scrap bead lampwork tutorial

How to Make a Scrap Lampwork Bead

Learn how to create stunning lampwork focal beads using scrap glass in this step-by-step tutorial. Discover techniques to transform leftover stringers and glass pieces into unique works of art. Enhance your lampworking skills and unleash your creativity with this comprehensive scrap glass bead-making tutorial.

Over the years, you always end up with pieces of glass. It could be leftover stringers or from pieces that pop off a shocky rod. Over the years, I used to end up with some short leftover pieces. Now, I will usually fuse the short rod to the new rod of glass, unless the rod is too shocky. Then I end up with little pieces like the ones below that can turn into unique works of art. You can choose a solid color for the ends of the bead, and sometimes I use gold aventurine stringers or simple white twists to add extra elements to this bead.


♦ Mandrels

♦ Bead release

♦ CG Olive roller (optional)

♦ Graphite marver

♦ Scrap glass pieces

♦ Transparent color of choice

♦ Gold aventurine stringer (optional)

♦ Dichroic glass (optional)

♦ Kiln

Step 1

To get started with this project, you just need some scrap glass pieces or leftover stringers. The only rule of thumb is to make sure the pieces look good together. It is also a good idea to avoid using too many reactive pieces.

Over time, I have been collecting these pieces in little jars, separating non-reactive colors in one jar and reactive colors in another. You can grab a reactive color or two to mix in your project. There are two little short pieces of silvered ivory stringer and an intense black stringer that I used in this bead.

scrap bead lampwork tutorial

Step 2

For this bead, I started with a clear transparent tube as the base. You can choose another color for the base depending on the scraps you have. In most of my scrap beads, the core isn't even visible. Using an opaque color is also an option. However, if you're using Double Helix silver, it's advisable to avoid using white unless you're okay with the white fuming turning yellow. Sometimes, working with reactions can help you achieve a specific desired look.
scrap bead lampwork tutorial

Step 3

Continue adding your scraps to any spot that only has clear glass. In this bead, I wound the short stringer from one end to the other. Add the pieces as you see fit. You can focus on adding colors to one side or one end if you want the finished bead to have a specific look. There is usually little planning involved during this phase. The piece of Double Helix Rhea was slightly larger, so I applied it to several spots in this bead.
scrap bead lampwork tutorial

Step 4

Next, I added small silvered ivory stringers on each side. These reactive pieces can easily dominate the bead, so it's important to use them sparingly.
scrap bead lampwork tutorial

Step 5

As the bead starts to fill out with color, I usually add some random twists using a clear stringer around the bead. During this step, I often twist between two colors to enhance their blending. Occasionally, if a color becomes muddy, pits, or shows signs of divitrification (such as turquoise or EDP), I may add a layer of clear over the color. If you have a piece of reducing glass, this is also the time to reduce it and cover it with clear. In this particular piece, I added a goldstone twist over the white and then covered it with clear.
scrap bead lampwork tutorial

Step 6

At this point, I usually begin evening out the bead by adding clear glass and filling in any holes. If one side of the bead appears lower than the other, I add a little extra glass to even it out. This is also a good time to add additional twists in specific spots. Sometimes, I pull the twist up to the surface to give the finished bead more dimension.
scrap bead lampwork tutorial

Step 7

Now, you can see the bead is beginning to resemble the final piece. Instead of using just clear on the ends, I opted for a transparent Double Helix Rhea. Typically, I continue adding clear in the middle of the bead. This not only ensures that the colors remain visible but also magnifies the design.
scrap bead lampwork tutorial

Step 8

Just continue adding clear to fill in any low points. This is the point where I use an olive bead roller to identify any visible gaps and to help smooth the bead into its final shape.
scrap bead lampwork tutorial

Step 9

There you have it! The bead is now finished and ready to be placed into the kiln for annealing.
scrap bead lampwork tutorial
scrap bead lampwork tutorial
scrap bead lampwork tutorial
scrap bead lampwork tutorial

Scrap Lampwork Beads

Here are some other examples of scrap lampwork beads.