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  #1  
Old 2011-12-07, 4:11pm
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Default How Sharon Makes Glass Headpins

I've had a couple 'how did you make those' requests about my lampworked headpins, so here ya go! I'd love to see pictures of what you make!

I've been making Lampworked Glass Headpins since 1996, and before that did them with clay, bread dough, celluclay, resin, and Italian and Czech beads. I got the idea when I was about 12 - someone gave me a clay doll from Mexico that had dangly glass headpins hanging from the skirt, and away I went!

These are really simple - the biggest pain is cleaning out the bead holes.

Materials:

1/16" mandrels - small holes are better for this
Bead release - I like Fusion and Dip n' Go Blue Sludge
Glass of your choice
Stringers, milles, decorative elements of your choice
20g soft round sterling wire - mine comes from Thunderbird Supply
2-Part Epoxy, the kind that sets in 5 minutes
Aluminum foil
Toothpicks

Whatcha Do:

1) Make a bead on the tip of the mandrel. Make sure the glass at the top of your bead isn't too thin (don't make it with the mandrel going almost all the way thru - halfway is good enough).

2) Anneal, cool, and clean the bead. I use a dremel tool. You don't want to chip the bead edges, and you *MUST* get the bead release out of the hole - the epoxy sticks much better in a clean hole.

3) Cut a length of 20g silver wire and bend the tip back on itself. The wire is smaller than the hole, and the larger tip will hold tighter and the glue with stick to it better.

4) Using pliers, fit the wire in the hole to make sure it'll go in. If you've made a loop that's too big, mash it thinner with pliers or cut it off and try again. Remove the wire.

5) Using a toothpick mix up a little epoxy on a piece of aluminum foil. Don't do much, it hardens pretty quickly - you'll only get 3 or 4 headpins done before you have to mix up another batch.

6) Using a new toothpick, stuff some epoxy into the hole. Also dip the looped end of the wire in the glue, and push it into the hole. Sometimes I use pliers to do this, sometimes fingers.

7) The glue will goosh out of the bead hole - clean it up with another toothpick. Center the wire in the hole, and set it aside to harden. Don't use the headpun for 24 hours - it needs to be fully cured.

I sell these for $8 each, and when I make them up into pendants with a silver endcap, bead and crystal, they're $15. Customers at shows like the finished pieces better than the headpins, darn them...

Now go and be productive, and don't forget to post pictures! *sharon*
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Sharon Peters
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Last edited by SharonP; 2011-12-07 at 5:03pm. Reason: spellellling
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  #2  
Old 2011-12-07, 4:20pm
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Very cool.
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  #3  
Old 2011-12-07, 4:21pm
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Thank you so much for sharing this. I saw your gorgeous headpins this afternoon and loved them! I'll be trying this soon, and will post pics if you promise not to laugh...
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  #4  
Old 2011-12-07, 4:41pm
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Yay! How fun!! Thank you Sharon!
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  #5  
Old 2011-12-07, 4:42pm
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Fabulous!! This in on my to do list for tomorrow. You rock Miss Sharon
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  #6  
Old 2011-12-07, 4:43pm
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Sharon you are a rock star
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  #7  
Old 2011-12-07, 4:44pm
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Doh... I thought people were making them directly on the wire.
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  #8  
Old 2011-12-07, 4:50pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *Naos* View Post
Doh... I thought people were making them directly on the wire.
Me too! I couldn't figure out the wire didn't melt lol!

Thanks so much for sharing these Sharon! I have a bunch of 1/16 mandrels that are feeling neglected since I switched to 3/32 mandrels.
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  #9  
Old 2011-12-07, 4:54pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrissij View Post
Very cool.
Ditto!
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  #10  
Old 2011-12-07, 4:58pm
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Love them! Thanks for sharing!
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  #11  
Old 2011-12-07, 5:12pm
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Love it, would love to see pics of how people use them.
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  #12  
Old 2011-12-07, 5:12pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *Naos* View Post
Doh... I thought people were making them directly on the wire.
Me too.
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  #13  
Old 2011-12-07, 5:29pm
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I've actually made some on short mandrels and left them on (no bead release) for plant stakes, but I think headpins rock also!
Thanks so much for posting this Sharon!!!
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  #14  
Old 2011-12-07, 5:32pm
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Thanks Sharon! Yours are soooo cool!

