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Tips, Techniques, and Questions -- Technical questions or tips

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  #1  
Old 2014-05-03, 1:57pm
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pierces*designs pierces*designs is offline
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Default Bellflower press...tell me why you love/hate it, and what size is your favorite?

I want one, but the cost is holding me back. Not that I don't feel it is worth it, I just want to be sure it is what I want.

Why do you love it?

What wire do you use?

What do you do with the flowers?

What size is your favorite?
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  #2  
Old 2014-05-03, 2:03pm
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What's holding me back is knowing that I don't want one - I'm going to want at least 3. And that's WAY more money than I can commit to.
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  #3  
Old 2014-05-03, 2:05pm
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I haven't used one so I have nothing to go on. I did read that if you get the larger sizes, you can still make smaller flowers with it by adding less glass.
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  #4  
Old 2014-05-03, 2:05pm
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It's a fun tool to use which is why I like it. It is addicting to make flowers and test all kinds of different colors of glass to see how they'd look as a flower. I have about 5 sizes and my favorite is the 8-point one, because I think it makes the prettiest flower. Plus you can control the size of the flower by how much glass you use.

I made my tradesies in 2011 Gathering out of flowers, it was a copper ring with 3 flowers and a leaf or two. I used 20g copper wire to make the flowers and leaves on.
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  #5  
Old 2014-05-03, 2:06pm
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I have 2 of the 5 pointed ones. I love both of them. One is the 20mm. The other is I think a 12mm. Angelique
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  #6  
Old 2014-05-03, 2:46pm
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I love mine. I went outside and counted the petals on my lily-of-the-valley before I bought mine because I wanted my flowers to look like them. I have the 18mm one with 6points and I use 20G copper wire.
Beth
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  #7  
Old 2014-05-03, 3:07pm
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I won one once but I never got it. I think making cute push pins would be really cool.
But theyre so expensive. Not the push pins, the press.
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  #8  
Old 2014-05-03, 3:15pm
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I have the 14 mm, 6 point.
For what I want, it is the perfect size.
I make bellflowers as charm dangle accents for necklaces and bracelets.

I do not want the larger presses. They are big honking thangs.
And, I personally do not like the look of small bellflowers made in a big press (using less glass). The contours of those flowers are not right, or something? To me, they don't look "right." JMHO.

I use steel wire--19 gauge, Hillman brand, from Ace Hardware, about $2.99 a roll.
The Hillman wire also comes in black steel.
I have used copper wire. It's nice.
I have also used nickel silver wire. It's shiny after pickling.
No sterling wire...can't take the heat.
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  #9  
Old 2014-05-03, 3:52pm
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I love my 20mm 8-point one. Had a smaller one that I sold because I didn't like it.

My only trouble with it is that if I use silver glass unencased, the iridescence gets erased (how much is dependent on the silver glass used) when I pickle to get rid of the fire scale on the wires (sterling silver, German silver/nickle, or copper ones in 20g).
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  #10  
Old 2014-05-03, 4:23pm
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I borrowed a friend's 20mm five point Bellflower press last summer and loved it so much I bought one for myself by the end of the week. I use 1/16 inch stainless steel welding rod 308 because it's pretty stiff and doesn't conduct heat like copper wire does.

The flowers sold like hotcakes at our neighborhood arts & crafts fair last November and a friend pretty much cleaned out the rest of them, so now I'm making more for the next sale. The press had paid for itself by the end of that sale.

Making the flowers is a great way to use up your "shorts" or your what-the-hell-is-this glass, too.
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  #11  
Old 2014-05-03, 4:39pm
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I love the biggest 20mm size. I two smaller sizes but I found that I just didn't use them. My 20mm has 6 points. I want to eventually get the 8 point also.
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  #12  
Old 2014-05-03, 4:52pm
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I love mine. Can't remember the size. I want more! And I want other tools from them, it's so well made!
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  #13  
Old 2014-05-03, 4:56pm
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Hayley, I hand polish the silver wire on silver glass - steel wool in front of the TV and I have the big 8 petal one. Love it.
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  #14  
Old 2014-05-03, 5:06pm
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Forgot to mention that I tried three of the original sizes - small, medium, and large - at a studio I taught at and prefer the 20mm 8-point one best. Thus purchasing one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nohline View Post
Hayley, I hand polish the silver wire on silver glass - steel wool in front of the TV and I have the big 8 petal one. Love it.
Just steel wool, Nohline? I tried with steel wool, those white pads, Sunshine Cloth, and found the results not good enough.
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  #15  
Old 2014-05-03, 5:29pm
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I've owned them three times. I buy them because I love them and want them. Then I sell them because I'm not using them and/or I don't want to be buried in glass flowers
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  #16  
Old 2014-05-03, 6:57pm
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Oh, you want one! Beleive me.
I have the 5 point 16mm one. I would like one bigger with more petals too.
Use them with my Birdjewelry to make more elaborately strug peices.
I like the 16 and 18 ga copper wire, as when they are out of the kiln the copper wire is nice and soft enough to cut short for wrapping and bunching together.
I was fortunate enough to have scored one in the garage sale. I also figure the investment is always worth it. And... if you dont like or use it, it would sell in like 5 minutes here.
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  #17  
Old 2014-05-03, 7:12pm
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Deb,

Mary (Glaslight) left me her 20 mm bellflower press to play with. I was supposed to send it to her when she got settled but instead, she gifted me with it. I love, love, love this press.

