SirWatson Tutorials: Beer Steins
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Below is a tutorial on how to make Beer Steins. I've used these beer stein beads in earrings, which is how they received the name: Beer-rings. :) Anyway, I'll show you how to make the beads, but I'm assuming most of you know how to use beads in earrings. If you have questions on how to wire-wrap beads for use in earrings, please let me know! Okay, on with the tut!

What you need:
I use Moretti/Effetre glass (COE 104), however, you can use any other type of glass where the colors match the ones below. Also, be sure to always wear your didydium glass for safety!
  • 1 rod of Clear
  • 1 thick Clear stringer (around 2 - 2.5mm in diameter)
  • 1 rod of White
  • 1 White commercial stringer (or a thick, hand-pulled stringer)
  • 1 rod of Light Topaz/Amber (Moretti/Effetre #012)
  • Dipped mandrels
  • Marver
  • Poking tool (Tungsten or other)
  • Pointed-end Tweezers
  • Razor tool/Corina Magic Wand (or something with a sharp, flat edge)
Click on any images below for a larger view. I apologize in advance for the out-of-focus images, but my camera doesn't like taking close up pictures without a tripod. :)

Step 1: Make a Light Topaz Barrel
Heat the tip of your light topaz rod until you get about a 1/2" of molten glass. Press the tip of the rod onto the mandrel to create a wide footprint. I like to make my initial footprint around 8- 9mm wide. Wrap the glass once around the mandrel and flame cut. Use your marver to smooth out your barrel and make it even. At this point, your barrel doesn't have to be perfect, but it should be centered on the mandrel.
Step 2: Encase the Topaz Barrel with Clear
Take your clear rod and heat the tip until you get a pretty good-sized gather. I make my beads on the small side, so I keep my gather's diameter about the same size as the barrel on the mandrel. Once you have your clear gather, encase the topaz barrel in one big swoop. Add a stripe of clear around both shoulders of the barrel and melt the entire bead until it's round. At this point, your topaz barrel should be heavily encased in clear.
Step 3: Begin Shaping your Beer Stein
Now that we have a round bead, we need to start shaping the bead to create a barrel. Heat the outside of the bead and gently marver it to create a squatty tube shape. After a few marvers, your bead should look like the one in the image.
Step 4: Marver into a Barrel
Continue to heat and marver the bead to transform it into a barrel-shape. I take the most time on this step to ensure the bead stays centered while marvering. As such, heat the outside of the bead, and apply a little pressure when marvering to lengthen the barrel. Doing this also ensures you'll have great puckers on the ends of your bead!
Step 5: Add Creases to the Barrel
Now that we have our barrel, we can start adding texture and definition to the beer stein, by adding vertical creases around the barrel. I use the square end of my Corina Magic Wand to crease the glass, and will typically add between 5 to 7 creases. You can also use a razor tool or knife to crease the glass. Be sure to keep all sides of your bead warm by flashing it in the flame!
Step 6: Check your Creases
Once I've finished adding creases to the glass, I like to look down the mandrel to ensure they're evenly spaced out and straight. This image shows and alternate view of the barrel once the creases have been added.
Step 7: Start Adding "Foam"
At this point, we have our "beer" in its "glass". But as we know with most beer, you get foam! So let's add some! Take your full white rod of glass and heat the bottom 1/2" of the rod. Lightly dab the white glass onto the the right edge of the creased barrel. Do not add the white directly to the mandrel. Continue dabbing the white glass around the edge of the barrel and move slightly outwards with each rotation around the bead. The more white you add, the more foam you'll have (obviously). I usually add about three rows of white. Your bead should look like the one in the picture. Be sure to keep the entire bead warm by flashing it in the flame.
Alternate view of step 7
Here you can see how the white glass has been dabbed around the edge of the barrel, and not on the mandrel. It's sort of a trumpet shape. Adding the white glass in this fashion will help prevent any bubbles from forming along the mandrel where the topaz/clear meets the white.
Step 8: Start Condensing the "Foam"
Before going further be sure to give your entire bead some "insurance" heat to ensure it doesn't crack. However, be careful not to heat your bead too much, or you'll lose your creases. Now, start heating the edges of the white glass to slowly condense the rows. You want to do this step slowly because the white glass is extremely soft and can get out-of-balance very easily. Continue heating the white glass until it has condensed enough to where it's touching the mandrel. Depending on how the white condenses, I may also tip the mandrel (with the foam side down) to help draw the white glass towards the mandrel.
Step 9: Adding the Foam "Overflow"
Many times when beer is poured, it can foam up too much and spill down the sides of the glass. Let's duplicate that look on our beer stein bead! First of all, give your entire bead some more "insurance" heat. Now take your commercial (or hand-pulled) stringer, heat its tip, touch it to the base of the condensed foam, and push down the bead. This should be done in one quick movement. Heat the stringer, touch it to the bead and push it down the bead. If you're having a difficult time with this, you may also add a dot at the base of the "foam" and drag it downwards using a poking/raking tool. You may add as many "trails" of foam as you'd like. I like to make some of mine longer and some shorter for a more natural look.
Step 10: Foam Texture
The foam's almost done! To add texture to the foam, start by spot heating different parts of the white glass and then adding lots of random "indentations" using your poking tool. Add as many as you like to give the foam that realistic look! You can even add some "pokes" to the foam trails if you'd like! Just be careful not to heat the trails too much or they'll melt into the clear glass. Also, don't forget to leave some space for the handle! Be sure to give your entire bead some insurance heat during this step!
Step 11: Adding the Handle
I've never been good at adding loops or handles to beads until I found this method. The trick is to build up the two sides of the handle using dots. Then you add a final dot at the top to join both sides. It kind of reminds me of how the Arch was built....and being from St. Louis....that's cool! Anyway, take your clear stringer, and add a medium-sized dot near the base of your beer stein and another dot just below the base of the foam. Be sure to heat and melt these dots in really good, but don't melt them flat! Continue adding dots (one on top of another) and moving inwards until you have a tiny gap between the two dot stacks. Then, add your "keystone" dot to complete the handle. Now...grab your pointed tweezers. Slowly, melt the entire handle to condense the dots into one another. Your handle will try and turn into one big glob, so you need to quickly stick in one side of your pointed tweezers to keep the handle glass from touching the beer stein. Once the tweezers are in place, pinch the handle and slowly pull it away from the beer stein. Continue heating and shaping the handle with your tweezers until you acheive your desired look. Be sure to also look at the handle from above to make sure it's straight. If not, gently heat the handle and use the broader part of your tweezers to straighten it. I like to finish of my handle by squaring off the edges. I think it gives it a more realistic appearance. Don't forget to periodically give your bead insurance heat!!!
Step 12: Marvel at your Work!
That's it! You're done! All you have to do is flash your entire bead in the flame a few times to evenly heat it, and pop it into the kiln! Now, you can turn your own beer steins into BEER-RINGS!!!

Variations: Start with a transparent green barrel for St. Patrick's Day! You can also roll the initial transparent barrel in baking soda before encasing it in clear to create beer bubbles. Be sure not to add too much baking soda!
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