This tutorial will show how to make a multi-layered rose petal bead using dots instead of spreading layers of encasing between each layer of petals. It is an easier method to make multiple layers of petals. I am using a Hothead Torch to make this bead and it takes about an hour, more or less, depending on how you work.
PICTURES OF TWO FINISHED BEADS
FINISHED BEAD NOTES: Both beads have three layers of petals. The bead on the left has the first two bottom layers of petals placed directly on top of each other, and vines around the core. The bead on the right has each layer of petals staggered and Goldstone around the core. The second bead is the one being made in this tutorial.
You will need to make the following stringers to work with. I used the effetre glass listed below and the tools shown to make this bead.
Mandrel dipped in bead release (I use Sludge Plus)
Tools as desired to work glass
Bead Core Color (Pea Green)
Vine or Goldstone (Goldstone Adventurine was encased in clear and then pulled into a stringer)
Flower Petal Base Color (White)
Transparent Petal Accent Color (optional - Pink/Rose Opalino)
Flower Center Stamen Stringer (optional)
A simple Stamen Stringer can be made using a rod of clear and drawing 3 to 5 opaque stripes on it's side for 1 to 2 inches with a yellow/gold stringer, and then heating and pulling it to a stringer thickness. The yellow and clear stringer above on the far right was made this way.
FLOWER CENTER NOTE:
You can also use a pointed tool like the stamen stringer is used, to press in the center and then apply a tiny dot of clear. After melting the clear dot in you will get a bubble in the center. For another option, you can apply a CZ in the center of each flower.
LET'S GET STARTED!
1. Wrap your core color one stringer-wrap around. Smooth it out and let it cool a bit (second picture). If you don't let it cool before wrapping with the clear stringer it may merge into the clear. Wrap your slightly cooled core with a clear stringer. Slightly over-wrap with the clear so that clear goes around the mandrel on both sides. You are encapsulating your core color. You don't want your core color to come up through the clear on the sides or in the middle (see third picture). Melt the clear smooth and let it cool a bit.
2. Wrap your vine or goldstone stringer if you want it on the bead next. Melt it in, cool slightly and then wrap with a clear stringer (third picture). Make your clear wrap a barrel because it will give you the right amount of glass as it rounds into a ball. Melt the clear round and let it cool a bit.
One way to get your bead to come to a round shape is to heat it to a glow and then take it out of the flame and keep turning it. As it starts to cool it wants to pull into a round shape. You can repeat this process to bring it round, or use your graphite roller to make nice rounded ends. You want a nice round shape at this point because your dots will melt across this shape and continue it.
3. Using your Base Petal Color stringer and make 3 or 4 or 5 small dots, depending on the flower shape you want (second picture). The size of “O” around and tall is a good size. Dots really spread and keep on spreading with each layer you add. Place your dots ½ to 1 “O” size apart around the imaginary circle of the flower space. If you place them to close they will merge.
The first picture shows a stretched tiny amount of glass being added to that dot to make it the same size as the other four dots. Take time to add teeny bits more to make all the dots on the flower circle the same size. Melt in your dots completely (fourth picture). Allow the bead to cool slightly.
NOTE ON PLACING YOUR FIRST DOTS
To space your flower rings evenly you can add teeny clear dots where the centers will be. Use your mandrel as your guide. Put the top dot on and then roll it to the bottom and add your next top dot. Then turn your mandrel so that you can see the top and the bottom dots. THEN place a dot right in the middle using your mandrel to center it. Repeat on the other side.
If your teeny clear dots are to big use your tweezers to pick off the extra. They will push your petals apart if they are to big, but will make no impact if they are just a tiny clear spike-dot.
NOTE ON CORRECTING DOT PLACEMENT
When you look at your dot placement around your imaginary circle sometimes one dot is to close or to far away. I heat the dot a bit and use the flat edge of a brass tool to scoot the dot over a teeny bit. You can almost always get away with it because each dot sits on a layer of clear, which gives protection to the petal underneath to prevent it's distortion as you move the dot gently. I move it on 2 or 3 nudges to keep the dot as round as possible.
The bead on the right shows a large clear dot to close to the top 2 white ones. I would scoot it to the center and/or pick it smaller if need be before proceeding.
I got this brass tool in a set from a Seller on etsy and dearly love them because they are small. Here's the link if they interest you:
4. Place dots of the transparent color for the shading in the same size "O" or a touch smaller in the middle of the flat white dots. Take the time to adjust your dots to be the same size so they spread the same.
If you want solid colored petals don’t add the transparent dot layers. Just do solid color dots and clear dots between.
