Painted Beads 101

Since I moved my web provider - I forgot I lost my links to some tutorials I had  on my old website
Until I fully get  my new one up to date I'll post it here and link the short cut to here -

This is the old tutorial  step by step - there is a new on in the THE FLOW  Women in Glass  Winter 2014  as well

Painted Beads 101

Note: the following method is only one of many that can be used. This is how "I" am using the various paints to make "my" painted beads. Follow all product safety instructions ! 

Black Trace Lines 

I prefer a black trace line on my beads - basically painting a black outline and filling in those lines with color or mattes to give the bead color or depth. This can be accomplished in many ways, but my preference at this time is using a Reusche Trace Black powder and mixing with Squeegee Oil. There are many types of binding mediums that can be used to mix this trace powder but I use the Squeegee Oil due to the fact that there is little smell while painting and during firing. You are using an oil to give you more time to use the paints and I find the oil gives you a really nice "flow" to the paint. I am also using Reusche brushes purchased directly from Reusche. 

Materials list for Trace Lines: 

Brush Method Squeegee Oil (Thompson Enamels A-4) 

Reusche Trace Black E-401 (Delphi Glass, Reusche direct, many sources for this) 

Reusche Tracing brushes (I got from Reusche) 

Another option could be the Paradise paints in powder form that is now available

Pallet Knife (for mixing), Eye Dropper (for adding Squeegee Oil) Sheet of glass (for mixing on) Turpentine (for thinning mix for painting) 

Its hard to say how much paint to use - depends on how much painting you expect to do - It is easier to make more than it is to have made too much and waste it. 

I take about a teaspoon of E-401 and put into a pile on the mixing glass and add squeegee oil, using an eye dropper, till it is a thick paste. 

I mix using a pallet knife. Once made you can either paint or use this thick paste on stamps - I tend not to thin the paste for rubber stamps. 

If I am painting I take a little turps on my brush and pull some of the paste from the main pool of paint and thin out enough that it is still dark when applied to the glass. I use a roller to apply to the stamps but again whatever works for you. 

Materials List Painting:

Pen/ink method 

Using the same Reusche E-401 I mix with Clove oil to a consistency that gives a solid black line when used with and ink pen nib - I am using an inexpensive ink pen and nib for fine lines. Came as a set. 

You just have to get used to how to mix your paints and how to use the pen - Took a couple of times not to get big blobs of paint on the glass - but at least it wipes off. 

After a while its pretty easy

Samples of the ink drawing: Easy to get fine lines 


When using Morretti rod - use Morretti sheet glass (I got from Frantz) so what ever you have in flat use in Rod - Compatibility issues 

Clean your glass and either stamp or paint the trace line 

The best part of painting on glass is that if you make a mistake you can wipe it off. 


Fire piece - painted side up 

I fire the Reusche up to 1325F but you only need to fire between 1100 and 1425 for it to adhere - so to save time you can fire above 1100 and shut off kiln - and you can cool quickly - 

I am using a HOAF infrared kiln that runs on Propane and it take about 6 mins for it to get to 1325 and about 10-15 min to cool enough to grab out of the kiln for the next step.

At this point I now have a permanent trace line on my glass that will not come off. I can either continue to apply mattes (part of traditional glass painting and you should really look into classes) or I will paint with colors. 


Currently I am using Paradise Paints as they can come premixed (with Pine Oil) The only drawback is the smell - you really do need good ventilated area to use and when you fire. (To purchase go here: ) They now have powder form to mix with whatever medium you want to use. I am gong to use the squeegee oil for less smell - testing will let you know how they work out.

Another option may be using the Paradise Paints powder form in the same way - Works great with squeegee oil and or pine oil- just mix well and thick 

There are Fusemaster, They have a larger color pallet than Paradise. A lot of tranparents. 

Thompson and other various enamels on the market you can use or try. I would use the squeegee oil with them also - I am currently purchasing the Paradise paints in powder form so that when I finish using up the premix I will mix my own with the squeegee oil and I will not have to deal with the smell. ! 


