Glass Beads: What Are They?
There is evidence that glass like beads have been being used for thousands of years. Their popularity has had plenty of time to grow. A great thing about glass beads is that they come in such a wide variety of styles, colors, shapes and sizes that you are sure to find some that will work with whatever craft project you are undertaking. These beads can even be made in such a way that they resembles different precious stones, so that makes them a good beading alternative to buying real precious stones which are bound to cost more.
There are a few issues to keep in mind when you are working with glass beads.
First, since there is such a wide variety, do not let yourself get so lost in trying to choose which ones to use that you never actually get started on your project.
Second, keep in mind that beads made of glass are more dense and therefore heavier than say, plastic beads. Since this is true you want to be cautious when making jewelry since you do not want it to be too heavy.
Third, they are glass so you will need to treat them with care to avoid damaging them.
Glass beads basically fall into three categories. These categories are wound, drawn, and molded. These get their name from the way in which they are made.
The wound glass ones are made as follows: when the glass is very hot, it is wound around a steel wire or mandrel.
The drawn glass ones are made as follows: when the glass is very hot, it is pulled in such a way that it develops a bubble in the center of the strand that becomes the hole for the bead.
The molded beads are made as follows: thick rods of glass are heated to very hot and then fed into a machine that stamps the beads and pierces a needle through the center making the hole of the bead.
You can also find different glass beads that are made using variations of these methods such as lampwork beads, dichroic glass ones, furnace glass ones, and lead crystal beads.
Working with glass beads can be so much fun. You will be amazed at the variety of beads that you can find at affordable prices. Your biggest problem will probably be limiting which beads you get for your crafting project. Just remember, have fun and don't be afraid to express yourself.