In this post, I want to share some tips about dichroic glass. Dichroic glass is a glass that has had multiple thin layers of tiny crystals applied to it in a vacuum chamber. This mysterious crystalline coating was original developed for eye gear worn by astronauts when the U.S. was hot and heavy into the race for space. The coating that was developed turned out to have a number of applications unrelated to the space race and one of them turned out to be dichroic glass.
What I want to discuss here is what I call the water color effect that you can apply when using dichroic on lampworked beads. If you have ever done any water color painting, you know that the range of color variation in water colors is created by placing subtle layers of water color pigment over each other, thus creating new colors.
You can achieve a wide range of delicate dancing colors in dichroic glass by doing the same technique. I tend to use small pieces of dichroic glass when I am doing this technique because I can get so much more depth and color shifting.
I use only dichroic on clear pieces when I am making a multi layered bead because the clear glass that is the carrier for the dichroic crystals makes its’ own encasement that way and the clear protects the crystals from burning up in the flame. One of the secrets of having scum free dichroic in your beads, is to pinch the edges of the strip or piece of dichroic that you are applying to the bead core as it gets hot, which keeps the crystals from crawling up into the flame as the glass becomes liquid. Be sure to heat only the glass side of the dichroic piece, to protect the crystals from burning.
Another fun thing to do with this technique is to mix pattern dichroic with solid colors to add spots of interest. This is a fun way to use the small piece of dichroic and I find that I will use pieces as small 1/8″ x 1/8″, which I use as accents over the colors underneath.
Have fun and embrace the sparkle of dichroic.