then join them by carefully winding coils from the lower disc to the upper, being careful not to overheat them or leave any pinholes.

5. Heat the bead gently, just enough to fuse it into a cohesive whole. Then, while keeping the first hollow warm, build another one below it. Sometimes I can get 3 in a row on the same mandrel, if they're small enough.

6. Practice, practice, practice. You will screw up a bunch of times, hollows are tricky no matter what technique you use. For a more in-depth tutorial, check out the April 2012 issue of Soda Lime Times, which has pictures and everything.

Good luck!
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