Thursday, June 10, 2010

Cheating on the Diet

OK, I am not technically cheating, since the glass I am using is allowed on my diet, as is the glass in the beads pictured below. However, rather than making beads this time I was making findings. I was assembling the pair of earrings on the left (listed yesterday on Etsy, by the way) and ran into the problem that the beads slipped off the headpins. Ack! I only had one left of the larger size I had previously so I had to improvise. I was making the loops at the top anyway so a quick loop at the bottom and the beads were going nowhere. It works on these earrings but I wanted a more permanent solution since this would not do every time I wanted to throw together a pair of earrings.
The Beadful Life at beadFX blog at this link had posted a video showing how to make glass headpins and I decided to give it a whirl. These are super easy to do and took less than 10 minutes to do 8. I used basic black glass, CiM tuxedo in this case, and caught on pretty fast. I did learn a couple things even so. Make sure you have adequate ventilation because heating silver leaves a nasty taste in your mouth and is surely toxic. I made the first and then turned off the torch and turned on the fans. That done I was able to finish up. If you don't heat the silver or whatever metal you are using the glass will not stick and if you heat it too much the silver will melt and stick to the surface of the glass. You can just see this on the headpin with the green bead on it. It's grey. I'm going to try getting it off with a dremel tool because I can't etch it off like I would bead release on an ordinary bead. If metal gets in etching solution it will corrode and eventually dissolve, as well as releasing hydrogen gas. I'll get the surface oxidation off the wires with silver polish or a polishing cloth. I have a good polishing compound around here somewhere....
I have a couple more packages of these and plan on doing this for any earrings I make with them, but unless I need black I'll do them as I need them. I may do some copper wire I have hanging around, or brass, but I'm in no rush because I have lots of these.
Update: I assembled my first pair of earrings using the new headpins and an earring pair I didn't sell. I also learned a new lesson, which is that the glass can snap off in your hand if you're being stupid enough to hold it while you are wrapping the eye at the top. I find this a bit tricky and was thinking about executing a good loop without chewing into the metal. The next thing I was thinking about was if I cut myself or not and how bad it was. Luckily, my hands are tough and a bit scarred and the calluses took all the damage.

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