I have been making them on the end of a wire. lol Brass and copper, not sterling.
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  #15  
Old 2011-12-07, 5:33pm
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Rebecca, I thought copper might make it through the process but yeah, I figured silver would just blob.
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  #16  
Old 2011-12-07, 5:35pm
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I do make them directly on the wire. I use the longest quilt pin I can find. Burn off the plastic dot on the end. I use a pin vise to hold the wire and add the glass. I work under the flame in the ambient heat
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  #17  
Old 2011-12-07, 5:57pm
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Sharon, thank you so much for posting this!
Angie, you have some really cute ones too, do you cut the sharp points off, or use them as pin?
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  #18  
Old 2011-12-07, 5:57pm
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I've made them directly on the wire, but now I want to do it Sharon's way because I never could figure out how she got them so perfect and ornate! Now I get it.
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Old 2011-12-07, 5:58pm
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I love the idea of homemade lampwork quilt pins. I have a friend who quilts, I think I should make some for her.
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Old 2011-12-07, 6:07pm
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Brilliant! Saved it to my computer so I'll have it next time I'm out at the torch. Thanks so much!
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  #21  
Old 2011-12-07, 6:09pm
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Thank you Sharon! Ive made them directly on wire too...copper or stainless steel. But I like the look of Sharon's better.
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Old 2011-12-07, 6:26pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *Naos* View Post
Rebecca, I thought copper might make it through the process but yeah, I figured silver would just blob.
Brass is interesting. It doesn't blob, it spits and sparks if it gets too hot in direct flame. Makes me jump every time. lol
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Old 2011-12-07, 7:04pm
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It's really easy to make simple ones directly on silver if you use Japanese glass, because it's so soft. I sold all mine off though.
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Old 2011-12-07, 7:28pm
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How cool! I love these Sharon. Thanks for sharing your tips!! I can't wait to make some.
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Old 2011-12-07, 7:35pm
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Thanks for sharing. That's very kind of you - But that's SO you - bubbling with kindness!
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Old 2011-12-07, 8:22pm
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Angie, I love your pins!

I make mine on silver wire because I wanted them to be instant earrings and charm dangles on silver bracelets and decorative beards for the Chinese Dragon beads. I started out doing copper, but when galleries got involved they asked for silver.

I'd never tried making the beads directly on the wire, just never thought of it! I think my mind always comes up first with the least convenient way to do something.

The headpins do make cool 1-piece earrings... just bend the silver into earwire shape, burr or file the end to make it smooth, and bingo! Instant earring!

*sha(what'sthatbubblingsoundIhear?)ron*
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Old 2011-12-07, 10:20pm
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Thanks Sharon!!!! I was just wondering about the best way to attempt these over the weekend.
You, Ma'am, just ROCK!
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Old 2011-12-07, 10:37pm
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These are awesome, thank you!
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Old 2011-12-07, 10:49pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuzyQ View Post
Fabulous!! This in on my to do list for tomorrow. You rock Miss Sharon
Yay! Me too! =)
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Old 2011-12-07, 10:56pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SharonP View Post
Angie, I love your pins!

I make mine on silver wire because I wanted them to be instant earrings and charm dangles on silver bracelets and decorative beards for the Chinese Dragon beads. I started out doing copper, but when galleries got involved they asked for silver.

I'd never tried making the beads directly on the wire, just never thought of it! I think my mind always comes up first with the least convenient way to do something.

The headpins do make cool 1-piece earrings... just bend the silver into earwire shape, burr or file the end to make it smooth, and bingo! Instant earring!

*sha(what'sthatbubblingsoundIhear?)ron*

IME it's way harder to get good complex shapes or designs when you make them directly on the wire, because the wire wants to melt, is floppy, or isn't quite straight. I love just simple drops on the end of a wire too, but your way allows for much greater complexity and symmetry.
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