Hollow Beads

Every so often, I decide to make a hollow bead. Kat will know how I agonised over these at Christmas. Here are the two latest ones,
Spotted hollowSpotted hollow
There has been some improvement since then.
Filigrana hollowFiligrana hollow
The second bead is not quite round but I hesitated to work it any longer in case it collapsed. My hollows have a habit of doing that if I'm not careful! The spotty one is 22mm and the filigrana 26mm. It's called filigrana because that s the name given to a particular type of stringer. The stringer was overlaid onto a clear bead. Hollows are made to keep the weight of a large bead down and make it more comfortable to wear.
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kat's picture

Are these made with a hollow

Are these made with a hollow mandrel with a hole in the side or by coiling the glass on itself to form the hollow? I like the filigrana one best. Its patterning is cool.

Pat from Canvey's picture


I didn't use a hollow mandrel for these. I used the "make two glass discs and slowly bring them together" technique. This uses the ability of the trapped air when superheated to expand and force the molten glass to assume a rounded shape. I've just bought two more hollow mandrels to make holes in the side and turn them into puffy mandrels. My supplier, www.tuffnellglass.com has had no luck in getting his supplier to make the holes. Other than that, it's import from America. I'm going to attempt to make my own holes by starting to etch the surface with a jewellers saw blade so that the diamond drill bit does not skid as I attempt to drill. Anyone with any better ideas, I'm open to suggestions.
I might attempt to go to SEEVIC, South East Essex Sixth Form college, to ask the metalworking technician to drill the holes for me. He might well do so if I bribe him with some beads. I met him when I did my silversmithing course there a few years ago.

kat's picture

How strong are the rods

How strong are the rods you're gonna use for the side puffers? Is there any reason that the hole in the side of the tube has to be round? Can you not just cut a slit in the side of the rod with a hacksaw?

Pat from Canvey's picture

Puffy Mandrel Cont.

I was hesitant to try with the stainless steel hollow mandrels as each costs just under £7 but did cut a slit with some brass tubing and it worked quite well but the brass tends to heat up a little too much. At the Flame Off on Saturday, I bought two more hollow mandrels and first cut a small indentation with a jewellers saw, then another across it to give the drill bit something to bite on. Drilled slowly to allow the drill and drill bit to cool between each drilling session and eventually got through the tubing. I covered the mandrel with bead release yesterday and will attempt a blown hollow today. The end of the mandel gets blocked by the bead release so that all the breathe is directed through the new hole.