Watercolor-Effect Florals


Enamels -
coffee, peach, trans. baby blue, medium blue

Frit - Georgia Peach, Lilly Pond green, Fern Green, Intense Purple, Intense Pink

Glass rods -

Note: If you don't have the exact same frits or enamels that I've listed here, that's ok. Most of these frits are transparent Reichenbach glass so play around with what you have. Most of these I got from Val Cox if you want to try to find them.

Safety - You will be working with enamels quite a bit during this tutorial so make sure that you take the proper precautions, including good ventilation and a respirator.

I am going to tell you how I make watercolor florals. This isn't the only way to make these beads, other beadmakers do things much differently, but this is what I've come up with after many hours of trial and error.

And away we go!

Preparation: The secret to these beads is all in the preparation. You will first need to prepare enamel and frit encased stringers. For the brown branchy vine effect in my beads I use enamel stringer. Take a white rod, make a gather, dip it into the peach enamel, melt it in, then dip it into the coffee enamel and melt it in. The more times you do this the heavier and more intense the color will be. The fewer times you repeat these layers the paler and more wispy the result will be. I usually dip into each color, alternating colors, about 3-4 times. Experiment a bit to find the right combination for you. Pull into stringer when you're happy with what you've got.

Frit Stringer - For the flower petals I use frit stringer in various colors and color combinations. Take a white rod (be sure to try other colors too for different effects) make a gather, dip into the Georgia Peach, melt in and repeat until you get a good coverage, more layers make for a darker more intense result. Less gives a wispier lighter result. To begin with, try dipping 2-3 times. Pull into stringer. Repeat this process with the purple, pink and lily pond frits.

You will also need some plain white stringer.

Making the Beads - I use white glass for my base. Make your base bead and then roll it in the trans. baby blue enamel, then into the medium blue enamel, alternating between the two and creating an uneven coating of each which will give you a more marbled appearance.
Using the transparent in combination with the opaque enamel also helps to achieve the marbled look.

Once you've melted your enamels in thoroughly, dip your bead into a bit of fern green frit, don't completely cover the bead, just get a bit here and a bit there and melt it in. Next comes the vine. Make random wandering patterns, not too much or it will overpower the background you've just created. This is supposed to look like a twig or random branch. You don't need a very thick stringer because the enamels tend to spread out quite a bit.

You can see in the picture how the enamels tend to separate from the core glass and sort of spread to the sides, this is a neat effect and gives alot of depth and visual texture.

Once you've got everything melted in, your background is ready and it is time to add your flowers.

Flowers - Use your white stringer to place groups of 3-4 dots where you want your flowers to be. For added interest, it is good to vary the number of petals on your flowers, I usually make my flowers with 3 and 4 petals, but I also throw in the occasional flower with only 2 petals. It breaks up the order and uniformity when you do this. More like wild flowers in a meadow sort of thing.

Ok, once you've got you groupings of white dots go back and add a dot of the peach frit stringer on top of the white dots where you want peach colored flowers to be, or use your pink frit stringer where you want pink flowers to be. Place all your dots and then melt them in slightly as seen in the picture.

Next, heat each flower singly at its center and poke with a tungsten pick. This will help to pull the dots together in the center when you melt them in.

When your centers are poked, begin melting your flowers in evenly, don't melt them in completely flush though. Let the bead cool down a bit and then spot heat the center of a flower, poke down into the  heated center with a thick piece of the peach (or pink) stringer. If you're feeling adventurous, give the stringer the slightest twist so that your flower will be a bit twisted when it's melted. Blow to cool and then snap the stringer off.

When you have stamens in all of your flowers, heat everything up again and then you can add random dots and groups of dots around your flowers using your purple and lily pond frit stringers (as seen in the fuzzy picture...sorry about that). This gives the "impression" of other flowers, not quite as defined as the flowers you just made. Once you've got all the dots you want in place, begin melting everything in. Try and do this evenly and try not to melt everything in too completely or things may start spreading and sinking. This takes a bit of trying until you figure out just how far to melt everything. Melting evenly really helps with this.

Ok, that's it! Pop that baby into the kiln and make some more! You can etch these when you are through, or leave them as is. They are beautiful either way.

Copyright: Teresa Laliberte' Oct. 2006
Do not print with intent to distribute without permission.


Copyright LavenderCreek Glass  2005
All images and graphics on this website are the property of Teresa Laliberte and are not to be used or reproduced without permission.