In my beadmaking career, I have always used an oxygen/propane torch. For this reason, I use dichroic colors on clear sheet glass with the crystals down on the bead core because it keeps the crystals from burning and produces an automatic encasement.
I was in a friend’s studio a while back and I noticed the dichroic beads she had on her work table. These beads were made with the dichroic crystals placed on the surface of the beads and had no encasement; I asked her what kind of torch she used to make the beads with the coated surface up. Much to my surprise, it was a Hot Head torch. I said to myself, “Wow, these look really cool!” I decided to do my own experimenting on a Hot Head. I made beads with the dichroic crystal coated side up and I’m here to say to all you who still use or have a Hot Head, give this a try. Dichroic beads made in this way have a wonderful metallic look that is totally different from encased dichroic beads. When I’ve tried this in the past using my oxygen/propane torch, it resulted in a burned dichroic coating. The oxygen/propane torches run a lot hotter than a Hot Head and the Hot Head has a unique flame atmosphere that does not burn the dichroic crystals.
When you make dichroic beads on a Hot Head, you can use the dichroic on black glass strips as a base to achieve metallic jewel tone colors that unlike any other application I’ve seen. Using dichroic on black as the base of a bead allows you to pile more dichroic colors on clear glass and achieve very interesting color reactions. Yet another interesting look is created when you make a dichroic on black base bead and then use a pattern dichroic on clear with the crystals up or down.
I now like the look of the dichroic beads with crystals up so much that I’ve started making some of my own beads this way. I like the way they look when they are made into jewelry.
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