By: Joanna Mueller
The easiest part of this process is making the loop first. Consider it a tutorial in “reverse”. When I am creating delicate items, I find it easier to make my loop first so as not to injur or mar the item when I’m attaching the loop. I like to get all my tools ready prior to my bead making sessions. It is important to me so that I am not searching for something I really need within reach. See tools below for an idea of what you will need to complete this Boro Leaf Pendant project. Leaf Masher, Peter’s Tweezers, Tungsten Picks, Long Looped Hemostats, TweezersClear boro punty, Tan Silver Creek, Amber Purple
And never forget your boro shades and good ventilation!
Step 1 Take a rod of Amber Purple and melt and wrap it around about 2 inches of the end of a Tan Silver Creek Rod. When wrapping color on color, keep the base color cool and the wrapping color molten until your rotations are completed and you finish off the end with the Amber Purple.
You now have a rod of Tan Silver Creek with 2 inches of the end covered in Amber Purple. Melt the tip of the rod in the flame until you have the shape of a small sphere/ball.
Step 3Use your Peter’s Tweezers to “poke” through the center of the sphere/ball, then proceed to heat your tungsten pick in the flame and gently push your pick through the hole. Continue this process until you are happy with your loop. If you’ve never done this before, just keep practicing, it will become more easy with time. Many people have trouble making loops after their item is made and shaped, so this tutorial is backwards in that you make the loop first!
It’s time to punty your clear boro rod to the tip of your loop. Once your punty is set, flip it around and place the color rod in the flame right at the end of where the Amber Purple is wrapping around. Burn off remaining Tan Silver Creek Rod.
Hold your clear boro punty down at your work surface and tilt the color piece up into the flame. Rotate the color piece constantly in the flame to avoid drooping or dripping. Melt down the color piece into one nice plump ball. It is important that you watch your flame here as you do not want to melt the piece/ball into the loop you just made. Remember to keep the loop out of the flame. Once all the wrapping has melted nicely into a ball/lump, slowly lift your boro punty up and let the color boro piece droop down a little to make an elongated oval shape.
While your elongated oval shape is still quite hot/glowing, pick up your leaf mashers and gently mash the ball of glass. Remember, do not heat your loop end too much and definitely do not allow any of the loop area to get between your leaf masher.
Now it’s time to really shape your leaf. You will use heat control for this step and it is important not to overheat any one area too much. Heat the mid-section of your boro leaf gently without superheating the tip of your leaf. Once you have a nice even light glow to that mid-section, take your tweezers and gently pull out the tip of your leaf. You will immediately see your leaf start to take shape. Shape to your desired look. Once shaped, heat one side of the leaf and use your tweezers to squeeze a few spots along the edge. As you move down the edge of the leaf, rotate your tweezer tips toward the loop. This will make the tweezer indentations look more natural. Give one final tweezer squeeze right at the tip of the leaf to finish off the shape.
I like my leaves to have a slight curve to them. It looks more natural. Heat one edge of your leaf in the flame lightly. You don’t want your glass to get soupy at this point, just an even light glow. Once the glass begins to glow, take out of the flame and press slightly on a marver to push the edges of the leaves upward slightly. Repeat on opposite edge.
Time to break off that punty. To do so, take your long looped hemostats and gently grab your leaf by it’s mid-section, closer to the loop than the tip. You never want to grab your leaf at the tip or you have a good chance of breaking your leaf into pieces. Gently tap punty and break off at loop. Now you need to melt in any spots left by the punty and shape slighty and slowly. Do not melt your loop too hot. Once you have done this, Lay your leaf down on your marver and pick up with the hemostats again at the loop end. Now flame-strike your piece and fire polish afterward. Pop into the kiln.
You just made a boro leaf pendant! Congratulations!