I’ve spent some time this summer learning how to make metal beads. The above bead is a copper lentil about 2.5 inches across. I etched the metal I used on the front before I made the bead and I patinated it afterwards. Theresa Mowery of The Patina Studio who commented on an earlier post, suggested that I try Miracle Gro as a patina agent. What a GREAT TIP! I ended up using African Violet food because I didn’t have to mix any powder, but the principle is the same. This stuff works fast! I got the patina you see above after a couple of days. I sealed the pendant with Sophisticated Finishes sealer and then gave it a buff with Renaissance Wax. Here are some more pictures:
The glass beads in the last picture are hollow lampwork. The beads are lengths of copper pipe that I cut from found scrap. I pounded them (after annealing) so they looked wrinkled,filed and sanded the ends smooth and soldered copper disks (with holes in center) to the ends of the pipes. More filing and sanding followed. I have a way to go with these. I found the lentil beads went together with less effort; maybe because it’s easier to sand the edges to get flat surfaces for soldering, so they clean up much more easily. And the metal is thinner than the pipe metal so it’s easier to work with. An addendum: forging can damage your joints including your elbows and wrists. A safer way to make the wrinkled beads is through use of a hydraulic press.
Here’s the part of the post where a recommend a book! Making Metal Beads by Pauling Warg is a fabulous book on how to make all kinds of metal beads, not just soldered ones. Be warned that there is no Precious Metal Clay in this book, but Warg does have directions for using cold connections to fabricate unique beads that will catch everyone’s eye as well as tutorials on how to alter ready made beads into something that looks unique and totally hand made.
Here’s a video featuring Pauline Warg: