A jewelry-making technique today: how to etch lampwork beads.
Glass beads are amongst the world’s most ancient forms of art, and the great Italian designers of Pandora, Chamilia, Troll and Biagi has really made them popular.
Etching Your Beads
But I am not really talking about those with the metal center. I am talking about the all-glass versions.
If you like that ‘aged’ matte look of handmade lampwork beads, then here is an easy DIY how-to tutorial for you, with some safety instructions.
Many lampwork bead suppliers give you the option of having their lampwork beads etched for you, but even non-pro lampwork bead jewelry artisans like you and me can do it ourselves, as it is actually quite easy, but you must handle with care.
If you want to etch your own beads, here are some tips:
- Step 1 is to get yourself a small jar of glass etching solution.
Note: I am giving you this link here and Armour Etch might work, but your lampwork bead maker probably works with a commonly used product called Etch-all. This is typically sold by glass suppliers. It gives a consistent, even, frosty glow. Etch-bath does pretty much the same thing but appears to be not as strong nor as long lasting.
- Step 2: take your safety preparations:
A. Read and follow the safety instructions on the bottle you purchased B. use disposable rubber gloves; C. ensure proper ventilation by e.g. opening the windows if you’re in a confined space. D. Have baking soda nearby, as the acid etching solution is easily neutralized by the soda, if case you spill it on a surface, your cloths or skin.
Step 3: Place your brandnew lampwork beads in a plastic bowl, and pour the etching solution over your lampwork beads to fully covered them. Alternative: strap the beads on length of thin copper wire and just soak them inside your jar.
Step 4: Wait for the acid to do its etching magic. Duration: usually it takes just 5-10 min to etch your beads, but read the instruction on the solution that you purchased to ensure the exact time.
Step 5: Remove the lampwork beads out of the etching solution with a plastic spoon, and bath the beads in a bowl with a teaspoon of baking soda to neutralize the acid. Never touch the beads with your bear hands prior to neutralization!!
Step 6: If your lampwork beads have some white dust on them, removable with a toothbrush that you will discard after you use it for this purpose (or specially keep only for this purpose!). I heard of other lampwork bead makers rinsing them in soapy water after their baking soda bath.
Step 7: Save your etching solution to reuse it over and over again, for years. Keep it safely out of reach of children. While talking about safety, never let the etch solution touch glass or metal. Nor should you let it come in contact with cloth or skin, wash immediately with baking soda.
info source: various
Jewelry Making Supplies
First of all, I want to highlight this book, which illustrates you how to make glass beads in part 1; and how to make lampwork bead jewelry (necklaces, bracelets and other pieces) and how to mix them with other beads to really show their beauty, in part 2. Great beginnings book that will also inspire experienced beadmakers.
Next, I am showing you a list of sample lampwork beads to choose from for your projects, to start making jewelry with these beautiful beads.
Handmade Lampwork Beads
This handmade Lampwork 8mm sputnik bead in honey-mustard color is my favorite bead, but there are not that many left. So, if you are interested in these, check them out right away.
Red Hawaii Flower Handmade Murano Glass European Charm Beads. The closest I could find to ‘the color of the year’. Pairs great with orange, black or brown. While on one hand a ‘summery’ bead, it definitely can transform to other seasons.
Green Elegant Handmade Murano Glass European Charm Beads
Handmade Lampwork 13 X 12mm gold foil green. This links to a whole strand of 20 beautiful beads.
Red Circle Handmade Murano Glass Beads – Pandora Bead & Bracelet Compatible
Blue Flower Handmade Murano Glass Beads – Pandora Bead & Bracelet Compatible
Valentine Pink Hawaii Flower Handmade Murano Glass European Charm Beads
Valentine Love Blue Heart Handmade Murano Glass European Charm Beads
Flower Handmade Murano Glass Beads – Pandora Bead & Bracelet Compatible
Glass Lampwork Bead Bracelets
And if you don’t have a bead master bracelet yet, here is a good quality without the cost of famous labels. Just click the image for more info.
Other Tutorials on Lampwork Beads & Glass Bead Jewelry
How to Make Lampwork Beads ~ video tutorial