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Old 2011-12-07, 4:11pm
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SharonP SharonP is offline
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Join Date: Jul 12, 2005
Location: Alameda, CA
Posts: 2,742
Default How Sharon Makes Glass Headpins

I've had a couple 'how did you make those' requests about my lampworked headpins, so here ya go! I'd love to see pictures of what you make!

I've been making Lampworked Glass Headpins since 1996, and before that did them with clay, bread dough, celluclay, resin, and Italian and Czech beads. I got the idea when I was about 12 - someone gave me a clay doll from Mexico that had dangly glass headpins hanging from the skirt, and away I went!

These are really simple - the biggest pain is cleaning out the bead holes.

Materials:

1/16" mandrels - small holes are better for this
Bead release - I like Fusion and Dip n' Go Blue Sludge
Glass of your choice
Stringers, milles, decorative elements of your choice
20g soft round sterling wire - mine comes from Thunderbird Supply
2-Part Epoxy, the kind that sets in 5 minutes
Aluminum foil
Toothpicks

Whatcha Do:

1) Make a bead on the tip of the mandrel. Make sure the glass at the top of your bead isn't too thin (don't make it with the mandrel going almost all the way thru - halfway is good enough).

2) Anneal, cool, and clean the bead. I use a dremel tool. You don't want to chip the bead edges, and you *MUST* get the bead release out of the hole - the epoxy sticks much better in a clean hole.

3) Cut a length of 20g silver wire and bend the tip back on itself. The wire is smaller than the hole, and the larger tip will hold tighter and the glue with stick to it better.

4) Using pliers, fit the wire in the hole to make sure it'll go in. If you've made a loop that's too big, mash it thinner with pliers or cut it off and try again. Remove the wire.

5) Using a toothpick mix up a little epoxy on a piece of aluminum foil. Don't do much, it hardens pretty quickly - you'll only get 3 or 4 headpins done before you have to mix up another batch.

6) Using a new toothpick, stuff some epoxy into the hole. Also dip the looped end of the wire in the glue, and push it into the hole. Sometimes I use pliers to do this, sometimes fingers.

7) The glue will goosh out of the bead hole - clean it up with another toothpick. Center the wire in the hole, and set it aside to harden. Don't use the headpun for 24 hours - it needs to be fully cured.

I sell these for $8 each, and when I make them up into pendants with a silver endcap, bead and crystal, they're $15. Customers at shows like the finished pieces better than the headpins, darn them...

Now go and be productive, and don't forget to post pictures! *sharon*
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Sharon Peters
New Bead Display Stands Available - pm me!

Specializing in Critters and Puns and other Cool Stuff...

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Last edited by SharonP; 2011-12-07 at 5:03pm. Reason: spellellling
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