How Recycled Glass Beads are Made
There are different methods of making. This depends on where the beads are made. However, most recycled glass bead makers still use traditional methods and the basic procedures are the same.
There is a lot of interest in beads made from recycled glass. This is because people are more conscious about the environment, because their form and color invite touch, and because no two beads are the same.
The first step in recycled beads making is collecting bottles and sorting them according to their color. The bottles are sorted according to the color you want to achieve, keeping in mind that different combinations give different colors. Note that unlike powder glass beads, color cannot be added and so the sorting must be accurate.
After this, the glass is crushed to form fritt. This is usually done by hand, but you can order crushed glass from the recycling factory. Note that unlike powdered glass beads, it is not necessary to crush the glass into fine powder. This is because even large pieces of glass will be melted down during baking.
After the crushing, make molds for the beads. The size and shape of the mold should be determined by the size and shape of the beads you want to make. You can also buy ready made molds, but you have to coat them with clay mixed with water to prevent the beads from sticking. The most commonly used clay is kaolin clay, but in somecountries, anthill clay is used. The most common material for making molds is clay. Next, fill the molds with the fritt.
The next step is the baking of the recycled glass. This is done in a kiln and traditional kilns are still used in different parts of the world. In traditional kilns, fire is fed using small logs. Differentrequire a different temperature, but in most cases, the kiln is only heated up to melt down the fritt with no temperature regulation. The time taken in the kiln depends on the beads being made and the melting point of the fritt.
After the baking, the recycled glass beads are shaped. Shaping is done immediately after the beads have been removed from the kiln. This is done using two awls in some places and tools shaped like ice picks in others. With the awls, one awl holds down the mold while the other shapes the bead. With the tools shaped like ice picks, the tool holds the beads and they are pressed on the ground to give the desired shape. When the beads are still hot, they are perforated using sharp metal tools.
After this, the beads are cooled down and the painstaking process of painting begins. The painting is done using a wooden stick and the paste used is made from colored glass powder that is dissolved in water. The beads are then baked again to make the décor permanent.