25/09/2012

Zoozii's texture plate heart tutorial with notes on highlight mica (pixie dust)

I have recently brought a Zoozii's texture tool press. It's a pretty versatile piece of kit with a good range of shape plates and texture plates to choose from and to mix and match. This tutorial uses the Texture Tool base in conjunction with the Heart Shape Plate medium+ and Spiral Texture Plates. The screws supplied with the texture tool are long enough so that you can select a texture plate and shape plate and layer them up over your base and handle and secure them to create your own custom press.

In this tutorial there is also some some tips on how to use highlight mica (pixie dust) for surface decoration. Above are a few examples of what violet highlight mica looks like over some of my favourite transparent CiM glass colours. Pale transparent glass looks particularly effective with highlight mica. Adding a little mica as partial surface decoration to textured beads is a simple and pretty way to add a little sparkle and pick out a little detail whilst being an efficient use of mica if you have just a little sampler or baggie.


Step1 wrap your mandrel with several small wrap of your s=chosen glass and roll it out on a graphite paddle to a length just short of your heart cavity.
Step 2 measure your base bead against the press to check length. Heat and marver further is your bead is too short.
Step 3 add more glass to your base bead to form a conical shape.
Step 4 heat and press your cone into the heart cavity
Step 5 heat again an press the other side of your bead into the heart cavity.
Step 6 add 1 large dot of glass to each side of your bead to begin to form the lobes.
Step 7 heat and press both sides into your heart cavity and look to see how much more glass your need to add to the top and sides.
Step 8 swipe a small amount on the sides and top of your bead where required.
Step 9 heat and press both sides into your heart cavity and look again to see if any more glass is needed.
Step10 add small amounts of glass where needed, remember it is easier to add more glass than take away excess glass when working with a press. Adding small amounts at a time yields the best results.
Step 11 heat and press both sides into your heart cavity and look again to see if any more glass is needed. If so repeat steps 10 and 11 until you are happy with the fit.
Step 12 add a trio of small dots top to both flat sides. Place one dot on each lobe and one near the base of the heart. It will be this extra glass that fills the texture plate cavity when you come to press your bead. Heat your bead thoroughly and then press. Immediately after pressing waft your bead through the flame to put back some of the heat lost to the brass when the bead was pressed. If you are not adding further decoration place your bead directly into your warm kiln.
Step13 To add some sparkle heat your bead further until it is glowing but not yet hot enough to loose detail. The mica will only adhere to molten glass so you will need to work quickly. Dab one side of your bead onto a small amount of highlight mica which you have placed on a heat proof surface. Turn the bead and dab the other side. Return the bead to the top of the flame only and flame anneal thoroughly before placing your pressed bead in the kiln.







Using this kind of powdered surface decoration can be a little bit of a juggling act with pressed beads as your bead needs to be warmed thorough before garaging to avoid thermal cracking along the mandrel but also highlight mica is easy to burn off and looks really quite ugly when this happens. Working at the very top on the flame will stop the highlight mica form being burnt while you flame anneal your bead.

Please remember to use common sense and exercise caution when working with mica - wear a dust mask as you would when working with frit and enamels and work in an adequately ventilated space.
Have fun! Jolene x

Frit N Chips lampwork supplies and Kitzbitz Art Beads

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