View Full Version : AB Finish??

02-02-2005, 01:02 PM
The wife and I were wondering how the aurora borealis finish is applied to glass beads, and/or if we can reproduce it in the glass work. We know from the ab finished beads we have that it can rub off. Has anybody or does anyone know how to get that oil-slick look in the glass beads??

02-02-2005, 01:25 PM
Hi! I am no expert, but the only beads I have seen that have an AB look to them had either:

1) Pixie Dust applied

2) Fumed beads - fumed with silver or gold.

There should be lots of threads here on fuming.....be careful! It can be hazardous!

Nancy B in IL

02-02-2005, 02:14 PM
Thanks. Yea the only beads I have ever seen are the seed beads and austrian crystals. But thanks I'll dig now that I have a diresction.

02-02-2005, 02:46 PM
There are chemicals that can be sprayed onto beads to give them an iridescent finish, but they're really, really toxic. From what I've read, to use them you need a specialized spray booth and possibly a death wish.

02-02-2005, 02:54 PM
You can use reduction frits or powders to egt the "oil slick" look. Like the AB coatings on crystals, they will wear over time. But not as quickly as the crystals, I don't think.


02-02-2005, 02:54 PM
Yikes, well not that intrested to have a death wish.

02-03-2005, 07:17 AM
There is AB finish available from ceramics supply stores - if you fuse glass, usually a stained glass supplier will have them too. They come in teeny tiny bottles.

If you have good, and I mean good ventilation in your studio and your kiln, you paint 2-3 coats of the AB finish on the beads - letting each coat dry before painting on the next. Then you fire to about 1250 or so - remember that the softening point for soft glass is 1080 or so - leave the beads on the mandrels and make sure they're even and not touching anything.

I leave the studio when I fire these coating and let the ventilation take the fumes out. I have a digital controller on the kiln so I program it and let it run.

Since I can leave the studio and am not breathing in the fumes as they fire, I feel comfortable using them on occasion - ceramic artists use it and glass artists fume - make sure you have good ventilation.


02-03-2005, 10:22 AM
I've used the spray at a friend's studio... ONCE.

It turned out great... but, my gosh, I kept thinking, "This is just so darn ridiculous to go through, when I could just buy it!" (And that says a lot, because I'm a do-it-yourselfer big time.) I don't use enough glass that's iridized to justify going through the trouble. If you're really into it, and want quantity... go for it and be prepared. If you're like me, and think it's really cool and would like "some" glass to use here and there on your beads or fused pieces... I recommend buying iridescent pieces from someone else. If you find someone who does it often... and has a good set-up... you can usually have them custom spray whatever colors you're wanting.

02-03-2005, 10:41 AM
I want to clarify what it is that I am talking about - I'm* not * talking about the irridizing spray that others have mentioned. I'm talking about the tiny bottles of AB finish that is available from ceramics and/or stained glass supply stores - gives a nice AB finish on the beads. You brush the finish on and not spray it. But like I said, good ventilation in your studio and kiln.

02-03-2005, 11:10 AM
For some reason this question keeps sticking in my head, so I did some research.

Here's a discussion on the warmglass board (fusers & slumpers) about getting iridescent effects -- as a bonus, it contains a recipe for caramelized custard that sounds yummy.

Warmglass on iridescents (http://www.warmglass.com/cgi-bin/wgarchive3.pl?read=25431)

From the ISGB forum archives:

Iridizing spray (http://www.isgb.org/cgi-bin/archive.pl?read=34083)

Pearl-ish looking beads (http://www.isgb.org/cgi-bin/archive.pl?read=1906)

"Tetraisopropyltitanate" is what I was trying to think of. The word that kept popping up in my mind was "tetrahydrocannabinol," which I KNEW wasn't right (not that it doesn't have its own hazards).

You'll see that in the second of the ISGB threads, Stan Wolfersberger stresses the need for caution when using tetraisopropyltitanate. Stan is another of the unofficial ISGB safety gurus, although he doesn't post much on the forum. If he says it's dangerous, I'd take him seriously.

Crazy Woman
02-03-2005, 01:07 PM
If you want to see some beautiful iridized beads check out John Winter (http://www.winterglas.com)

I do not know what he uses but his beads are very special! ~doing the happy dance ~ because a happen to own a long thin blue bead of John's :D

02-03-2005, 01:44 PM
There was a lady selling his beads at the Charlotte Intergalactic show. I thought he was using the spray and then giving it a matte finish somehow, but she said his method was super-secret and it involves salt. I thought I remembered seeing some fish beads of Sharon Peters where she had gotten a similar matte iridescent effect using dichroic glass. No idea how she did it, though!


02-03-2005, 02:24 PM
Sharon etched her beads and then sent them off to a dichro coating company (I think Coatings by Sandberg) and had them coated using the same process used for dichro sheets.

No clue how John Winter does his beads (I have a long pretty pink one of his).

02-03-2005, 11:57 PM
Several years ago, I bought a bottle of stuff from Glasscraft...
'MOP Thermoluster'.
Its the tetraisopropo whatever stuff.
Very neat! I made some spun out goblet feet type things and sprayed them with the thermoluster while they were hot. It does produce a wonderful rainbow iridescence. Over color, it tended to cover up the color (probably too heavy a coat).
Not wanting to feel all weird from inhaling this stuff, I have left it in a cabinet since then.

Those little bottles of paint on stuff, 'fire on lusters' i think they are called? Some of the metal paint on thingies only require 1100-1200 degrees I think. I used some palladium some time ago.