Feb 28, 2012

You might have seen this pattern on one of the frogs I listed today. Some of you might immediately see how this “dot ladder” is created, others might scratch their head. It’s fairly simple to do, but it does require some preparation: a “clear core cane” (or murrini)

No step-by-step instruction, just the basic idea:

  • make a clear barrel on a steel-punty (or whatever you use to make murrini)
  • encase this in a thin layer of white
  • encase this in a thick layer or your transparent color of choice (I used rubino oro)
  • pull out into a thicker and thinner cane (from 3mm to 6-7mm) (pulling ONE murrini into a cane of different diameters) gives you more stuff to work with, and it’s faster than making several murrini in the different diameters).
  • cut some slices that are not too thick (2-3mm), maybe using my nippers 🙂 and preheat these on a hotplate (if you have one).

Pick the murrini up with tweezers (tungsten tweezers would be best, but who can afford those anymore?!)

ONE AT A TIME, heat the spot in the bead where you want to place them, and gently push the first murrini onto the bead. Continue preheating the spot and placing the murrini as close as possible to the previous one, until all murrini are placed, either in a line or in a tight pattern.

You can see in this picture that the “upper” murrini are more rounded than the lower ones. That’s because the lower ones were placed last, and each time you preheat the bead in order to place the next murrini, the murrini that is already on the bead will get some of that heat and will round out. You can minimize this by “tapping” on top of each murrini with the magic wand, before placing the next. That will cool off the top of the murrini and keep the shape better than just heating the bead.
Also, in the beginning you should place your murrini on a bead made with very SOFT glass. It takes a lot longer for example to heat up black glass then to heat white glass, so white glass will be a little easier.

Once you have place all the murrini in your pattern, heat one murrini at a time, and push it down with the Magic Wand. Work slowly, with very little heat, kind of in a “rythm”: heat, push down, heat push down…. working from one murrini to the next, like stepping stones.

Don’t have a Magic Wand? Get one here!

You can either just “unify” the pattern and leave it slightly raised, or you can flatten it all the way – in which case I roll the whole pattern on a graphite marver. Once the individual murrini are all connected, I basically treat them like one big piece.

You might wonder why these murrini look different from the ones I used in the frog bead shown above. I actually used the same murrini-cane – but I only had an endpiece left for this mini-tut – and in the endpiece the white layer was thicker than in the middle, where I cut the pieces for the frog from. The thicker the white layer, the more “mushy” the whole thing will look. How to get a THIN layer when making a murrini? that’s a topic for another mini-tut…if anybody is interested.

You can use the same technique using commercial murrini – remember the bag of square green murrini I bought on my trip to Murano this November?

I used them in the same way on some other frog beads. Using square murrini is a lot of fun, since you can really “puzzle” them together. How to MAKE square murrini? now THAT is another very long story….