I had taken this blog post down a few years ago because I was getting harassed by some random lampwork bead making slave-labor types. I was upset and thought "Screw this, I don't need this stress" so I took it down. I had contemplated on putting it back online for awhile. Last night an online comment on LE brought my husband and I to a discussion about how I should have never taken this post down. We talked about how eye beads have been around for a loooong time and there are different ways to make them, and no sole person can claim that the eye bead design is theirs. This person or people who were harassing me had temporarily won through intimidation. But no more! As mentioned below, this blog post was intended as a thank you to the lampwork and artist community. Thank you and I'm sorry. -Janel (P.S. I edited it and took out a bunch of annoying exclamation points.)
To start off I'd like to mention that this tut does not cover how to make your own millefiori/murrini canes, nor does it cover how to apply them. The reason being is there are tuts already out there that cover how to do these techniques. Some are free and some you have to pay for, none the less, look around online, you'll find them. I'd also like to say that at first I was going to sell this tut in my Etsy but after some thought I decided to share this with the world for free. This is my way of saying thank you to all of the lampworkers and artist who have shared their techniques and gifted me their tuts for free. With out their kindness and generosity I wouldn't have been able to make my eyeball beads.
Ok with all that said, let's begin.
This tut is geared for the experienced lampworker, please be safe whenever working with hot and/or sharp things. I know this is a given but I just had to get it out.
Things you need:
(The dental tool is used more for a smaller flattening surface by using the handle, it seems to give me a bit more control since I can see what's going on with the millefiori's. The marver is listed since most lampworkers would have this tool.)
Here's an example of my trusty dental pick in action.
Colors Needed - 104 coe
Oxblood (TAG, Trautman Art Glass)
Intense Black 1mm stringer (Effetre)
clear (a very clear,clear)
made with silver glass
(Really, you can use whatever size you want, just depends on how big or small you are making your beads!)
I recommend using Fossil since it is a somewhat stiffer light color and doesn't run as bad as other Ivory toned colors. The one I've been using is the Medium Fossil but the light and dark are just fine too! Also, Lace Agate is another color that is very similar to Fossil. The Oxblood is a wonderful color since it doesn't spread and web like most black colors do, this color also tends to make silver glass sing!
Before you start you bead make sure you have your mille's pre-heating on the hot plate.
1. Make a base bead of Fossil
2. Roll on marver to even and flatten
3. Add 3 dots of Oxblood, slowly melt in
(Here's where I start using the dental pick handle as a mini marver)
4. Flatten with dental tool handle
5. Slowly melt in dots almost all the way into base bead, may need to repeat step 4 a couple times
6.With tweezers add 1 pre-heated milli per oxblood dot
7.Melt mille till tips are rounded out
8.While mille is hot, plunge with tungsten pick, one mille at a time.
9. Melt mille until rounded out again and there is no dimple
10. Melt and flatten until mille's are almost melted into the base bead
Repeat steps 9 &10 a couple of times, this will also give you a better chance to bring all lines together in center of the mille's
11. Add 1 tiny dot of Intense Black onto the center of each mille, the tinier the better, intense black likes to spread so feel free to make your dots smaller than the ones shown in the next picture
12.Heat dot and flatten with dental tool, melt in but do not let Intense black spread too much before step 14
13. Reduce or strike, depending on what kind of silver glass you are using
14. Add big dots of clear on each mille, about the same amount of the oxblood, mille, and Intense Black together.
15. Melt clear and flatten, repeat many times
16. Melt bead until rounded or a desired shape. (You may like the results with the clear raised in bulbous fashion, it looks pretty cool.)
17. Flame anneal and pop into kiln!
Feel free to do whatever you would like with your eye beads. Sell them, gift them, or make jewelry with them, but please, please don't mass produce them by using slave labor!!!!
I hope your eye beads bring you smiles, laughter, joy and protection!
To see some more results, check out some eyeballs made by my friend and fellow Fire Diva, Holly!!! Click Here!