I struggled with making encased florals and all kinds of florals, so I searched and researched and asked around. Following is a compilation of answers. I haven't asked permission of anyone before printing their replies or what I dug up from the archives, and I hope that's ok! My MS Word document has all the photos embedded, which I don't know how to do here. I could put them all at the end, but if anyone wants this in its entirety, just pm me and I'll email it to you as a pdf file. (Not how-to photos, just some pictures of the pretty beads that were in the posts)
OH - and PS, my florals are getting better. I think it's all about getting familiar with the properties of hot glass. Being a cerebral/geek type, this is tough because all the knowledge and logic in the world can't replace the experience you need to be able to "feel and know" what the glass is going to do.
From Allison Turner:
If that base bead is even remotely hot, you are going to smear. I still tend to smear every so often when I'm in a hurry. Get it real cool. Almost cold!!! Like, flash it in the back of the flame only a few times while you are heating up your clear. And get that clear really hot and globby and let that glob just drip down on the bead, PLOP. kind of down the front of it and when the glob hit's the bead...QUICK...push it around the bead. Right down the center. all the way around and even twice if there is enough of a glob. Then a thinner strip all the way around the right side, then again on the left side. Then start heating and tucking the sides near the mandrel. heat a spot, tuck, heat a spot, tuck all the way around one side, then the other. Then heat that puppy up and let it all melt in. The hotter the clear is, the easier it will be to swipe it all the way around. Don't worry about cracking the base bead too much. It shouldn't.
It helps too if your base bead is a stiff color. If it's something like dk. Ivory then it will be more likely get mushy on you.
here's another thing you could do. After you make the bead and get the flowers on, glob some clear on each flower. Straight down on top of it. try to mush it on so that it covers the whole flower. You can even use your stump shaper or tool to help the glob out a bit. I used to glob a flower, then mush the glob flat. Then go back and glob in clear all over the rest of the bead and over lap the edges of the globs that are on the flowers so none of the base creaps up to the surface. Then tuck and melt in. I used to do it that way till it finally clicked for me.
The clear needs to be really hot though. That's the secret (along with the cold base bead) You don't want any "drag". The drag from cool clear glass will pull the design with it and smear it.
Try Vetrofond clear. It's soft and slides on like butter.
From Kelly – RedHotBeads:
Let's see if I can come up with some good floral tips. I know it was tough in the beginning, and all I got were melted blobs.
I usually make the base, put the vines on, and encase all that with a light coat of clear. Then I put on three or four white dots, and melt them down - flattening with my marver. I don't melt these all the way down.
Then I add drops of transparent on the white petals, whatever color you want. Melt those down, too - not all the way, but about 2/3 of the way. Then heat the middles of the flowers and plunge your stamen (or just sink your pick in, if you don't want a stamen.)
Now, encase just the flower petals in clear. I usually "paint" the outsides of the petals to prevent bleed throughs, and then fill in from there to the flower center.
Now you round it up, slowly, in the flame.
I don't know if I helped you at all - but that's how I do it.
(My pitiful reply: Ah, Kelly, you speak with the voice of one who "knows". I'm an initiate. A novice. An outsider. I'm not in there. I've been doing all that, everything you've said. but the encasing part... as soon as I try that part, it all melts. Every petal. Every vine.Every time. For 3 long days. For hours. OR - I end up with a bead that's 4 inches (exaggeration) worth of clear blobs all misshapen and yucky - THEN it all melts. sigh. I've tried Moretti, I've tried Lauscha. I've tried stringer. Dabbing. Painting. Big blob-bing. Melt down.)
Two words for you, my dear... and I know you have heard them:
What you are describing sounds like you are working way, way too hot and it's all melting down on you. I know, it sounds so elementary, doesn't it. Well, I'm a hot-working babe myself ... I learned the hard way ... and I'm still learning, believe me. I melt more stuff than I can shake a stick at - sometimes my florals, too.
Let's see. Are you letting the bead be cool, but not sloppy, when you encase?
I'm going to think about this ... and come up with more tips, if I can.
Keep practicing, don't give up! This is going to work! Really, it will - it just takes practice. Don't even ask me how long it took before I could make a bicone (3 years...scary, isn't it!)
From Lauri Copeland:
I suggest starting with black. Place your white dots, then cover the white with a transparent color. The transparent colors (which include black as it is actually dark dark transparent purple) are a little more stiff. The white can be very runny. I wouldn't suggest pulling down the Lauscha clear because you may be overworking the bead while it is being encased. My preferred method is to gather a larger glob with your clear and get it molten. The core need to be somewhat cool to keep your design from smearing. Place the clear onto the bead an smoosh it around the entire base, filling in where necessary. Also, try not to overheat the entire bead while melting the encasement. If this still doesn't work, maybe try encasing with the moretti (don't worry if it gets scummy, it's just for practice.) As the moretti clear is a little less stiff, this may help better develope the feel for the process. Then move onto the Lauscha.