I make the flowers on copper wire, which I have placed in a pin vise. Here are a few pics of my glass flower garden:







My garden:





Sue
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  #18  
Old 2014-05-03, 7:35pm
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I have been so tempted... I have been making flowers and leaves on wires for over 20 years. I like brass wire because it polishes up easily. Depending on what I am making I use brass or copper and anything from 18-20 ga depending on size of item
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  #19  
Old 2014-05-03, 8:11pm
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But then what do you do with them! Didn't _sell on etsy.
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  #20  
Old 2014-05-03, 9:42pm
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you want it! that's all I can say, addictive as hell. fun to use after you do a few
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  #21  
Old 2014-05-04, 3:21am
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I have to disagree about the sterling silver wire. Most of my work is made on headpins that I wire wrap into a bigger piece. I have made a complete collar of sterling silver glass headpins, using 21 gauge silver, which used about 90 headpins. Just be careful to only flash the wire in the flame to heat and then add the glass and keep the heat on the glass. I have used steel, copper and sterling in my work. And I love my bellflower presses. I think the best that I have used is the 16mm, 5 point but all of them are great
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  #22  
Old 2014-05-04, 4:03am
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I have also used fine silver wire with no problems.
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  #23  
Old 2014-05-04, 4:33am
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Take a piece of rod and heat it up to form a ball on the end. Hold the ball straight up and down and slowly and gently push it into a "Maria" (Disc) on your marver. Pinch the maria all the way around with some needle nose pliers.
Then reheat and slowly pull it in an upward angle one pinch at a time. Reheat as much as you need to perform the task. Do not overheat the glass. This will form a very nice bell flower. After pulling it off the main rod, you can nip the end off to make a hole at the base end of the flower, if you want it to be used as a bead The flowers on the base in the photos were only pinched 4 times, 6 will make a better bell flower version. (I ground the horizontal tooling off of the inside of the pliers and then cut some length wise groves in them to make a more interesting flower.)
I also cast a two part mold from aluminum for my press, but it is just as easy to pinch them out.
Various size rods equals various size flowers. I may do a video tutorial on this one.

Last edited by hyperT; 2014-05-04 at 5:04am.
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  #24  
Old 2014-05-04, 5:53am
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Hyper nice work, you make it sound so easy that I may try this, but I'm sure they won't look like that pic!
Barbara
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  #25  
Old 2014-05-04, 6:07am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hooked on glass View Post
Hyper nice work, you make it sound so easy that I may try this, but I'm sure they won't look like that pic!
Barbara
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  #26  
Old 2015-04-13, 2:10pm
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Default Bellflower press

I love mine, I have a 16mm 6 pt.

I have been making them like crazy, putting about a dozen in clay flower pots.

I am concerned about the fumes from copper and stainless steel.
It seems whenever I make a bunch of them, I fee like I am poisoning myself.
I just feel out of sorts.
I have plenty of make up air and a good ventilation system.

Should I be wearing a mask?
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  #27  
Old 2015-04-19, 11:19am
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Quote:
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Should I be wearing a mask?
Yes. Everyone at the torch should be wearing a mask no matter how great your vent system is.
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  #28  
Old 2015-05-08, 9:57pm
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I'm curious to know if any of you Bellflower folks have used any of the DeVardi bellflower presses. There is a significant price difference between those and the Carlo Donna presses. Because of the $$ difference I'm skeptical about the DeVardis.

Feedback please?
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  #29  
Old 2015-05-09, 2:41am
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I have all three of the original sizes of the Carlo Dona bellflower presses and you cannot beat the quality of the craftsmanship of these tools. Granted, sometimes you need to make the slot on the bell a little wider but that's it. I've only had to do that with one of my presses. I've actually had 5 of these presses. Two of them I sold off because I didn't think I "needed" them then later on turned right around and bought the same sizes again. lol !
I've yet to own a Devardi press and from the looks of the presses and the flowers, I don't want one.
The flowers made with the Carlo Dona presses are much prettier and look much nicer, more polished if you will, in my opinion.
The old adage applies here I think - "you get what you pay for".
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  #30  
Old 2015-05-09, 4:21am
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I have both. The Carlo Dona tool is a gorgeous thing in and of itself. Low maintenance- press and done. The Devardi tools are not nearly as good quality. Results take a little more work. It's a different aesthetic. But they are fun, certainly useable, and have more availability.
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