Making glass beads with Sarah Downton


Ref: S1D11251


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About this course

Learn the basics of making glass beads in the flame using a gas torch, coloured glass rods and simple decorative techniques.

Course Description

Learn the basics of making glass beads in the flame using a gas torch, coloured glass rods and simple decorative techniques to make a variety of plain and patterned beads.You will have an introduction to the processes and materials used and to safe working practice.

By the end of the day you will have made at least two drops and up to 18 beads, depending on bead size and individual speed of work, hand-eye co-ordination and your confidence with the techniques. You will have gained some confidence to make beads in the flame independently and have a basic appreciation of the process and design of lampworked glass beads including the attributes of the perfect bead.

Learning is done in steps with tutor demonstration followed by student practice. You will be shown how to light and use the torch and heat the glass safely, then make drops that can be used to make pendants or earrings, and stringers that could be used to decorate your beads later.

You will be shown how to make your first plain glass bead and can make several until you are more relaxed about the process. You will progress to simple decorative techniques using a choice of coloured glass and frit and will be able to experiment with several colours and combinations.

We will discuss tips for making better beads, and a variety of books and the tutor's beads will be available to view for inspiration.


Timetable for one day courses

Students should arrive by 9am for registration.

Classes are from 9.15 - 5pm

Lunch is included.

Course Materials


  • All materials and fuel are included in the course fee, except jewellery findings.

What students need to bring

  • Please wear comfortable natural fibre clothing e.g. cotton or bring something cotton to cover clothes and arms. An apron or old cotton shirt can help protect against burning little holes.
  • Please wear closed shoes, no bare feet or flip flops
  • Please bring something to tie or clip back long hair
  • Reading glasses if you need them
  • Notebook or pad
  • Pen and pencil
  • Jam jar

Available to buy

  • Available from tutor:
  • A small range of findings and wires


Sarah Downton

Sarah started making glass beads in 2002 and teaching beadmaking in 2006. She sells at bead and art fairs, is a City and Guilds qualified teacher and four times judge of the British Bead Awards.
She is a member of the Surrey Guild of Craftsmen (where she sells her work), Glass Beadmakers UK and the International Society of Glass Beadmakers.

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