5. Melt in your transparent dots completely (first picture). Keep melting to shape the bead as round as possible. Let it cool a bit and then apply clear dots like you did the transparent dots. Melt in completely (third picture). Make the clear dots at least as large as your initial dots.
6. Place your second ring of base-color dots on the divides/edges between the petals about in the middle of the petals or in just a bit toward the center (first picture). It is more important to get a round circle of dots then to sit exactly on the petal divides. Repeat the process of melting in and then placing your transparent dots and your clear dots.
In the top picture on the left you can see that the very top (melted-in) dot is bigger than the other four melted in dots. This is because the first base color dot was bigger than the other four. Beware of this or you'll have mixed sized petals. To counter it a bit, put a smaller dot of Transparent and Clear on the larger base dot and it should spread less compared to the others.
In the bottom right picture you can see the right edge of the mandrel has a tiny spike area. A small amount of clear can be run around the bead, not touching the mandrel, and then carefully melted and pressed toward the mandrel with a small brass or graphite tool to fix this.
7. Repeat the steps for your third layer of petals, including the clear dots at the end. Round the bead with more heating (half in and half out of the flame).
8. After rounding the bead let it cool a bit and then if you are doing the stamen centers do the following:
a. Take your stamen stringer and pull it into a point in the flame - to a small point shaped like a sharpened pencil. This is so that when you push it into your rose center it doesn’t punch through your petals and make a round hole in them, but instead it pushes them down and in with the stamen stringer - so that it appears only as stamen coming out. Take the time to pull and re-point your stamen stringer for each flower center.
b. (First top left picture above) Heat one flower to a glow. Move it out of the flame a bit and take your pointed stamen stringer - carefully center it and gently press it in toward the mandrel.
Take the bead with it still in the center out of the flame and blow on it gently until the stringer easily snaps off. Return the bead to the flame and roll the bead to reheat just a bit. Repeat this cycle for each flower until all of them have a stamen center.
Then apply a tiny dot of clear on top of the stamen spot if the break is below the surface of the bead, which it almost always is. You can pull your clear stringer to a point to be able to place it in the center on the stamen if it is a wider stringer. If you put to big a clear dot on, gently pinch/pull off excess clear with tweezers. You want a tiny dot of clear to fill the center indent hole, not one that over spreads your petals (see the two pictures on the bottom left).
After all of your flowers have stamen inserted and a tiny dot of clear on top of the stamen, gently melt in the dots. Keep half your bead out of the flame as you turn so you are heating the surface of the bead, not the core. You do not want to overheat and shift the inside of the bead or make your petals slide or elongate.
DIFFERENT CENTER OPTIONS: You can also use a pointed tool and after heating the center, gently press it in and then apply a tiny dot of clear. After you melt in the clear you will get an air bubble in the center of the flower which is a pretty look, or you can apply a CZ for another center treatment.
9. You are done at this point unless want a layer of clear on the outside of your bead to magnify your flowers. If you do, then let the bead cool a bit and apply your final encasing layer and melt it in.
ENCASING LAYER NOTE: If you don't allow your bead to cool before applying the encasing layer your design with smear or shift with the melting in of the encasing layer. Be sure to keep your bead half in and half out of the flame as you melt in your encasing layer or you will still overheat your inner bead and cause it to shift. Even if your bead gets cool enough to get a slight crack before applying your encasing layer, it should heal in the flame as you melt in the encasing layer.
10. All done now… so smile at yourself, garage the bead or put it where you normally do.
SOME FINAL NOTES:
If you can’t seem to make this bead at present, practice your dot control - practice learning to place dots where you want them and in the size you want them. It will get easier with practice. Pay attention to how the glass stretches when you add more to a dot, and how long to take to lift off your stringer to get a set size of dot. Almost musical or like a dance step, there's a rhythm to it.
ON BEAD SHAPE:
If you are getting to much of a donut shape, you can widen your base bead a bit, like this picture shows. It will give a wider bead base as you add layers of dots and round the bead up.
ON MORE DEPTH TO THE ENCASING DOT
I added 2 layers of clear dots to each petal layer on this bead - except for the final single layer of clear dots. It gave a bit more depth to the encasing, and it also increased the spread a bit.
Then I used a pointed brass tool to press in the centers of the flowers. Brass drags glass and I wanted to see if it would take the petals in and down with it. It did a bit. I added a goldstone Adventurine dot to the plunge hole, tamped it in a bit, then covered it with a teeny dot of clear and melted it all in.
This bead has only 3 flowers, so it has gone toward the donut triangle shape a bit, but you can see the layers and the press into the center fairly well.
May your skills always keep up with your ideas!