So you want to start making glass beads? Well then lets get started. First you need to start out with the basic tools and supplies.
Typically glass used for beadmaking is sold in rods. You can find it in different sizes but the most common diameter is 6mm or for those of you who haven't switched to metric 1/4 inch.
An important thing to note when purchasing glass for your beads is that you buy compatible glass. This basically means that the glass will expand and contract the same amount when it's heating and cooling. If you use incompatible glass your beads will probably crack after cooling. And you don't want that do you?
So how do I know if the glass I purchase for bead making is compatible? Look at the COE. COE stands for the coefficient of expansion. This is the measure of the rate of expansion of glass as it's heated. I'm sure I could write a long and boring explanation about COE but then you would just leave our website. So just remember this - for 2 or more types of glass to be compatible when beadmaking their COEs must be within either 2 or 3 points of each other.
Now you might be asking yourself. Where do I get glass bead supplies? Local bead shops or stained glass stores should carry beadmaking supplies and if they don't ask them if they can special order you some.
One thing you might have noticed when searching for glass supplies is that some of the glass colors were called striking. All you need to know about this is that it starts out as one shade of color and when it gets hot it changes to its true color.