First things first.
I'm making this a free tutorial for 3 reasons.
1. I feel guilty making people pay for something so simple and I haven't grown my 3rd arm yet that allows me to take decent pictures at the torch. It is a perfect technique for beginner murrini users because if you deform them, they still look cool.
2. My murrini won't be around forever, and when they are gone, the tutorial would be pointless. And the last thing I want, is angry lampworkers.
Ya'll scare me.
3. I have only successfully used this technique on BHB's. Go ahead and try it on a smaller mandrel, you might have some luck, I did NOT.
Another little disclaimer.
I have only used my murrini for this technique. I do not know if others will work. But, please feel free to try, kay?
Go ahead, copy me. That’s why I’m posting this. These beads sell well! So make them, sell them, make some moola. I will be nothing but happy for you!
Ok here we go.
Tools & glass you will need:
1. Thick stringer of regular old Effetre black (another good base is OY, but for my little demo I use black)
2. Murrini, I use 5 in this demo bead. They are 2-3mm. If you have bigger murrini, use fewer. It’s best to keep them about the same size within a bead.
3. Something to preheat them and apply them. I use a candle warmer and a old pair of jewelry pliers.
4. Clear, I use Effetre Super Clear
5. Something to push your murrini down. I use the flat back of my marble mould. But a simple kitchen knife would work. Whatev. It just needs to flatten your murrini.
Ok lets start. (progressive picture at the end, cause I’m lazy)
1. Lay down a small even footprint of Effetre Black on your mandrel.
2. Apply your preheated murrini. All at the same time, around the belly of the bead. One, two, three…
****Space them evenly apart. The closer you put them together, the less defined they will be in the finished bead. If you give them a little more space, they will be better defined in the finished bead. Both will look cool, just different.***
3. Now you need to flatten your murrini. I do the heat/tap process to each individual murrini, then make another pass around, then another. Until they are all flattened.
4. Once they are all flattened, give the bead a good amount of heat to help even out any unevenness, and set up the murrini to strike. **Do this gently, you don’t want your murrini to move, YET.** They should practically disappear on your base bead. DO NOT PANIC.
5. Let your bead cool enough to encase.
6. Encase it. (please excuse my less than pretty encasing job) I use the around the world method, you use what ever you feel comfortable with.
7. Now. Here is the important part. This is a 4-in-one step. Melt in your clear, super heat your bead, and allow the murrini to pull a tiny bit (or more, whatev) around the mandrel. You also need to shape your bead in this step. Donuts work the best because they just kinda happen all by themselves. **Do NOT go back and forth in and out of the flame, it is a single step. And a very crucial step to set up the murrini to strike**
8. Cool that puppy DOWN, till the glow is gone plus 10-15 seconds.
9. Strike it. I put the cooled bead right back into the meaty part of my flame, about 4 inches from the torch face. I spin it there until I see the colors start to bloom, move it back an inch in the flame, wait for more color to come up, move it back an inch…. Progressively, until I’m at the end of my flame and it is barely glowing orange. By now your murrini should have struck, if not… well, you can try to super heat again, and start all over.
10. Put it in the kiln! I use the Glasshive standard soft glass annealing cycle. Garage at 915, anneal at 950. Ramp down to 700 over 3 hours, and then it turns off.
Now the progressive picture. Please forgive my crappy examples. But they will give you the general idea of what to do. The second to last bead is after the super heat, and before the strike. My kiln struck it a bit, but it should give you a general idea of what to look for.
Some finished examples, you can see some that are pretty well defined, and were placed a tiny bit further apart, and some that kinda melt right into the next one.
If you have any questions, I will be happy to answer them! Thanks for looking!