A few weeks ago I bought a heat gun and then last week I saw a video on Instagram in which gold embossing powder was used on calligraphy. These two unrelated events caused two more things to happen: I thought, "Hey! I can use embossing powders because now I have a heat gun." And I headed off Michael's to get some embossing powders.
At first I just got gold and white, and a mixed sample kit of black and silver, along with two Perfect Pearls glue pens (brush and bullets points), and an adhesive applicator with a sponge top.
My initial thought about the embossing powder was, "Yay! Finally, there's a way a way to make bold, opaque metallic lines on a bead. (And, also, now I want to learn modern calligraphy!)
So the first experiments were these:
But then, two more things happened:
1. As I heated the bead while it was mounted on a skewer, I saw the similarity to flameworking.
2. Now that I knew the powders were functioning as I had hoped, I bought more powders: sparkly gold, white, black, bronze, sparkly black, silver, clear, and chunky gold.
I pulled some not-so-good beads out of my stash and used the embossing powders as faux flameworking, though I think the finished products look more like ceramics than glass.
I put a cured bead on a skewer. The bead had been made on a skewer so the hole was tight enough that the bead didn't slide up and down and then I went to town...
I have a Black & Decker heat gun with two speeds. The lower speed doesn't blow the powder off if you hold it at a distance and only move closer when the powder starts to melt.
Next I sprinkled on some white. I sprinkle the powder directly from the container. Put a piece of paper below where you're working to catch any excess and put it back into the container.
Or, if that's too much trouble, dump all your powder "scraps" into one container and use it as the base for your next beads.
Sometimes I put layers of clear between the opaque layers to give the illusion of depth.
...and chunky gold...
If you keep the heat in one spot, the powder will begin to break up (a little bit is good but don't over-do it -- the melted powder will flow if you're not careful.)
Keep the bead on the stick a while to let it cool off. But if you get impatient and you touch it while it's still warm and leave a fingerprint, no worries! Just hit it with the heat again and the fingerprint will melt right out.
If you get a few bubbles from air trapped between the layers, wait until the bead cools a little, pat the bubble with your finger, and then melt the fingerprint.
In the example below I didn't want to cover up the pretty colors underneath so I put the adhesive on the bead and sprinkled it only with clear powder and the chunky gold bits which I had mixed together.
I made a video to show the basic process. You can't see detail but you'll get the idea.
(If you can't view it on your phone, view it on a laptop. I don't know why, but the video that was shot and edited on my phone, cannot now be viewed on my phone when I try to launch it from the blog. Go figure.)
I tested the beads to see how well the finish holds up. I threw the clear one above
10 times and there's not a scratch or crack on it. See the video...