I wish I could help you with the flowers. I can get them on and not melted together. My trick was to put the 4 inital dots very far away unlike what other have said that work for me. My problem is once a make my vines, which I have down, encase them, make the flowers which I have somewhat down, and then encase again. I end up with a paperweight and so much glass I can't even get it back to a nice bead shape. Stumped........I just say I now have some pretty girlie weapons.
Maybe spacing the 4 or 5 first dots farther away will work for you.
Fairy Saddle (Nancy):
I'm working on florals myself, so I can't give much advice. But I agree with the dots advice. That, and make them much smaller than you think they should be. Especially if you are going to put transparents on top of the initial white dot, which will make it spread out even more.
Oh, and start out with 3-dot flowers. Much easier! (I haven't graduated to 4-dots yet. )
I pull a pretty thick stringer of clear, and dot each petal(dot) before I add the new one. Melt all the dots flat before adding any new ones!! Very important!! Be sure to cover the whole dot with clear, or it will be miscolored where you missed. I start with the base dots kinda far apart, so I can put the new 2nd layer of them on the INSIDE, near the center where it will be plunged. Don't get them too close together, they can't touch each other or touch the spot where you are going to plunge the center, or you will pull them all in with the plunge! I pull a smaller stringer for the second row of petals. I also like to add a new layer of petals in the area BETWEEN the first dots, not directly over them, this I like better for a more realistic look! Use fairly small stringer for the first petals, so the flower doesn't get too big on you.
Note: I also hold my mandrel parallel to the flame, so the end is pointing at my body, when I am adding any decorations!! I drink way too much coffee and end up missing otherwise, hee hee..
Hope this is helpfull! Hey! Send me a pic of a finished one!!
I just re-read my pm to you, wow, was I tired or what? Hope you can put that in some sort of order!!!!! I was all over the place.! Oh hell
You will need:
2 sizes of white stringer (and stringer of ??? if adding color
over the white)
Step#1: make the base bead, I go huge, just measured and my focals run on average 1" hole to hole.
Step#2: add foliage. melt flat.
Step#3: add 4 or 5 dots fairly far apart (around the entire bead) leaving room to accomadate second row. Note: if doing the white on black flower, I think a second dot of white on top of the first is needed, cause it cause it kind of washes out. Melt flat.
Step#4: add a dot of clear to cover entire first dot, made from a clear stringer, a little larger than the flower dot, to cover entire dot. melt flat.
Step#5: add the second row of flower dots, made with a smaller stringer than the original dots, over the melted clear, kinda inside, near the plunge, but don't let them touch each other or the center where the flower will be plunged. Melt flat.
Melt flat, plunge and encase, taaa......... daaaa.
Makes more sense now, hee hee....
– Create a base cylinder bead of black. Marver until you have a nice shape and dimpled ends.
First layer – Stringer, leaves, and encasing
- Using a goldstone stringer lay down a random pattern of swirls – keep it loose. Kim always keeps her bead below the flame and the stringer she is applying to the right of the flame for better control of the application. Heat slightly and using a masher tool, push the swirls down softly. Kim says this freezes the stringer into the base glass and helps keep it from spreading too much when it is melted in.
- Place dots of a dark opaque green randomly on the bead. Let the bead help you decide where you should place them. Heat and flatten the dots like a pancake with the marver. Next place a lighter opaque green (Kim used Nile Green) dot on top of the dark green. Place the dot towards what will be the top of the leaf. Heat and flatten the dots again. Next encase just the dots with a light transparent green (Kim used Pale Emerald/Peridot). Heat and flatten the dots again.
- Rake the dots from the top of the leaf down creating a point. Kim pulls the tool through the dots forming a small heart shape. Create movement by pulling the tool off to one side instead of straight down. Heat and marver the leaves open by flattening them with a rolling motion starting at the base and rolling the marver towards the top of the leaf. Do not marver the very point, as it will burn out – fade away. Kim explained that this step keeps the leaf from folding in on itself when she encases them.
- Melt down slightly and when still a little raised start marvering. Heat and marver until you can no longer hear any clinking noises.
- Encase with clear or a light transparent (Kim used Pale Emerald/Peridot). Kim uses a Linear Stripe Encasing technique. This allows her to encase in very thin layers. To encase hold the mandrel up and next to the flame. Draw lines from the top of the bead down to the bottom in lines. Cutting the end through the flame.
