Sometime around last Christmas I got it in my head that I wanted to make a bead with a gingham design. Once or twice a week I'd try to get my dots to turn into squares; no luck. Finally one day I just sat at my torch and experimented with many different ways to place dots; after at least 30 tries I hit upon the technique I now use. That's what I'd like to share with you today.
Gingham is a fabric made of dyed yarns woven into a plaid/check pattern. In order to duplicate the look in a glass bead, it's important to take care in choosing your colors. My first gingham beads were blue, made with light lapis and periwinkle, and that's still my favorite to date.
Another good combination is light and dark turquoise; that's what the demo bead is made with.
Light Blue Transparent
White Stringer **
Dark Turquoise Stringer **
Light Turquoise Stringer **
**These stringers are fatter than what I normally use for decorating beads; about 1-2mm in diameter.
Wind a small bead onto your mandrel using Lt Blue transparent.
Using the Dark Turquoise stringer, place 6 dots around the equator. See pic 1
With the Light Turquoise stringer, place 6 dots around the equator, snuggling" them up
between the Dark Turq dots. See Pic 2
NOTE: This is where you have to disregard that tiny voice that says 'be careful not to let the dots touch' because it's important that they DO TOUCH each other.
Still using Light Turquoise, place 6 dots on either side of the center row, NEXT TO THE DARK TURQ DOTS. Again, be sure they are touching. See pic 3
Now with the White stringer, fill in the spaces in the two outer rows. Don't forget to snuggle! See pic 4
Finally you are ready to start melting in the dots. I start by melting the outer edges until glowing, then the center. The idea is to get the dots melted in and be done. It takes some practice because if you have to continue heating the bead to center it, the dots will start moving around and you'll lose the pattern.
Ta-daahhh! You've made a gingham bead! Now post your pics here so we can all see!
NOTE: when you're choosing your colors, keep in mind any reactive properties. Green gingham beads are a little tricky, because if it takes too long to melt the dots in the green starts spreading.
Variation: Instead of two colors plus white, use just two colors in a checkerboard pattern.
OF course, the most important thing is to have fun with this. I welcome any questions/comments - this is the first tutorial I've written for glass, so I may have left something out.