Thursday, February 7, 2013

Hmmmm, what to do with the uglies...

So I have these beads that I made, you know the kind, not awful enough to grid into frit but not nice enough to use as is.  Some were experiments, as much of my work is since I'm still pretty new to the whole lampwork gig.  And I had been wanting to make some etched beads, because I think it's a cool look, more subdued. I thought about Armor Etch (I think that's the name) but really didn't want to take that kind of time and work to etch.  I'm basically a lazy , work smarter not harder kinda gal.

I have a tumbler for my metal and have the grit packs for stones which I hadn't used yet.  So, I tried tumbling, like you do with "faux" sea glass, but nothing happened, still shiny and just as ugly.  Then I ran across a post at For the Love of Beads about tumbling.  That led me to research some more and try again.  Turns out that one of two things were the problem for me.The last time I tried I only let them go about 4 hours with absolutely zero results, not a scratch or nick on a single bead. I checked this batch several times along the way and nothing was happening, but I thought let's just leave em go awhile. I had read on a sea glass tutorial that it can take up to 5 days.   I wish I could tell you exactly which one but since I tried both solutions at once I can't be sure if it was one, the other or both.  I added finer grit in with my coarser grit that I had tried previously and I had to tumble for about 36 hrs before the magic happened. 

Here are the results.  Sorry I forgot to take before photos.

Okay, so that one bead there in the lower right photo is still wonky, no amount of tumbling is going to fix that, lol.  That one did teach me a valuable lesson though, make sure your large beads are cool enough before they go in the annealer or they can sag on you.

The wind is starting to blow out of the East already tonight.  Normally our breezes come from the West, when it comes from the other way it's NEVER good, hurricane force storms or blizzards.  Since it's February, this will be the edge of a blizzard.  A Nor'easter, named Nemo (who names a horrible storm after a cute lil clown fish?)  is due to collide with normal our lake effect front from the north.  We will be spared what the coast is going to get.  My thoughts are with you all that are due to bear the brunt of Nemo.  Be prepared and stay home if you can.


  1. I've always loved the subtle look of etching. Your beads are beautiful, even the wonky ones! I'm ready to see more ~

  2. It's nice that you're trying lots of new ideas for your lampworking. The results are great and like you said, you even learned something from your "wonky" bead. I always look forward to seeing your new work because it keeps getting better and better!

    I can't wait 'til I can finally take a lampworking class. I guess I'm still a little bitter that the one I had signed up for got cancelled at the last minute. :(

  3. Thanks ladies! I do love torch work :)


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