- Once finished encasing you will need to go back and nudge the ends down over the edge with tweezers, because the side of the bead that was cut in the flame will need to be cleaned up. Heat the mandrel next to this area and it will melt down and pull itself towards the hole for a nice finished look. Kim hinted that the glass always wants to go towards the heat. So you can move glass by heat the area you want it to move too – such as the mandrel.
Second layer - Flowers
- Lay down 4 or 5 dots of a light opaque color (Kim used white for this demo). Lay down the 4 dots in a square or the 5 dots in a star. Keep them as symmetrical as possible.
- Aim the flame in the center of the dots and melt in the dots. This pulls the dots towards the center and shapes them into teardrop petals.
- Case each dot with a transparent color (Kim used Tourmaline Pink, which is a Czech glass).
- Again aim the flame in the center of the dots and melt in the dots. This pulls the dots towards the center and shapes them into teardrop petals.
- You can stop here for a simple flower or you can continue by repeating the above steps in the junction between the petals. Building another set of petals. Kim suggests going dark to light for beads that have a dark base bead. And from light to dark for beads that have a light base bead.
- Once you have your petals melted in use a tungsten pick to poke down the center of each flower. This pulls the dots down into more of a petal.
- Use a stamen cane to poke the center of the flower and cold snap it off. Finishing it off by encasing the top of the cane with a small dot of clear.
This is where I had to leave… so if someone could fill in the blanks it would help complete this part of the notes. [NOTE: there wasn't much after this, so this is pretty complete.]
– She uses Quilter’s Magnifying Glasses at 3x strength to help her with all the detail work. She clips them on the outside of her protective lenses. Kim swears that this has improved her work 100%.
– She uses Bead Separator by Fusion Products International. Frantz Art Glass sells this with their label. They have it listed as Fusion Bead Separator and an 8 oz. bottle costs $13 dollars. It can be flame dried.
– She uses a cheap kitchen paring knife instead of the razor blade tool.
– She is a very impatient beader and does not preheat her rods. She puts the tip right into the base of the flame and cleans off scum with tweezers before using the color.
– She uses stringer for all her detail work and keeps it on her work surface in a palette sorted by color.
– For berries she cases Periwinkle with Black and pulls stringers for Dark Purple. The thicker the opaque glass the more it will show through the transparent casing. Control the color by the amount of opaque glass used.
– Case Coral with transparent Dark Amethyst/Purple and pull a stringer of Mauve.
– Case an opaque Dark Green with Clear for vines.
– Case Nile Green with Clear. Linear stripe encase alternating Black and Clear. Go back and linear stripe encase Clear on Black and Black on Clear. Pull for a Poppy type stamen cane.
When Kim says she uses green Czech glass for leaves and such, I wonder if you can encase the green Czech???? Maybe I'll email her for that answer.
Robbin, florals take a lot of practice, just because it's based on good dot placement, using pretty small stringers. Once you get that down pat, and doing like Kim says, heat the center of the 4 or 5 dots to draw them in, you've got a flower born. Now if you want to add other layers, you can. I put a thin layer of clear inbetween the petal layers, to give more definition to them, but don't think that step is necessary.
This is my step, make a core color bead, sometimes I use clear too. After you shape the base, I lay encased stringers for vines. I find encasing the green stringers helps stop the spread that green is noted for. After you lay on the green stringer, I melt it in. I then put another layer of clear to encase the vine, giving depth between it and the flower base. Then you start to add your petals, when you get all the petal groups on, melt the centers in. If you want single layer petals, heat each flower and plunge the centers. Cool and then encase. This brings out the cute little bubble in the center. If you want to have another layer of petals on the flower, lay in the first petal group, then encase if you want depth inbetween, lay in the next group of petals, inbetween the first group, melt in, then plunge the centers, then encase.
Like I said, it's a practice thing, I think most people don't do them because it's a patience thing. Having pretty good stringer control to place dots where you want, having good casing techniques so you don't smear your flowers across your bead, pulling stringers. These are the aspects of floral beads and it's just practice, practice. Start with a simple floral, and once you get that down, go for another layer on your next try. You'll find that they become more simple with each floral that you do.
I sure hope this helps you and others, if you have any more questions, PM me and I'll see if I can answer them. But Tracey's flower beads really put mine to shame, I just love those beads she posted yesterday!!!!
I have attached a pic of the florals I managed yesterday. One is single layers with floating vines inside, the other is a two layer flower. Excuse the bead poop, just took them out of the kiln.
What I discovered recently, while working on my hothead making flower beads, is two primary things I was doing wrong. And this is how I corrected that.
