I’m not sure if you’ve noticed…but I love making beads from recycled glass! It’s quite a process going from the empty bottle to the finished necklace, so I thought I would list all of the steps for making recycled glass bead jewellery here:
- Empty the bottle! My husband quite likes a bottle of beer, so he takes care of my beer bottle needs. I’m quite partial to wine, so I am happy to take care of those wine bottles. I have a few friends who drink gin, and donate their empty bottles to me (thanks everyone)!
- Clean the bottle. This includes removing the labels, and making sure the inside is clean too.
- Smash the bottle. I carefully wrap the bottle in a pillow case, and then I smash it with a hammer. All of the shards are collected and stored in containers.
- Make the beads. To do this I need to heat the glass on a hotplate, so that when I put it in the flame it doesn’t explode! I then pick up the warm glass with tweezers and using the flame and all sorts of techniques I am able to make the glass beads.
- Anneal the beads. Once I have made the beads, they are placed in my kiln to go through an annealing process. Glass is temperamental, and it like to be heated up and cooled down slowly. Letting it slowly cool down in a kiln is essential when making strong, resilient beads.
- Clean the beads. After the beads have cooled down (usually overnight), I then take the beads off the mandrels, and clean the core of the beads with a diamond drill bit.
And voila! This photo summarises the process: