Simple cased Dichro
emphasis on preserving color.

Look closely and see: misshapen beads, burnt dichro, casing that fails to go to the edge...so, why am I posting this in the howto section, for goodness sake?

cased dichro beads, approx 10–13mm hole to hole.

Because this tutorial is mostly for my benefit. At the behest of my partner, the beautiful and brilliant Page, I make a small, solid bead consisting of a layer of dichro-on-black cased with clear, (usually colorless.) I do not find these beads easy to make. I do not make them well. And I especially do not like when the dichro fries and turns into dull pewter flecks, which it always does when I haven't made these beads for awhile, and frequently does even when I'm ‘in practice’.

So this page is reminder to myself how to make these beads; but since it's a) easier to find on the public pages and b) might even be helpful to some other beadmaker, here it is. And if you have suggestions to improve this page or this tutorial, by all means, send them in.

Tools and Materials: Solid beads require a much thicker coating of bead release; ideally it should be at least a millimetre thick. Any type of release will do, but there's no point in wasting it by dipping the mandrel 3” down. 3/4” (18-20mm) will do.

Vetrofond clear in a 10-12mm diameter rod and uroborous 104 coe dichro cut into 1/4” (6-8mm) wide strips, and pre-fused to just rounding is ideal for this type of bead.

Turn kiln up to 980degrees; preheat dichro strips. Adjust (lynx) torch opening up blue knob significantly and backing off green to give short (<6mm/1/4”) orange tipped candles. Holding dichro with uncoated side towards flame 4–6” out (Effetre will boil regardless) heat till approximately 1” (25mm) of strip droops; meanwhile, preheat release to orange.

Position tip of strip on mandrel at preheated spot and rotate; back up further into flame to cut off dichro (gently!) Gentle heat means dichro never gets above dull red. Bright sparks burning is a big no-no. Heat mess on mandrel gently (some colors can taken to orange glow, e.g blue) and roll on torch top marver into cylinder.

Place in kiln. Make up to 15 or so, depending on stamina. Vetrofond clear should be pre-heating. When all the base beads have been made, crank up torch, adjusting for maximum neutral flame (which is not that much, actually....) Holding rod about 4–6” out from torch face in right (non-dominant) hand, start melting. Meanwhile, grab a bead out of kiln with left (dominant) hand. Mandrel should be uncomfortably warm—hold end, positioning bead at 45 degree to flame, getting it maximum (9”+) from flame to preheat. The goal is to prevent base bead from cracking, but even if it does, it's not usually a problem. This method makes getting beads in & out of kiln easier, & provides as a bonus practice with non-dominant hand into bargain.

Slowly bring down base bead till it achieves dull red glow (it will still by pretty high up). At this point, remove glob of clear from flame and let cool. After clear is cool, remove bead from flame also. With almost undetectible rocking motion, stick clear across width of base bead (approx 8mm). Rotate bead, pulling on clear. If glob is big enough a thick ribbon will cover entire bead. Roll on torchtop marver to shape into cylinder, letting bead cool. Heat, adding touches of glass to insufficiently covered area if necessary. Roll again, shaping sides of bead with edges of torchtop marver. Do not core of bead get too hot; heat casing from bottom, just getting edge.

Trick is too keep dichro cool, even after it's cased. Uncased edges should not be allowed to spark or boil. Purists may shove clear over almost to mandrel using knife or other tool of choice.. When bead is shaped nicely (or heating it anymore will ruin dichro) continue to rotate outside of flame until most of orange glow is gone; meanwhile, start heating glob of clear for next bead. Bead will still show a glow when placed into kiln, but be less prone to sticking to other beads.

Additional notes.

file originally created 15may05, added link to 2nd dichro solid howto page & tidied summary, 26apr14; changed tags & summary a little, 13nov17