Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Guest Post: Lampwork Tutorial - Make a Father Christmas Bead

Today we have a lampwork tutorial written by guest blogger Laney Mead, the creative mastermind behind Izzy Beads. She's helping us prepare for Christmas gift giving. In August. Enjoy! -Jen


Don’t shoot the messenger but…just 126 days left until the 25th December. That’s not many weekends to get your shopping done, so why not make fabulous Santa’s to hang on the tree instead? Make two little ones and have earrings, a pendant, a bookmark?  

Here's a tutorial on how to make Santa beads using lampwork glass and lots of fire.  Make them and sell them at craft fairs or give them as gifts, or if you get the chance a few for Beads of Courage, the arts in medicine charity that supports the families and children. Please visit their website for more info.  

Glass needed
One rod of red – I used Effetre Deep Red
One rod of pink – I used Effetre Light Pink
One thick stringer in pink
One thick stringer in black – I used Effetre Black 

One stringer in clear
One stringer in white
One Filigrana stringer in white and clear – I pull my own,. or you can buy them from your glass supplier

To make a filigrana stringer for this project, just wrap a small amount of white glass onto a mandrel, without bead release, marver into a small barrel shape, allow to harden slightly, encase in clear glass, melt in and pull into a stringer, you might need to pull several of these to make sure you have enough.

Remember that red glass goes very black during the heating process, so all these pictures show the red glass as being black.

Step 1. Wrap a small base bead in pink. I make a nice sized spacer bead size. This is the head. 

Step 2. Wind on the red glass above the pink head. This will be for the hat, which we will shape in a minute, look at my photo, I don't wind the red glass onto the pink head, but leave a small gap, this is so I get a neat cone shape adjoining the head.

Step 3. Heat up the red glass, try to keep the pink glass as stiff as possible, gently marver the red glass into a cone shape. This may take several heat and marver steps to get a nice join to the head, without squishing the pink glass.

Step 4. Add another wrap of glass to the other side of the pink bead. I add just a bit more of the red than the pink at this stage, this is for the body so you will want a slightly larger shape. Gently marver the red body glass, into a longer round shape, a cross between a round and a barrel, a Santa shape!

Step 5. Now you have your basic Father Christmas shape, its time to decorate! Add the eyes next. Using your black stringer melt in two dots, melt flat. Add white dots on top of the black, melt flat, add clear on top of the white and melt nearly flat, then add a small dot in the middle and melt flat.

Step 6. Using your filigrana rod, start to give Father Christmas his beard, using simple dots, melt gently to stick them fast, but not enough to flatten them.

Step 7. He is looking Santa like now! Using the pink stringer, give Santa his nose. Melt to stick fast, but not to flatten.

Step 8. Finish the hat. Still using the filigrana rod, add two dots and a nice white brim. Again melt to stick, but not to flatten.

Step 9. Using the black stringer, add two nice sized dots to the bottom of the body, heat gently and press onto either a hand held marver or torch marver. He now has feet!

Step 10. Nearly done. Using the thick red stringer add two swipes, one either side of the body for his arms. Heat to stick. 

Step 11. The last step I forgot to photograph! Using the thick pink stringer, add two dots, one on each arm end for his hands. Heat thoroughly, check all joins are secure and pop into the kiln to anneal.
Additional ideas: 

- Add a stringer line of black glass all around his middle with a dot of yellow/gold, for a belt. 
- Add more white filigrana to his head for hair. 
- You don't have to use filigrana, you could just use regular white, I like filigrana for this bead I think its looks more Christmassy.
- Make little ones and use as earrings. 


You can read more by Laney on her Blogshop for her beads on Etsy and on Ebay under the ID izzy-beads, and find her on Facebook.


  1. Ooo thank you for posting my tutorial up on your blog :)

  2. Great tutorial Laney, I will have a go at that if Bill ever plumbs my gas back in! :)

  3. Loved see this process friend! You really are an inspiration.....your creations are outstanding!!

  4. Great tutorial, Laney! Thank you for sharing it with our readers. I will definitely give this one a try soon.


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