Basic Tutorials

Lighting Your Torch for the First Time

Follow These Rules for an Easier Set-up

Before you turn on your torch for the first time, I need to explain some things. If you’re using a HotHead torch, this may not apply to you, but if you plan on getting a surface mix torch or have one already, then read on.

When you fire on your torch, there is a specific way to do it. First, you need to turn on your propane. Open the valve all the way. You’ll need to adjust the regulator so it reads about 5 psi. Use a striker to light the propane. You have a flame! Second, open the oxygen valve on your torch. This will saturate your flame with O2. You want a neutral flame at this point. Check out the photo by Cecilia Cohen.

As a beginner glass beadmaker, you don’t need to be concerned about oxidizing or reducing flames.  Just remember that you need a neutral flame.

Once you have a neutral flame, it’s time to melt glass for the first time!

Melting Your First Rod of Glass

1. Take your rod and fan it in the flame. You don’t want to just stick it in the flame because it will thermal shock! Just like ice cracking in water, your soft glass will shock, so waving it in and out of the flame to slowly warm it up will alleviate this.

2. Slow down the waving so the rod can get warmer and allow the flame to hit the rod.

3. Once the tip of the glass is “lit,” rotate your rod in the flame.

4. Hold the glass parallel and rotate the rod. Rotating thumb up will allow all sides of the rod to get hot.

Check out my tutorial for pulling stringer, making a round bead, and other beginner tips below.

Turning off Your Torch

Once you’re finished at the torch, you need to turn off your oxygen and propane. There’s an easy way to remember how to do both: POOP. At the beginning of your beadmaking session, turn on the propane, then oxygen. At the end of your session, turn off the oxygen and then propane. The first letters of each step spell out POOP!

These are the first tutorials you need to read and learn before moving on to basic and advanced beadmaking techniques. If you have questions, just email me.

Click the links to open them in a new window.

Pulling Stringer

Making a Round Bead

Adding Dots to Beads

Creating Consistently Shaped Beads

Applying Murrini