Thursday, July 11, 2013

Lori's Tip For Cleaning Beads Faster

Last night I made a batch of about fifty 10mm round lampwork spacers for some simple, colorful jewelry. They had 1/16th (1.5mm) holes so that they could sit alone on loop-and-wrapped 20 gauge wire without having small spacer beads on either side.

Lampwork Bead Holes Cleaned With Tumbler

For anyone new to this blog or lampworking, in order to make lampwork beads you have to wrap the molten glass on a stainless steel mandrel coated with a clay mixture, called bead release, so the beads will come off the mandrel. Unfortunately, the bead release sticks to the inside of the holes and needs to be cleaned. Have you ever seen inexpensive lampwork beads, made in China or India, at stores like Michael's or Hobby Lobby? That gray, powdery coating on the inside of the bead is the bead release and if you don't clean it out it makes a mess!

So, to recap, I had about 50 smallish beads with small holes that I definitely didn't want to clean by hand. I had read Lori Greenberg's blog post about using a tumbler to clean beads, but I hadn't tried it yet. This was definitely the time! I followed her instructions, tumbled my beads for about 15 minutes, and checked them. The holes were totally clean. This process works like a champ! I'm so excited! My holes were smaller than the beads Lori talks about using and it does seem that, since the beads sit closer to the wire, that they get cleaned faster.

Lampwork Bead Holes Cleaned With Tumbler

Lampwork Bead Holes Cleaned With Tumbler   Lampwork Bead Holes Cleaned With Tumbler

Needless to say, I was pretty impressed and thankful for this amazing time saver! Have any of you tried this method? One tip I learned from the comments on Lori's blog came from Tanya Davidson from Whole Lotta Whimsy, who mentioned

You can clean your shot with 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of white vinegar. Tumble the shot for 1 hour or less and it will clean the barrel and shot. Rinse as many times as needed.
A helpful tip for anyone using a tumbler and stainless steel shot!

So, what are you tumbling these days? Polishing rocks? Making faux sea glass? Polishing metal? Those are the things I know about, anyway. Hopefully you'll know about some tumbler fun that's new to me! I'd love to hear what you're up to! As always, I really appreciate you stopping by!



Friday, July 5, 2013

Show the COURAGE Bead Challenge

Beads of Courage: Show the Courage Bead Challenge 2013

Last month I signed up for a challenge issued by Beads of Courage to create 30 medium to large sized beads in June for their program. For anyone unfamiliar with the program, they provide beads to hospitals treating children for serious illness. For every milestone treatment the kids get a special bead which they put on a cord to record their journey of courage as they fight against their illness. I just mailed mine off today. I wanted to show you the beads I sent.

I primarily felt inspired to send COLORFUL beads that would make either a boy or girl happy.

Beads of Courage: Show the Courage Bead Challenge 2013

I also wanted to send some beads that sent a very real message of COURAGE!

Beads of Courage: Show the Courage Bead Challenge 2013
Beads of Courage: Show the Courage Bead Challenge 2013

I also made some playful beads with fun colors and visually interesting effects.

Beads of Courage: Show the Courage Bead Challenge 2013

This one is my favorite:

Beads of Courage: Show the Courage Bead Challenge 2013

But this one was a close second:

Beads of Courage: Show the Courage Bead Challenge 2013

Do you think the kids will like them? Do you have a favorite? Are you a beadmaker? Are you familiar with the Beads of Courage program? There are donation options for beadmakers and non-beadmakers, including selling some of the more elaborate art beads to raise funds to purchase more of their standard program beads. Check them out!

As always, I really appreciate that you stopped by!