As I was making the dots, for the flowers, I had not been melting them in fully and getting the bead back to a completely round shape before I made the plunge hole. I now get everything fully melted it and the bead completely rounded out and centered, so that there is no surprises on the flowers shifting out by the further expansion of the flower dots or foliage.
While they were still deformed from the plunge hole, being held high up in the flame to keep barely warm, I then encased them and deliberately made myself wait, wait, wait till the clear rod got almost to the dripping point, before I started to encase. Then the second I could feel the slightest resistence to the clear stretching with the movement, I ended the swipe by shifting the rod off to the side to melt off. I asked Corina about something not clear in her book about this, and she is the one to tell me NOT to try and round the bead up again after the plunge, but to start encasing with deformed bead.
After doing those two changes, I was able to start making beads recently, like the ones below that just sold for $67 on Ebay today!Yipee! The more you make, the more you will get the feel for how much clear glass, etc you need to make a certain type bead.
I also have another trick, in trying to make the same diameter beads. When you look at a bead and you see a big glob of clear glass, first cool off the bead - then reintroduce it in the flame to where only the clear glob is getting hot, then turn the bead away from you and snip it with scissors. I have been using surgical scissors (small ones) and have an enclosed area where I torch, so the hot piece of snipped glass goes zinging off and hits a wall of wood and ends up on my metal covering.
Also, if the bead is just a little bit too big, turn it and look at it face on so you can see where there is just a little too thick of even clear glass. Heat up just that area, and use tweezers sideways, to squish this glass into a little ridge, and then snip it again with scissors.
Hope this helps you!
I'm going to toss in my two cents here also. It works for me.
If you read in Corina's book she says you encased bicone beads in a side to side motion. From madrel to mandrel instead of a wrap around. I encase all my florals this way. Even the tiny ones. Just make sure you don't melt a huge blob and you're doing good. The most important thing to remember is that you have to even the bead out with each and every layer. Also,make the initial core bead as tiny as possible then heat and roll it a bit in the marver to spread it out a little. It makes you core bead even smaller (but longer) so your finished floral won't be as big.
I'd say to get technique down first though. Don't worry about size until you master the motion. Big beads make great zipper pulls and attachments for back packs and stuff. LOL!
I am probably too late but I guess an another approach might create more options for others having probs.
I rarely encase the whole bead after plunging. I just spot encase the flower, melt in, then encase the whole bead. I find I get less bubbles that way. It is also more more in shape.
Originally posted by Joensey
When I make four flowers, what I get is sort of a square bead with dips between the flowers.
Start rounding up the bead by heating in between the flowers, not on the flowers. This way you'll get the low spots to even out faster.
Julia – Jeweliabeads:
Ok.....encased florals....ick...oh so pretty and soooo durned elusive...
.......make your standard round bead..like 4mm wide add vine stringer then encase that...ok tips begin here with encasing..make sure your clear glass is clean ..really clean...(alcohol is the best)...I use 10mm moretti..Lauscha seems to crack more....I swipe the hot hot glass blob criss cross or diagonally across the bead..make sure you have a nice Hot blob to push on..the thinner the better.....encased florals is a balancing act..you have to be willing to let your base bead get cool enough so that you don't smush it with the clear but yet warm enough as not to crack it....it is a FINE line line...the sooner you find it the better...push the limit to see exactly how cool you can get it, where in your flame it can sit and be the perfect temp, how many times to move it in and out of the flame...the best flowers come from a nice cool bead with molten smooth gliding clear going over it......ok...you have encased the vine....now take a stringer of say orange this is your stamen color it will be poked down into the glass....put on those dots and then put (I like 4 petals)4 white dots evenly around the stamen dot.....don't heat in yet...add a transparent dot on top of the white dots..ok melt that in but leave them still bumped a bit up but not quite melted in, you know flat but not flat..
.....heat each one and use your pick to push the center stamen in..the bigger your hole the bigger your bubble will be......ok now encase again side to side diagonally....then go over the ends but heat as you add the glass to the ends you will get less bubbling if you add hot glass to hot glass...you are moving clear and not the base bead when you do this....then just heat the whole thing up and get a nice shape....do not let the glass travel at all or the florals will move and you will have mush.....important to have a really perfect shape on your base bead, that will set the tone for the whole bead at the end...try to encase really evenly, the nice thing about clear is you can add here and there with out it showing ..the less shaping at the end the better........that was a mouthfull!! Any questions just let me know..I am sure I confused you somewhere....oh make about 20 of them in a row and you will see all the quirks..LOL........have a great weekend ahead Christy thank you so much...my lady friends at card club were so in awe..OOh....it was fun!!.........I think I might get a few orders out of it....Hugs,