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

View Poll Results: What method do you use when creating hollow beads?
I use a puffy mandrel and blow the hollow 25 20.16%
I use the standard 2 disks built together gradually 100 80.65%
I buy them already made 1 0.81%
I have a better method, and I'll post it in this thread! 6 4.84%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 124. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 2012-11-03, 5:06pm
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Default When making hollow beads.....

Which method do you prefer?

Do you use a puffy mandrel?

Or just the 2 disks side by side and build them until they meet?

I bought some puffy mandrels. I seem to be afraid of them. lol

I have ideas for the finished beads, but getting there seems to be an issue for me.
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Last edited by Iwantonetoo; 2012-11-03 at 5:09pm.
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  #2  
Old 2012-11-03, 5:31pm
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I did have the puffy mandrels but I find I do better without. So, I traded them. They worked good but for some reason I ended up making hollows smaller on them.
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  #3  
Old 2012-11-03, 6:01pm
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I tried the two disc method and I couldn't make a nice large hollow area. They were skimpy and the walls seemed to be very thick. I use mandrels that I made myself from various sizes of stainless steel tubing. I do practice making them with the two discs and I'm geting better, but I still prefer the puffy mandrel concept.

I buy my stainless steel tubing at various places but mainly at Swage Lok. I try to get the thinnnest wall possible and cut my own length and use a cut off wheel to cut a small hole in the mandrel for blowing.




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  #4  
Old 2012-11-03, 6:07pm
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I always use 2 disks side by side..My hollows are generally around 14mm, has anyone used a puffy mandrel for small hollows? I would imagine it increases the likelihood of cracking and flinging the tiny disks, adding one more step to a delicate process...
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  #5  
Old 2012-11-03, 6:28pm
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Well I voted 2 disks, even though I've only made one that I consider successful. (and it was really hard to send it off to You Pick 9, but I did it)
I'm hoping that I will be able to make more now that I did one that was actually hollow and didn't just have a bubble inside, LOL.

I need to go do a search for using the puffy mandrels I guess, because I just assumed you built the discs but blew them out a little thinner than just heating the glass until it expanded as far as it would go.

And I see I was more or less right! .
I'd love to hear some actual user feedback on the difference in the beads.

Last edited by Eileen; 2012-11-03 at 8:33pm.
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  #6  
Old 2012-11-03, 6:31pm
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The "gradually move them together" method always resulted in thick hollows with a bubble on one side.

Paula Canant's method of building 2 straight disks and then connecting them (making a barrel shape) has given me great success.
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  #7  
Old 2012-11-04, 2:48am
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Read the instructions before using the puffy mandrel. I managed to burn through my first (thinnest walled puffy mandrel) because I didn't read the heating instructions until after I'd killed it.

Doesn't always pay to read the instructions last. sigh.

Maybe I'm missing something but don't you always have to use some form of tow side by side discs to start building a hollow bead?
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  #8  
Old 2012-11-04, 3:20am
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Wendy, the op means do you use the puffy mandrel and blow your hollows or do you just use the disk method with NO blowing into the hollow bead. Either way, two disks, side by side need to be built.

I use the puffy mandrels to make jumbo blown beads. For whatever reason, when I use the puffy mandrels, I just can't make a smallish bead. lol ! And yep, the walls of the jumbo blown beads are thin. Thin enough that the beads float and that's what you want.

Sheri, don't be afraid to use those puffy mandrels. They're alot of fun to use even when just learning to use them.
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Last edited by dla; 2012-11-04 at 3:23am.
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  #9  
Old 2012-11-04, 10:12am
Robin Passovoy Robin Passovoy is offline
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I don't use puffy mandrels, and my hollows are usually nice and thin-walled. I can get a reasonably large bead too, if I want to--nothing baseball-sized, of course, but pretty good all the same. Most of the time I prefer smaller beads for making bracelets anyway. Check out the tutorial I wrote for Soda Lime Times, the April 2012 issue!
Hollow beads require a lot of patience and practice before you get really good at them, much like marbles. The stiffer COEs like Bullseye and Spectrum are easier to manage than 104, and it's practically ideal for recycling bottle glass.
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  #10  
Old 2012-11-04, 5:17pm
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It's just a matter of practice rather than mandrels. Just keep plugging away and don't be afraid to fail.
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  #11  
Old 2012-11-04, 6:33pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dla View Post
Wendy, the op means do you use the puffy mandrel and blow your hollows or do you just use the disk method with NO blowing into the hollow bead. Either way, two disks, side by side need to be built.

I use the puffy mandrels to make jumbo blown beads. For whatever reason, when I use the puffy mandrels, I just can't make a smallish bead. lol ! And yep, the walls of the jumbo blown beads are thin. Thin enough that the beads float and that's what you want.

Sheri, don't be afraid to use those puffy mandrels. They're alot of fun to use even when just learning to use them.
That's what I thought. I find I'm really hit and miss with hollows. I've made some really nice ones in the past, but lately I cannot get them even at all. It's possible I'm trying to make them too big.
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  #12  
Old 2012-11-04, 10:14pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robinj View Post
The "gradually move them together" method always resulted in thick hollows with a bubble on one side.