The Paradise Paints are thick and cannot be thinned with Turps (that your using with your Reusche) they suggest not thinning or it will give a thinner and less opaque color on your glass. (But if you do thin you use Pine Oil) and they require Mineral Spirits -paint thinner, lacquer thinner or acetone for clean up - do not use these to thin the paints or any other thinner you may have used with paints. I have been using directly from the jar - thick and applying. Since you have your trace line - its like a coloring book and you fill in. Paradise also advised that if you warm the paints they will thin out in consistency but not in color opacity. 

(Reverse painting)

If you make a mistake you can wipe the color away and your black trace line will still be there ! 

I fire these paints at 1325F also - only to be consistent - you can fire these at a lower temp to get them to adhere - you need to vent up to 500F for binders to burn off and to keep your red - red (read paint info). 

I have tried putting pieces into my bead kiln and then using - bead kiln is only up to 950 but it burns off binder - makes area stinky ! so I rather get rid of the smell all at once and this way I can make a lot of pieces and torch at a later date without worry that I may scratch the paint off. 

So you may choose to do a day of painting when you know you have to get up and do other things and be able to walk away knowing you can come back and resume where you left off.

Works in progress - various stages - fired - unfired - painted unfired 


Now comes the tricky part (not the hard part) the tricky part. You can put pieces into your cold kiln but I found I could introduce them to the edge of the opening and push them in - being such flat thin pieces they have not broken or shattered on being introduced to a hot kiln (mine is 950 or so) NEW HOT PLATE TECHNIQUE. I bought an industrial hot plate that goes up to 1000 degrees F and this allows me open sides and top to be able to see my painted piece and line it up better 

(they must be painted side up !) 

Here are options for making bead - you can either eye it or before you put piece in the kiln/hot plate or mark your mandrel for the length of the piece your applying - I have been using a permanent black marker on my bead release on the mandrel - you do not need a big mark - just enough to show where ends are. I put the pieces in the kiln on an angle so when I place the bead to stick to it I get a better angle on how to attach. 

The worst part is figuring out how much glass to apply to your base bead - before you wrap your flat piece on - can be tricky but remember - if your piece is too big once you apply (and hope you get most of your design on) you can use glass shears to cut off the piece (cool huh !). I have been outlining the piece on my marver and rolling my base to see if it fits within the parameters. 

Once you have your base bead made (and I try to make that base a little smaller than what is necessary so I can tuck the ends of the flat glass piece in to make a neater bead) here comes the really tricky part.

I heat up my bead to glowing but not runny and you know that the glass is going to stick to anything glass you touch - open door to kiln and touch it down on your piece to grab - you need to line up where you want to start the attachment, as it is difficult to re-center once attached - you can heat up an move but you may distort your picture. 

I try to center on pic so that I have main area of pic attached to bead and work from center out applying . I did try to use tweezers but trying to open the door grab - hold onto hot bead was really a tricky balancing act this way one hand on door one hand on bead and glass. 

Quickly remove from kiln and into end of flame and heat up - start from center and heat up glass (keeping bead hot but try not to have direct flame on painted side as you can burn off paint as torch is much higher than the enamel firing range) 

See the black lines in face - I did not apply enough paint and I burned off in flame 

Now work side to side heat up glass (working from center) and using any tool that feels good (I use my Sharon Peters razor tool) to push slowly down and work the glass onto the base bead - working from center and making the most out of the pic till the edges almost meet - here you judge if you have to trim any glass - and get the edges together - heat and melt - heat and melt keeping them from overlapping and giving a lump. 

Work your bead and keep it good and hot - you need to make the outside glass one with the inside glass - marver shape and do edges - I heat ends and work till done 

Get it good and hot - wait till ready for kiln and put into kiln and anneal 

and you too can have too many painted beads lying around !

New  tutorial :  a bit shorter and to the point

No comments:

Post a Comment