morning mud
bead release for glass bead making by sailorgirl jewelry

All righty now, it’s official, I am in my Christmas production mode. I haven’t reached the screaming panic stage yet but it’s close. Every day I have a quota of beads to make. Once the quota is done then I get to play with new ideas. I am a bead making machine. Bead making begins with this jar of “mud” which is bead release. 

Bead release is a clay substance that you apply to the mandrel. It prevents the glass from being one forever with the mandrel. (The mandrel is the thin steel rod that you wind your glass around to make a bead – when you pull the bead off, voila! there’s a hole in the bead.) It also acts as a heat insulator so I can hold the mandrel without gloves.

dipping mandrels for glass bead making by sailorgirl jewelry

This is called “dipping your mandrels”. Wow, such a technical term. Open the jar, dip the mandrel, hold it upright for a few seconds and then place the mandrel in the mandrel holder. The mandrel holder is a piece of scrap wood with holes drilled in it. Then let the bead release dry. Make beads. 

mandrels drying for glass bead making

Sometimes the bead release dries out in the jar, then we add a bit of water and shake like crazy. Important notes to remember, wear an apron so that you don’t drip mud on your clothes. Make sure the lid is on really tight so that you don’t spray mud all over your studio. Make sure the jar is fully upright when you open the lid so that you don’t spill mud in your shoes. You know, you learn those things the hard way. 
Every morning when I come to the studio, I dip a tray of mandrels. That’s my daily quota. I can’t do anything else until the tray is empty. Put on an audiobook and dip. 
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