Paula Canant's method of building 2 straight disks and then connecting them (making a barrel shape) has given me great success.
What is Paula Canant's method? Is it the one most of us use? Put on 2 disks, keep building them across the top until them meet?
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  #13  
Old 2012-11-04, 10:51pm
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I use both methods. Two discs and join for small hollows and puffy mandrels for large hollows. As said by others, with either method it's all about practising until you are comfortable.
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  #14  
Old 2012-11-04, 11:31pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spixton View Post
What is Paula Canant's method? Is it the one most of us use? Put on 2 disks, keep building them across the top until them meet?
I have seen a technique where the edges of the two discs are gradually pushed in towards each other to meet as well.
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  #15  
Old 2012-11-05, 4:42am
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No, the disks stay perfectly straight and stationary and then you build across. You dont curve the disks or pinch them together at all. It looks like a barrel.

I know it's not Paula's method, but she's the one who showed me.
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  #16  
Old 2012-11-05, 6:18am
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two-disk method here. I can get up to 1 1/2 inches. Anything larger and I'm really pushing it. I can't do the puffy mandrels...I've gotten some of my best solid beads by using the puffies


Duane
PS IF someone wants to gift me any size of the Carlo Dona puffy mandrels I absolutely positively promise to make hollows that way....just sayin'
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  #17  
Old 2012-11-05, 7:07am
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Question - I love the "bubble" look of big, thin walled hollows - but how fragile are they? I worry about that constantly with beads, and hollows scare the bejeepers out of me!
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  #18  
Old 2012-11-05, 10:17am
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I've done both. The problem with the puffy mandrel is that my beads are lopsided. Just hollow on one side and solid on the other side. Need to PPP.
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  #19  
Old 2012-11-05, 2:33pm
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I have found that it's really important to get a good base first regardless if you're making them on puffy mandrels or regular. I make two spacer beads first and get them perfectly round and puckered ends. I build up to the height that I want on either side. For me, doing straight discs and building a bridge gave me way too big of a bead. So, this works for me. I gently heat the left disc and with a very light touch, marver it towards the center and then do the same thing with the right disc. The "walls" do not touch at this point. From there, I finish off the center with a wrap or two of glass. After I've made sure that there are no holes, I apply the heat to the sides of the disc. I only put the heat on the middle/center when I've melted in the sides to avoid getting to much heat concentrated on one spot.

Whether using the puffy mandrel or regular mandrel, I will shape the bead in a graphite mold if my aim is a perfectly round bead.
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  #20  
Old 2012-11-05, 9:09pm
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i have found really good bead release is important with the disc method,,but yes disc is the way i go,,,and for some reason everything i do turns out huge,,
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  #21  
Old 2012-11-06, 3:58am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eregel View Post
Question - I love the "bubble" look of big, thin walled hollows - but how fragile are they? I worry about that constantly with beads, and hollows scare the bejeepers out of me!
They're not as fragile as one might think but then again, I've never dropped one. You can find out easily how thin they can get when you're blowing them. I've blown out a good many ! lol ! It really just all depends on how much glass you use when you build it. It just takes ppp to get that feel for it all.
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  #22  
Old 2012-11-07, 11:50am
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I like my puffy mandrels, but then I prefer to make BIG hollow beads. I use 2 or 3 layers of glass, then blow the beads to be 1.5-2 inches diameter.

For smaller hollows I just use two disks, only i make two tallish disks then gently press the disks together. In reality my disks are never very straight, one if more of a cone. This makes quite thick-walled hollows.
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Old 2012-11-08, 4:01pm
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I've read that hollow beads are actually stronger than solid beads because of surface tension/strength!
I'm still struggling with making hollows, my best one was made on my hothead of many years ago!
I have a second question to the poll:
Do you all use a stringer
or
full~sized rod of glass?
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  #24  
Old 2012-11-08, 8:58pm
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I've always worried about cleaning them. How do you clean out the release and not leave residue behind. Rinse and Rinse still look dirty
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Old 2012-11-08, 10:10pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Findlay Clan View Post
I've always worried about cleaning them. How do you clean out the release and not leave residue behind. Rinse and Rinse still look dirty
I rinse them out and then blow them like you'd blow out an egg for Easter. I keep doing this until they are clean.
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Old 2012-11-09, 3:04am
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Cadia - I use a full rod of glass when making hollows with or without blowing them.

Amy - I clean out the bead release by soaking then using the dremel to remove it from the holes then letting the beads fill up with water and shaking the heck out of them til the release is all gone. I use BOM so I do get "chunks" of release in the bead but the shaking works every time.
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Old 2012-11-13, 4:10am
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My husband used to make big ones with the two disc and joining them together. His biggest was 3 inches across.
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  #28  
Old 2012-11-13, 7:27am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadia View Post
I've read that hollow beads are actually stronger than solid beads because of surface tension/strength!
I'm still struggling with making hollows, my best one was made on my hothead of many years ago!
I have a second question to the poll:
Do you all use a stringer
or
full~sized rod of glass?
Full size rod for sure. And I make hollows exactly the way that Tammy describes above, starting with the small spacer beads. My hollows are large, and they do end up with thickish walls. I'm okay with that though.
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  #29  
Old 2012-11-13, 8:43am
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Puffy mandrels are great. Especially if you want to do surface decorations because you can reblow them out if they shrink down when decorating. But.... you do need to be able to make a decent hollow before they will be great for you.
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  #30  
Old 2012-11-13, 7:52pm
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Laurie nessel has a great tutorial for making hollow beads see http://www.laurienessel.com/News.htm
She has managed to teach me to make some nice hollow beads.
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