Stephanie White showed us how to use old
metal sewing machine bobbins to create beautiful, automatically lined
stainless steel bobbins and chopsticks (Both
available on Amazon ~ $5.00). Be sure they're
clean. Use no bead release. Good for
beginners as bobbin keeps glass in shape.
Stephanie pushes the bobbin firmly onto a chopstick. When
the bead is finished, take another chopstick or other tool, and
press the bobbin gently until it falls off into the
Begin by warming the
bobbin in the flame. Be careful not to get it too
hot. It may glow red, but don't let it begin to
bubble or spark, or bobbin could melt.
desired, narrow the flame to focus only within the bobbin rims.
Begin laying glass down in center of bobbin. Press
glass in firmly to push out air and avoid getting bubbles.
When adding glass, heat the glass in the bobbin as well
as the rod.
If the bobbin is
sufficiently hot, glass will spread more easily.
If the glass doesn't spread, heat and use tweezers,
knife or other tool to press the glass against the
glass onto only half of the bobbin core at a time, as it
is difficult for a gather to completely encircle the
core. Look for divots where you need to add glass.
Bubbles may be caused by impurities on the bobbin
surface, and are more evident with transparent glass.
glass comes through the side holes in a rounded manner, you
know your bobbin is filled. (It takes ~ 6-7" of a
standard rod.) Once filled, marver only with a
steel or brass tool, as bobbin edges can score graphite.
Keep hot and marver to move the glass.
Try making beads
with layers of different colors, and/or try lines, frit,
dots, or try quickly laying "threads" on the final layer
of glass. You can anneal these beads immediately
or place them in a fiber blanket and batch anneal in the
Here's a completed bead! Note: jeweler's
pickle doesn't agree with the steel bobbin, so it can't be
used to clean it or the glass (though Magic Eraser
sponges remove discolorations in turquoise).
here's the same bead, different view. Lovely
murini dot decorations!!
Note the "threading"
- almost like thread!
Purple with stripes!!
Stephanie provided bobbins for those
attending the meeting, and some adventurous members tried their hand
at creating their own bobbin beads!
Photos by Fred Fuerst and notes by Martha Fuerst. Thanks
Fred and Martha!!