|Recommended tools. I have used a dental tool and my tweezers.
1) Start with a good sized gather, of course the bigger the gather the bigger the star, so use an amount of glass you are comfortable with, cause it gets a lot bigger.
2) When I started making really huge stars, I found that if I added another color or two, that when I raked the “legs” it made this really cute chevron shape, so I now add a second color, before I start adding the dots. When I am making a smaller star, I just swipe a good amount of the new color around the bead. As with everything with raked stars, the more even you can do this, the better. Also as you melt the new color in, I use my long tweezers to be sure that the color goes in evenly - as then the chevrons are more even.
3) Adding the dots. I make six legged stars some people make five legged ones, I suppose because regular stars have five legs, but I am a little spacing challenged, so I do six or eight, as it is so much easier to space them. If you completely mess this part up, melt the little “buggers” in (oh, oh, I said buggers) and start again.
4) Bopping them on the head… This helps incredibly to keep the legs even. After I have added all of the dots - I hold each dot straight down into the flame, letting the flame and gravity form a little ball, then I bring that dot up to the top and use the end of my tweezers to squash it - see photo three. (do not squash them so much that they touch, this is BAD) This does several things, it helps melt the dots in better, and if you look from the side, you can see if some of the dots are bigger or smaller than others, and you can add a bit of glass if necessary. If you do add glass to some of the dots, you will need to reheat ALL OF THE DOTS, as they have to be heated the same amount, or your star will go really wonky, really quickly. You can also move the dot a bit, one way or the other, if you see that the dots are a little unevenly spaced.
5) Rounding the dots back up. I do exactly the same thing, holding the dot into the flame, kind of like a rhythm, flaming, turning, flaming turning, as the center of the bead gets warmer then you have to turn the bead as normal. It is extremely important when you get a lot more layers of colors, that you turn one way a few turns and then the other, as the movement and the heat, will turn your legs all slanty, one way or the other. This is bad, unless you are like the fantastic Brad Pearson, Master of the beautiful “Pulsar” and you can get them to tip, ever so perfectly all in the same direction. I would suggest starting out with adding just three colored dots to start, or even two, if you are a newbie.
Click next for page 2 of the star tutorial
|copyright 2004 Melinda Melanson Virginia L|