Category Archives: Beadmaking-Lampworking


Tips from the Glass Academy: Glow Pigments


Glow Pigment

By CBS & Earth Glow, Inc

Glow pigment is glow-in-the-dark colors of yellow and aqua. They will be a bright, luminescent addition to any art glass.

It will work with any COE and can be used in glassblowing, fusing, casting, flameworking and with borosilicate artwork.

To activate the glow, you just expose the glow pigment to a light source for at least one minute for a short term glow. For an extended glow time, expose the pigment to sunlight.

Just take a plastic spoon and sprinkle it on a piece of glass. For example, take a piece of texture dichroic and the pigment will go into the texture. Then put a clear cap on it. A powder vibe would work great!

You can mix pigment with glass powder. CBS recommends 80% powder and 20% glow. You can put this into a casting mold such as a jewelry mold or the wonderful snowflake mold. Put some powder/pigment in and then put frit on top of that. Add dichroic flakes for a special effect. If you use flakes, put some frit on top of that to keep them in place.

To purchase Glow Pigment, please click here.

~ Janet

CBS Glow Pigment

Tips from the Glass Academy: Safety News


Safety News

A news story broke on February 10th, 2016 about high levels of cadmium and arsenic in the air in Southeast Portland, Oregon. This was reported by the Department of Environmental Quality.
The Oregon of Environmental Quality has developed a website to keep people updated. Click here to visit the Oregon DEQ website and learn more.

According to this site, on February 4th, Bullseye Glass notified DEQ that it had suspended all glass manufacturing operations at its facility that use cadmium and arsenic compounds. They have also engaged an environmental consulting firm to evaluate the data.

These heavy metals have been linked to serious health problems including cancer. It is a large concern in Oregon as the emissions are just blocks away from schools and a city park. The concentrations for arsenic found were about 150 times higher than the benchmark concentration.

One week after Bullseye announced it had suspended its use of cadmium and arsenic, Uroboros announced it would stop making red, yellow and orange glass colors because they rely on the use of cadmium.

On February 4th, Uroboros issued a statement about their safety practices. They stated:

• They have not used arsenic in over 20 years.
• They do use cadmium for many of the yellow, orange and red colors, but they do not use it in raw chemical form. They use a smelted glassified material, so there is not dust to release.
• In 2009, when schools near Uroboros had Cadmium in the air, it could not be traced to Uroboros.

As Oregan works to ensure the safety of its citizens, we can expect to see a shortage of some red, orange and yellow glass!

~ Janet



Tips from the Glass Academy: Borosilicate Glass


What makes “boro” difference from other glass? The key is it’s very low 33 coe (coefficient of thermal expansion). Boro’s coe is low to make it resistant to thermal shock, more so than any other common glass. It is less subject to thermal stress and is often used in bottles. You would know it best as Pyrex but other names are Simax, Borcam, borosil, suprax, Kimax, Heatex, Endural, Schott, Refmex or Kimble. When you think about why some glass can go from freezer to oven and back again and some can’t it is all about the coe.

Borosilicate is make with silica and boron trioxide as the main constituents. It is created by adding the boric oxide to the traditional glassmaker’s frit of silica sand, soda, and ground lime. Since boro melts at a higher temperature than ordinary silicate glass , new techniques were required for production. Borrowing from the welding trade, burners combining oxygen with natural gas are required. Softening point is 1510 F.

Borosilicate has many uses such as aquarium heaters, tobacco pipes, guitar slides, thermal insulation tiles (space shuttle) and much more.

However, for the purposes of this blog we will take about lampworking and beadmaking. In lampworking the glassworker uses a burner torch to melt and form glass using a variety of metal and graphite tools to shape it. It is referred to as “hard glass” and has a higher melting point of 3000 F, which is higher than “soft glass”, which is more preferred by beadmakers. The glass used in lampworking comes in glass rods for solid work and glass tubes for hollow work. Lampworking is used to make complex and custom scientific apparatus. Some labs have lampworking shops to manufacture and repair glassware. Lampworking is also done as art and common items made include goblets, paper weights, pipes, pendants and figurines.

Recently there has been an increase in the popularity of beadmaking. Borosilicate make by Northstar, Momka, Trautman and Glass Alchemy are the top manufacturers. The metals used to color boro glass, particularly silver, often create strikingly beautiful and unpredictable results when melted in an oxygen-gas torch flame. Because it is stronger and more shock-resistant than soft glass, boro is particularly suited for sculpting and creating large beads.

Some info from Wikipedia.

~ Janet

New Momka’s Glass Rods!

Just Added to Our Boro Glass Rods Inventory!!

20 Exciting New Colors for Flameworkers!

Shop all of the Boro rod inventory here


Tips from the Glass Academy: Glasses for Glass Work


Glasses for Glass Work

Glass blowing safety glasses are essential for most glass work, especially if you do it regularly.

The types of light that glass workers need to protect against are sodium flare, ultraviolet (UV) light and infrared (IR) light. There are filters to protect against several combinations of these harmful waves. IR and UV are not visible to the naked eye, but they are harmful and should be protected against. Sodium flare is very bright, so most people realize right away that they’re going to need protection.

The most common:

  • Light green lenses are typically used by people doing off hand glassblowing, glory hole work and furnace work.
  • Dark green lenses are typically used for quartz working.
  • ACE 202 lenses are also called didymium lenses. They are typically used for torch work associated with bead making and silver soldering. You can view them on our website by clicking here.


  • Green ACE lenses are used for working with borosilicate glass. They are called “boro” lenses and are available in different shades. These lenses block sodium flare and UV and IR. View them on by clicking here.




Tips from the Glass Academy: Burner Safety Information


Burner Safety Information

• Always melt glass on a fireproof surface

• Clamp your torch to your work surface

• Have a fire extinguisher handy

• Wear eye protection at all times

• Use heavy-duty hoses appropriate for your torch

• Use hose clamps and tighten them regularly

• Mark sure your regulators are working properly

• Use flashback arrestors with pre-mixed torches

• Chain your oxygen tanks to avoid accidents

• Keep grease and oil away from your oxygen fittings

• Test for leaks using soapy water. If you have bubbles, tighten your connections.

• Always use adequate ventilation when working

Dragon Pic for Burner Safety Info Tip

Boro Glass Rods are Here!!

We are excited to announce that we are now carrying Borosilicate glass rods for lampworking (flameworking/beadmaking) artists!

Sold by the rod

Available online at or in our Manchester Maine retail store!

Momka’s Glass Glass Rods

Northstar Glassworks Glass Rods

Glass Alchemy Glass Rods

Learn How to Make Beads This Winter!

Stained Glass Express Lampworking Class Sample Beads

Lampworking class starts on Thursday, February 26th. Sign up for our five week class and learn how to make beads just like these!

This class covers lampworking (aka beadmaking) basics such as the materials used, how to use the equipment, safety, heat control, bead annealing, bead cleaning and more. You will learn techniques such as stringer making, how to create and pull twisty canes, dot application and the different effects you can achieve with them, incorporating frit, bead shaping and more.

The class will meet in our Lampworking Studio with instructor Pam Wilcox. Each student will have use of a glass working torch, a pair of didymium safety glasses, bead mandrels and any tools needed for use in shaping glass. Students are responsible for purchasing glass rods and a bottle of bead release. Various colors of Moretti soft Italian glass rods and Creation is Messy (CiM) glass rods as well as bead release are available for purchase in our retail store, located in the same building as the Studio.

Manchester / Thursday evenings / February 26 – March 26 / 530pm to 8pm / $175. 50% deposit required at time of sign up. Class minimum 3 / class maximum 7.

All students enrolled in our ongoing classes receive a 20% discount on all store purchases while in the class. In addition, students in the Lampworking class may use the torch equipment outside of class time for a reduced rate of $5 per hour.

No prior experience is necessary. Return students are always welcome.

Please note: Long hair should be tied back. Closed toe shoes only. Close fitting, cotton or natural fiber content clothing recommended. Recommended for ages 16 and over.


Tips from the Glass Academy: Rod Confusion

90 COE Rods       Uroboros 104 Rods

Everyone pretty much knows you can get glass rods in 33, 90, 96 and 104 COE. What people seem to be confused about is matching up the manufacturer’s name with the type of rod. So let’s try to clear that up!

33 COE

To use 33 COE rods, you need a pretty powerful bench burner. Some call it going to the dark side when you use 33 COE.

  • Simax & Corning manufacture 33 COE rods. They are all clear. Some are rods and some are tubes.
  • Momka manufacturers 33 COE rods.Theirs are very colorful!
  • Northstar manufactures 33 COE color rods.

90 COE

  • Bulleye manufactures 90 COE rods and they have opals, transparents, lustres and tints. Lustres, also known as reduction rods, can develop a metallic sheen. Tints are very pale.

90 COE rods are used for lampworking and fusing. To view our complete inventory of 90 COE rods, click here.

96 COE

  • Spectrum manufacturers 96 rods and they have opals and transparents.

96 COE rods are used for lampworking and fusing. To view our complete inventory of 96 COE rods, click here.

104 COE

  • Uroboros manufacturers clear 104 COE rods.
  • Creation is Messy is a Chinese company. Their product is referred to as Messy Rods. They come in great colors with fun names. They do a lot of limited editions, which are also very fun.
  • Double Helix Glassworks manufactures a reactive silver glass called reduction rods. There are special lampworking techniques to get these rods to do what they should do.

Reduction Rod

  • Effetre is an Italian company who makes a large range of 104 rods. They used to be known as Moretti Glass. They have opaline, pastel, special colors and transparents. They also have a line called Reticello or “glass with twists”. This rod has colored threads/ribbons in a clear glass overlay.

Reticello Rod

104 COE rods are used for lampworking. To view our complete inventory of 104 COE rods, click here. We carry Creation is Messy, Effetre, Uroboros and Double Helix Glassworks!

Summer 2014 Glass Patterns Quarterly is Here!

Just arrived…the Summer 2014 Glass Patterns Quarterly magazine.

Available for purchase in our online store and in our Waterville store.

Projects in this issue:

Double Star Quilt – Stained Glass
Marilyn Monroe – Stained Glass
Creating Glass Pendants with UV Resin
Fleur de Lis – Stained Glass
Using Heirloom Plates – Stained Glass
Eagle and Flag – Stained Glass
Carousel Horse – Stained Glass
Play Ball! Etching Project
Frank Lloyd Wright–Style Door Panel – Stained Glass
Les Paul Electric Guitars – Stained Glass or Fused Glass
Seattle, Washington Skyline – Fused Glass
Patriotic Server – Fused Glass
Marqueza – Stained Glass

Includes a 16-Page Full-Size Pattern Section